By: Jessica King
Greetings Black Queens,
“It is better to have loved and lost…than to have never loved at all.”
Upon discovering this quote I was in awe thinking I will never want to undo the precious moments that love will afford me. Now, I often wonder if this quote applies also to loosing yourself? Is it better to have loved and lost yourself …than never to have loved at all? After my experiences? Waking up one day and realizing that you pushed aside all of your talents, gifts, standards and goals because you were too busy being cook, nurturer and supporter to everyone else, that you forgot to support yourself. Sound familiar? I’m reminded of the guys I’ve called myself “being in love with” and after accessing the relationship further, I question whether or not I even knew how love conducted itself.
I remember going from a guys best friend to his lover and from there to being in a conflagration engulfing all the innocence that ever once was me. I had been in love before, but never had I been in anything so consuming, encompassing and deadly as this relationship. I mean I didn’t even recognize the pieces of me from the shattering that took place. He was my best friend for a couple of years and after unsuccessful relationships he asked me why him and I had never dated. In my mind it wasn’t even a thought, but I entertained it of course. The next morning I remember him making a statement suggesting that I was his girlfriend now. GURLLLL! My heart skipped three beats!!!
For the life of me I can’t remember what was even said the previous night, but I know dammmnn well I didn’t go off and say I’d be his girlfriend, but I settled with it and told myself I’d give it a try. After all he was my best friend right? So nice… So naive… So passive. Shortly after dating he proposed marriage and I said yes, despite the curdling that constantly went on in my stomach. Not butterflies you guys, but curdling, like I had diarrhea or food poisoning, which was present in every decision I ever made that included him, even the day of our marriage.
I did this behind my parents backs. Let me just take the time out to say to all my younger girls that more often than not MAMA IS RIGHT! To make this extremely long story short; He wanted to get married, I married him. He wanted a baby, I gave him a baby. He ended up having an affair with a girl that he met in basic training for the military. I received one phone call that sunk me like quick sand. A friend of mine told me she spotted him around town with her.
Every part of my life was in shambles. All my life I yearned for love and here I was thinking I had at least a shot at it and it shot back. I couldn’t be a single mom, hell I never wanted to be a REGULAR mom. They moved in together using the money that was awarded to him for being married in the military to shelter her and HER KID! I would projectile scream and let it drain me until I ended up on the floor, drowning in the misery and shame of my own tears.
Misery and shame felt so much more like home than anything else that It became me. I blamed my breasts, they weren’t big enough. I blamed my ass, it wasn’t plump enough. I blamed myself, I wasn’t like his ex, freaky and willing. Thinking back on it I realized how insensitive he really was shoving his penis into me without even using lubricant. I can’t believe I sat there and beat myself up, being mad at my body for feeling this excruciating amount of pain every single time we tried to consummate the marriage. He would get so frustrated with me that I would blame myself. He would leave the room and I would curl up into my arms, wrap myself in the covers and cry like I never consented to have my body ripped apart.
Everything about me seemed to crack with him. Not even a month into his affair he called me, apologized and I took him back like he never even shat on my life. He wanted me to fly to Texas to live with him and to see me birth his child. It was so unrealistic to me that I was growing life inside of me mainly because I was so sure he wouldn’t survive, surely not if he felt all that I was feeling. It was official, I was no longer human. I had lost everything that was serene and logical. I was programmed and every day I felt more and more like a zombie. I didn’t even hesitate to fly to Texas. I couldn’t sit on my mom and dad’s couch and die any longer. I thought it could be like nothing ever happened and live happily ever after with our little family.
I was wrong! I sat in that little apartment rotting away every single day trying to keep myself conscious. Laying on an air mattress and watching a big screen TV didn’t add up to me but I never questioned him and what he did with his money. I was alive, but I was mute. I let him use me for his pleasure, abuse me to make him feel in control and discard me like I came with a onetime use. I had told myself that every black woman deals with these circumstances. The women at the church told me so. They told me to put oil on the front door and pray over his shoes and pillows.
I remember struggling with this little life up to the alter every chance the church was open to beg and plead with God. I remember God never answering me. I remember being shoved so hard that my eye hit the edge of the couch on my way to the ground. I remember him piercingly biting me on my stomach and him rubbing Vaseline on the places he had hit to keep it from bruising the next morning. I remember the military protecting him and his image at all costs. I remember not having electricity in the middle of a Texas summer. I remember pictures of naked girls body parts in his phone and even a text of him inviting some girl to come and spend the night while I was still there. I even remembered her call back tone. Alicia Keys.
It was a constant reminder that she was getting all the love, time and attention that belonged to me and added to my feelings of never being “enough.” It crushed me because hearing that song harvested in me all the pain I carried around and rolled them down my cheeks. I remember the smell of liquor on his breathe at 3 in the morning, and lying there day dreaming as I let him have his way with me. I had learned the art of numb very well to the point where I disassociated all emotion from the act of penetration. I remember unsympathetic police officers, barely sleeping and wanting so desperately to prove my mother wrong all in the same breath. At one point he even successfully took our child.
I headed back home after a year of what felt like my own, less tragic version of NIGHT . I remember my mom telling me later on how sick my son and I looked when we arrived. Shortly after I discovered I was pregnant again with our 2nd child. He was furious when I told him. He even went as far as to say that he wouldn’t love it, take care of it or even come to visit it, only our first child. That ripped me in two. One half wanted to do it alone, the other half immediately knew what I felt needed to be done. I still think about that baby to this day. I was so tormented by giving her up that I had to write a letter bidding farewell to her. I wonder what she would look like, smell like and how she would get along with her brothers and sister. I mean what if I had listened to the curdling? If I had stood up for myself? If I had listened to my mother or even if I knew just how valuable I was and what I was worth.
What If I stuck to the standards that I had set for myself instead of letting him tell me that we were dating and being too soft spoken and kind hearted to set him straight? What if I told you that I had to go through this again? YEP! It happened again. Not with him, but I swear that they both shared parts of the same soul. The new guy was far more affectionate which I could’ve sworn had healed me at first, but right after I got pregnant with his child this time around I saw the same patterns and felt the same amount of devastation.
Only difference is it was worse with him because I looked to him for healing. I had lost all the strength I needed to heal myself. I fell for him because he nurtured me in all the places that once carried tragedy and pain and because he accepted all the baggage that came with me. I remember him smacking me so hard one time that my neck hurt for two days after. I expected their mothers to empathize with me being a woman and all. All I felt was their desperate need to justify their sons actions.
I swore to never be that type of mom. Four years later I found myself 3 children deep, two by him, trying so desperately to make him want to live because I was tired of dying. I had given up college, work and ended up on any type of assistance that I could find. I remember one specific moment where I had closed my eyes and sensed myself falling further and further, feeling the wind on my face as I went. It was so peaceful and painless I wished it were a reality that I never had to come back from. Eventually when I did, my entire view had changed.
From that moment on I realized every mistake I had ever made started with the fact that I felt unlovable. Not because I was, but because I refused to love myself. If I had loved myself I wouldn’t have let any little boy tell me who I was and what I was worth. I wouldn’t have let them cheat me, beat me and mistreat me and I damn sure wouldn’t have came back time after time again in some desperate attempt to fill what I felt was empty without them.
The truth of it all was… there was no “cup”, or limits to which love must exist. I didn’t need to conform to anything but rather accept the me that I saw and grew to be. No matter what insecurities you have, nobody else can make you feel better until you make the conscious decision to be perfect TO YOU just the way that you are! You, Queen are the definition of beauty and until you see it and manifest love inside of yourself that empty space will always be there. So, is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? I’ll let you be the judge.
“Love, isn’t being the empty cup to allow others to feel full. Love isn’t either being so full a cup that you must give what runs over. Love is about realizing… that there is no cup.” -Jessica King