There’s this saying which states, “Everything you thought would break you, didn’t.” Another one states, “You’ve survived all of your worst days.” I am aware of how cliché they sound, but are they not true? I remember every rejection that made me doubt myself: a promotion I didn’t receive, a guy I liked who wasn’t meant for me, a pair of jeans I still couldn’t zip after weeks of a bland diet. My day would be ruined, and that failure would govern my attitude for days or months. My fear of rejection has kept me from seeking a lot of opportunities that were probably meant for me, but I, and I alone, talked myself out of it. The damage of those rejections were only temporary, but it took me far too long to realize that, to realize I was languishing in my pain.
In one of the few quiet moments I had this past weekend, I caught the end of an episode of “Iyanla: Fix My Life.” In this episode, a husband revealed to his wife that when he proposed twenty years prior, he was only joking. There were also tales of cheating, removal of his wedding ring, a heartbreaking letter—just a number of things that hurt me to imagine the damage it was doing to his wife’s psyche. Between my thoughts about this episode and conversations I had over the weekend with a few female friends about the men in their lives, I intended for this post to be about the damage men and their bullshit cause.
But I’m both in too good of a mood and too awed by the resilience of women to expend energy attempting to hold men accountable for their damage. Instead, I’d rather celebrate how each of you are still standing when you once doubted you ever could again. I hear your stories. I know my own, and let me tell you that in this moment, you are more beautiful than you have ever been, but not nearly as beautiful as you are ever going to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t you ever look in the mirror and be disappointed in what my Father has created.
I’ve said before that we are the sum of our pain, and we are. But you choose how it manifests. You could allow yourself to be reduced by it because those things happened and let resentment turn you into a bitter, unhappy shell of your former self. Or you harness the strength it took for you to survive. And you did survive. Because YOU ARE HERE RIGHT NOW reading this. And honey, you are golden.
Ish happens. Things go wrong. Forever turns into only a season. You offer someone the very best of you, and it is not enough to keep them around. And it hurts. It rips you to the core. Don’t hide from that pain. Feel it. Express it. Scream. Comfort yourself with wine and sushi and Blue Bell. Growl at the next man who dares to speak to you. But you do not live eternally in that pain. You express it, then you accept it, and you move forward. You were whole before you met him. You were whole while you were with him. And you are whole after he’s gone. Baby girl, you were born complete.
I went out this weekend and enjoyed my life. I flirted, I danced, I monkeyed on a stick. I was the woman that I believed only existed if he was next to me or if this was happening. I flung my 22 inch twists from side to side and wined my hips and dropped it low. Men introduced themselves to me, and as we conversed, I saw how impressive they found me. But all of that only served to be confirmation of what I already believed: I am enough. What I saw reflected in their eyes was just what my heart was projecting. I slay, darling.
His damage is not your burden to bear. It is not your job to convince him of the diamond he had. He doesn’t need to understand what he did, and he doesn’t need to ever ask for forgiveness. You forgive him and release any remaining hold he has. I promise that he isn’t the last good D you will have; ultimately, he probably won’t end up in the Top 3. Nor is he the last man who will look your way. We stick around far too long because we don’t want the time and love we invested to be in vain. But it already is.
Once you recognize the power that lies in you, you will realize how superfluous most men are. Have you not noticed the phenom Black Women are when everything conspires to relegate us to the back of the bus and fails? Neither your happiness nor your power are derived from a man, a job, or a dress size. When I tell you that you are amazing, believe me. When I tell you that your singularness did not stop with him, believe me. When I tell you the slay you bring canNOT be brought by another, believe me. Honey, he did not create your electricity. He just selfishly enjoyed your illumination. You are not perfect, and there will always be room for improvement. But the man who makes you feel unworthy is not the man God intends.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion have light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Raise your head, your heels, your standards and strut forward. Listen to music that uplifts you. Surround yourself with women who support and inspire you. Woman, you are amazing. Anything negative–a talk show, reality show, popular song on the radio, homieloverfriend–that diminishes you or your sister should not establish a foothold in your psyche for that demon will find its way into your spirit. When you can recognize the beauty and power in another woman, it becomes easier to see it in yourself.
You deserve the world. Hell, YOU ARE THE WORLD. Please realize you have everything you need to give it to yourself. And go forth accordingly.
Today’s Soundtrack: Janelle Monae – Electric Lady