As I grow older, I’ve come to understand that mistakes are inevitable. In my grade school years, it would pain me to make mistakes. Literally. I was a bit of a perfectionist back in the day (and still am to an extent). I remember that I would spend hours on end at the kitchen table trying to figure out word problems. When I finished, I would turn to the back of the textbook where the odd answers for each chapter would be located. When my answer didn’t match the textbook answer, I would return back at the problem. I would look at the method I used to solve it. I would begin to work the problem again. And again. And again. At times, if I couldn’t figure out where I went wrong, I would declare that the textbook was wrong and that I was right! Then there would be times where I would ball up the paper I was using to solve and answer the problems and throw it across the table. I would slam my book and walk off in a huff. I would normally walk away from the table saying to myself, “How dare that book try to tell ME that I’m wrong!” There would even be times where I was so frustrated that I would go in the bathroom and just sit on the toilet, near tears, because I just couldn’t figure out the problem. Not being able to figure out the problem made me feel inferior. And sitting in the room adjacent from the kitchen, my mother would be watching my meltdown while she attempted to watch the evening news. Whenever she heard me emerge from the bathroom, she would call me to where she was sitting on the couch and tell me “breathe baby . . . relax . . . it will be okay”. I would walk back into the kitchen and try again. And after a drink of water and clearing my head, the correct method to solve the problem would come to me. Too bad I didn’t apply this method to my relationships . . . . . .
Mistakes are inevitable. None of us are perfect. As I’ve said before, we all have baggage or walls that we have built up. Trust me, I have enough mistakes for three novels (and counting). As I get older, I’m trying to eliminate the “what ifs” also known as my regrets. I can’t even begin to tell you how many regrets I have when it comes to relationships! Whether it was my first marriage or my most recent break up where I believe I lost out on a Beyonce/Jay-Z kinda love, I’ve allowed previous hurts to prohibit something that could have been special. And I know what most of you will say; things come to make us stronger and prepare us for what is to come. Yeah, this is true. I give you that one. But what I also believe to be true is that some of us don’t catch the lesson being taught the first time around. We see what the answer is but we can’t accept that our answer is wrong. We throw the test paper across the table and slam the book down. Instead of taking a moment to breathe, clear our mind, and regroup, we believe that we are right and the textbook answer is wrong. We fail to matriculate because we are not good students when it comes to love. We are remedial. So when we find ourselves with another individual who is also remedial as it relates to relationships, we end up in a mess that fortifies our walls.
So you’re probably wondering why I chose the picture above? It’s OBVIOUS that the guy has given up on the female who continues to build up her wall. It’s OBVIOUS that every guy that I know relates to this picture. When I found this picture circulating on Facebook, I wanted to use this to fuel an argument as to why Black men date outside of their race. A female friend of mine told me that I had a death wish! And at the time, I wanted to ignite a riot of sorts. But once I pitched the idea to a couple of close friends from different time zones, I put down my rocks. I looked at the picture again. The man in the picture is not angry. He’s tired. By looking at the picture, we don’t know why the young lady is continuing to put up bricks. We don’t know how long the young man has been trying to tear the wall down. At the end of the day, he’s tired of the wall and just can’t continue anymore.
So I continued the debate with my close friends and another question surfaced; Why do your relationships keep failing and what part do YOU play in it? That’s right. What part do YOU play in it? I’ve been asked this question before but when she asked on this given night, it was like someone threw a cold glass of water on my face. When she posed the question, there may have been two friends who answered honestly during the conversation. Many of my other friends chose not to answer. Then you had those three brave souls that preferred to use generalizations of why relationships don’t work and didn’t answer the question. Let me add that the friends that answered truthfully were MEN (no surprise there). So I want to ask that question again to see if people (and by people, I mean women) will answer truthfully and get off the short bus. What walls do YOU have up that keep YOU from meaningful relationships? What are YOUR what ifs?