Get Down or Lay Down

“I won’t melt.”

I giggle every time I say it, or some other variation of that statement, usually after somebody asks me about having an umbrella. I hardly ever carry an umbrella, unless I absolutely can’t avoid it without getting drenched–and even then, I’ll still bargain with myself if I’m close enough to deal with it until I get where I’m going. I can’t remember the last time I even bought one. As of today, I have one that was given to me by the second brother in the last month or so that has offered me one. The latter gentleman kind of “Debo’d” me this time, though.

I’m pretty well-versed in my own self-awareness. I’m aware of my quirks, emotional triggers, and the fact that my ego at times, is a fire-breathing monster that I’ve kept alive too long–amongst a host of other issues I’m learning to unlearn. With that said, I’ve yet to pull the plug on the monster, but I’m getting there. Brick by elevated (uncomfortable but necessary) brick. Meanwhile, I’m still working towards reprogramming how I translate, respond to, the need for–and acceptance of– help/assistance/support. In my mind, I’ve somehow made the connection that needing help/assistance/support equals damsel in distress. And I don’t do damsel. I’d rather die first. Full disclosure: I don’t even understand my own logic sometimes. That’s a whole other case study waiting to happen–one that’s going to require unpacking with someone more credentialed and far more qualified than myself. I can’t get to a therapist fast enough.

Again, I know me, myself & I. We’ve been in this thing a long time, but I believe we’re growing tired to the point of exhaustion now.

Anyway, “winter is here”, and I’m en route to a ‘GoT’ themed watch party. The rain that night was steady enough to warrant having an umbrella on hand. My driver, quite the gentleman, hops out the car as I approach, umbrella in hand, pops it open and positions it over my head as he opened the car door for me. Insert *swoon* here. One time for chivalry.

He hops back in the car and we ride a few blocks exchanging pleasantries. He offers me some premium water in lieu of the generic brand that was in the storage part of my door, and I’m thinking: Brother is getting rated with all the stars and a tip for his impeccable service.

We chat it up a little more about current events, social issues, metaphysics and such. Needless to say, it got a little deep. He asked if I was originally from Baltimore and shared some of his own personal details. This wasn’t a short ride, obviously.

The conversation dies down a bit and we’re getting close to my drop-off location. He then offers me an umbrella and says to feel free to take it with me.

“I appreciate the offer, but I’m ok. Thank you.”

“You sure? You’re welcomed to take it with you.”

“I won’t melt.” He laughed and let it go, but he wanted me to have it, but I was standing firm on my square.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon. I’m walking to the library as it starts to drizzle a bit. Thinking out loud, I remind myself that I should commit to checking the weather more consistently, while Spirit sarcastically whispers how owning an umbrella wouldn’t hurt.

“Eh. I won’t melt.”

Spirit was not amused, but I was.

Later that evening, I decide on dinner, which requires me heading to a few stores in my neighborhood. It’s threatening to rain again, but I’m not deterred, because again: “Brown sugar don’t melt in the rain!” I know my Spirit tribe tires of me and my antics. I wear my own self out sometimes, but whatever. Off to the stores we go.

On the way back, it starts coming down hard and I hear: “About that umbrella…”

I’m laughing at this point because….touché, but as it stands…ain’t no umbrella. So, I’m gonna just have to be wet for a few blocks. Oh well…

As I’m approaching the convenience store on my block, there’s a few older brothers congregating under an awning, talking amongst themselves like they usually do. I cross the street and before I know it, one of them pops open his umbrella, rushes to put it over my head, hands it to me, and walks back to his spot. I thank him, as the others are co-signing the gesture with, “look at that!”, “right on time!”, and “that’s right!” At this point, I’m not only in awe of his precision, but also laughing and shaking my head at how aggressive my tribe has been lately, rightfully and justifiably so when it comes to me, my hang ups and idiosyncrasies.

As I’m leaving out the store, I yell to the man whose umbrella I’m now in possession of, who also happens to be the security guard at the convenience store I frequent. I’m trippin’ a little off the fact that whenever I come into the store, I always speak and how he barely even utters a response each time. Add that to another one of the reasons why I was taken aback by his gesture, but I digress.

As I’m attempting to tell him I can return his umbrella when I come back to the store, he waves me off with a “get outta here” and yells out:

Wait for it…..

“I ain’t want you to melt!”

Shouts out to the Universe, my ancestors and my entire Spirit tribe for pulling a me on me.


Take the L

Take the L

“Every loss ain’t a loss.” I don’t remember who said that to me or where I’ve heard it before, but it’s taken me quite a while to digest and ultimately accept for a few reasons.

A few years ago, I got a message from a friend, asking me to give her a call when I had a chance. I obliged, although, the message had me on a bit of an alert. I mean, why wouldn’t she just call me? Plus, the wording of the message was a little—I don’t know—I just had a strange, uneasy feeling.

This was someone I had known from high school. A few months after graduation, she came to visit me after I had my son. He was a few months old at the time. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember asking my parents if she could stay with us for a while until things died down at her house. My father had the final say, and ultimately gave the nod. I can’t recall how long she stayed or even when she left, but I do remember (now) how distant she eventually became before she moved out.

We didn’t keep close contact over the years, but that never struck me as odd because that was just how it was with us. I held her in high regard, nonetheless. She was one of my dearest, long-time friends. One time for sisterhood, right? Not so fast.

My reality-check was on the other end of the phone.

Backtrack to the phone call. I called and immediately, she goes in saying how she doesn’t consider me a friend—how she doesn’t really know me—along with some other things that had me baffled at the time. I didn’t know where any of this was coming from. I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while, which wasn’t unusual for us. The last time we spoke was also the last time we hung out and we had a blast. At least, I thought we had a good time. I was wrong, apparently. Color me lost, confused and dumbfounded.

She ran down a list of the things that she felt made me a bad friend and insisted that she didn’t really know me. That call was strange. She was a bit riled up, as if she had this conversation/argument with me in her head prior to making the call—which I get, but shit still was fucking weird.

She mentioned not knowing how I was to my “other friends”. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about all the times I’d reached out to her and how one-sided our contact was. I was taken off-guard to say the least, but I listened. She told me that she’d been harboring all of this for more than a decade. Hello?  You could’ve bought me for a dollar. How many times had we been in each other’s company in over a decade? All of this was news to me. How could I have missed that I had been neglecting my friend all this time? Was I really that self-involved? I didn’t rule any of that out. I mean, I know I don’t walk on water. I’m big on consideration, but certainly, there are times when I miss the mark.

By this time, I’m choked up, full of tears. This is my friend. I want to make this right and straighten out any confusion. And then, I started thinking. So, now, I have a few questions of my own. I’m still trying to understand where all this is coming from. My wheels are churning, and quite frankly, a lot of this doesn’t sound like some me type shit. I’m still upset, though.

I asked her to tell me how often she bothered to call or invite me anywhere. I wanted to know if she realized that whenever we’d hung out, it was because I’d been the one to extend the invite. She responded with excuses for just about everything I asked, which was nearly all the things she was accusing me of. By the end of the call, I thought we had it resolved. I apologized for offending or hurting her as that was never my intention. She thanked me for the talk. She sounded a lot better by the end of the call than when it started—and so it went. When we got off the line, I thought it was a done deal, but I couldn’t let it go. I was still weepy, and my nerves were worked. Why the fuck am I so emotional over this? It just wasn’t adding up—and things must make sense to me. Must.

Some of my life’s experiences have given me the kind of self-awareness that causes me to conduct self-inventory quite regularly. I check-in with me a LOT. When I’m unable to settle on a resolution on my own, I go to my support system, particularly, the people that call me on my bullshit when need be. Some of which are constantly telling me that I need to cut myself some slack sometimes. I’m still working towards mastering that skill.

I racked my brain while driving to pick up my daughter from school. Once my daughter was in the car, she told me about her day, which was our daily routine. When she asked how my day went, I broke it down—and by that, I mean, I cried a river. My daughter got me together with the good pep talk. She runs down how I let this person project their negativity on me and a few other things that in retrospect were true, but I hadn’t arrived at accepting just yet. I sucked it up for a short while, but I was still processing. Later that evening, I went over the conversation again in my head—and was in tears all over again. Mad at myself because I couldn’t just shake it. But, why?

It took a few days for me to come up out my feelings and put on my logic. I ended up reviewing a lot of the interactions that we’d had over the years and concluded that our friendship was indeed lopsided, but the deficit wasn’t all on me.

I started thinking about some of the major events in my life that had taken place that this person had no knowledge of. At the time, I was coming out of a toxic relationship with an ex. That relationship developed right when my father had to have emergency surgery. There was a 50/50 chance of him surviving the procedure, which he did, but was in a coma for three weeks post-op. I thought about all the things I managed over the years, while my friend was harboring these feelings about me. While it hurt to admit that we obviously weren’t the friends I thought we were, I realized—I placed more value on our friendship than I should have. This wasn’t friendship. This was just someone that I knew for a long period of time, but I didn’t really know her at all. How can one really know someone that isn’t transparent? There’s no way to build a relationship with anyone sans transparency. All these memories were flooding back now. There wasn’t a lot of sharing coming from her end. How did I miss that? It never once struck me as odd that she didn’t talk much. I am a talker. I talk to the people I trust. I started to realize that whenever I would check-in with her, she didn’t have much to add most times. There were other times that she would just be quiet. I thought that was just her way. Wrong again.

Prior to all this new (to me) information, I attended a memorial service for one of her siblings. In my mind, I was showing my support for her as well as her family. Friendship shit, right?

My hurt feelings turned to anger. The nerve! The audacity of someone who has been elusive for more than a decade, to tell me how much of a friend I haven’t been.  I had my answer at that point. I don’t need this shit. What was I losing? I was letting go of the idea of friendship and connection. I felt stupid for apologizing and not realizing any of this sooner. One of the most hurtful things was admitting to myself that I had been had. I got over that eventually. It was mostly ego and I had to dead that.

After accepting what was, I started also giving thanks for what was. For every severed tie, I gave thanks for genuine connection. I gave thanks for even the losses turned lessons. That’s a win. I was shedding and making space. Things and people and situations that no longer served my highest purpose were leaving. Some of it felt too soon and I didn’t always feel ready, but it was time and I had no choice but to accept it. Admittedly, I mourned a few losses before I surrendered to gratitude. This wasn’t a loss. I had more to gain. New energies, frequencies, fresh creativity, genuine connections, love personified, and just some next level interactions were waiting on the other side of my most challenging lessons.

That’s a win.