Retracing the Lonelies
A most trusted friend recently told me 2 things about my self:
1. The secret to your loyalty is rejection.
2. You don't want to love love. You want to capture it and control its outcome as a reward for your past woes or your hard work.
My friend knows me VERY well and when he speaks, I listen. I don't take all of it on, but I at least pause long enough to mull it over. He's usually right.
I assume my experiences wouldn't look much different from yours when held up next to each other. My heart's been broken, just like the next wo/man's. Richmond was too cool for girls in the 6th grade. Omar spoke to Phelecia before me in the 7th because she had breasts. Du'Shawn chose Alyssa, the only Greek girl I've ever knowingly met, over any of the Black girls in the 10th grade. For some reason it was never much consolation that Du'Shawn and Omar both spent years chasing me afterwards, the sting of being an afterthought never subsided.
When I got to college I didn't look old enough to have entered high school. I was the adorable "little" girl with the onion and the hips that spelled potential. It was New Orleans and having light skin and long hair didn't hurt. But I wasn't interested in making the cut because I passed the Paper Bag test. I got looks, and offers, even bets made on me like I was some kind of race horse or pedigree dog. But the years being passed over for "regular" girls with American names, relaxers and real [bra] cup sizes was good training for making sure I never behaved like I was "common." My mother had instilled in me the importance of holding my head high no matter what. I did it initially out of training, not because I really felt it. Something had to be wrong with me to keep winding up in Column B. I was warned about it, but it's hard to really imagine, while in the situation, that boys behave like predatory animals. They don't necessarily hunt for what they're hungry for, they catch what's readily available. I was not.
There's more to this story, but I don't know that I feel like telling it all right now. The middle goes something like "you're any man's dream," while still going after the Black Barbies in mass production at an HBCU nearest you. They all still claim to have feelings for me, that I am forever in their hearts, and in the dark... The end hasn't come yet. I'm still living. The latest chapter still has me trying to identify what this is, what I'm really working with. I just know it's not cheap and it'll never come free though it isn't for sale.
I suppose, in order to truly be open to Love, I'm going to have to stop trying to capture it and make it do right by me. There really are no guarantees on this. And as much as I KNOW that [& do] appreciate the time shared for what it is, I can't help wishing on what it didn't become. It doesn't work like that. None of us belongs to the other. Even after "I Do's," folks have the right to exercise choice, and sometimes those choices are outside of the commitments we thought we made. That doesn't mean choosing other people necessarily, but making any choice outside of the original blueprint or understanding.
Maybe I still remember those fools' names from 6th grade and beyond because they rejected me. It could be that I'm still loyal to the memory of that pain and it's still guiding my decisions today. If that's the case, I've got more work to do. I hope my friend will still be here to hold my hand through it because I don't know how to do it alone.
Assisted, and not ashamed.
Watch me move.