God is funny. It’s 12:39 a.m. on a Monday morning. By this time, I’ve already written my rough draft and I’m in the bed, praying that my work phone doesn’t go off. Unfortunately, I’m still up and no rough draft has been produced. The truth is, I haven’t really had the time to think! For the past few days, my son has been settling into his role as the typical teenager (meaning that I’ve been yelling every other day about something he has/hasn’t done!) In addition to that, I’ve been immersed in restructuring programs at work and getting next to no sleep. So instead of racking my brain for another fun filled topic, I said “fuck it” and convinced myself that there would be no new blog for the week. Besides, I ended up missing homecoming. I missed the game. I missed church. So after I arrived home Sunday afternoon, I called up a friend to come over for drinks and conversation. I was in desperate need of a mental distraction! I only had a few hours before life summoned me to become “daddy” again.
When my beautiful company arrived, she took a seat on the couch while I played the role of bartender. As my companion started fumbling with the remote, she asked me . . . . . .
“Have you seen the Chris Brown documentary yet? I heard it’s pretty interesting!”
I already knew what that meant! I could hear the pleading in her voice even though she hadn’t made her request. Like any other guy I responded . . .
“No I haven’t. You wanna watch it?”
You know I had to ask right? Anyway, she brought my tablet to me and I flashed Netflix to the screen. Within moments, Breezy was narrating his fast track to stardom. As I brought the drinks over to the sitting area, the young entertainer began having an open conversation about his mistakes. Now to my dismay, most of the documentary was spent on Brown giving his side of the story on domestic violence, the GMA fiasco, and all the other trouble he got into. Now they did touch on his captivating Michael Jackson tribute and Chris finally checking into rehab. But very little was discussed about his movie successes and his steady climb back to fame. The factual film made you believe that Chris’s rebound was instantaneous. My date for the evening could see me trying to get right as the movie was coming to a close.
“I know that look Michael! I take that you didn’t like it?”
“It was alllright. . . . I just wanted to hear more about the moves he made after the RiRi thing”
“But they did Michael! You sure we watched the same thing?”
I thought about it for a moment. During the movie, something gripped my soul and wouldn’t let go. It was the very reason that at 1:02 a.m. my mind wouldn’t let me rest. I asked my confidant the following question:
“How do we overcome downfalls in relationships?”
She chuckled, but I was quite serious.
“Really Michael? That’s what you got out of this? That’s what you saw?”
“Think about it. Chris felt that he had lost it all. When he attempted to come back, many wanted to see his demise. Did you see how old girl kept bringing up his past, taunting him with every question?”
“Well can you blame her? He did punch the shit out of RiRi! Whether he meant to or not!”
“I get that part love. We all have done things that we later regretted, but how do you get back to you? Imagine if you went ham on your last boyfriend and busted all the windows out his car? How would you win the trust of the next man you dated if he knew your past?”
“Are you really doing this right now?”
“Yes I am. What was your lowest point, relationship wise?”
“Well, I really can’t answer that. I mean, I can’t answer it in the sense that you’re asking anyway! I only had one adult relationship. And well . . . . . he and I just grew apart”
“Oh . . . okay”
“Sorry I can’t help your thought process”
“No, it’s cool. I have quite a few friends that have been through divorce and other storms that can attest to my statement”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is. Now I know many make divorce seem like you’ve gotten your freedom papers and all. But in actuality, a piece of your existence is taken. You have to adjust to weekend visits and reduced income. People that you thought were your friends all of a sudden disappear. Others spread your business in the street adding their own seasoning to the mix, hoping that no other person would want you because you walked away”
“You don’t seem like it phased you too much”
“That’s because I’ve been divorced for over seven years! It’s been a journey just to get to this point! When I split, I didn’t have anything. Just my kids, a futon, and a kitchen table! Had to start over from scratch! Meanwhile, I was being told that I couldn’t lead any more songs because I was out of the will of God. I had to be sat down from the choir. Being able to use my voice gave me some life and it was taken away. Did I mention I lost my job on top of that?”
“Yeah. I remember pretending like I was going to work to save face with the kids. All the while, I was shutting myself off from the world. I suffered in silence. I pledged that I wouldn’t date women my age after that”
“And how did that work out for you?”
“Needless to say that it didn’t. After two failed dating attempts, I didn’t trust women anymore. I’m still trying to get a handle on that”
“Wow! So you don’t trust me?”
“I can’t say that I totally trust you just yet dear. Trust is something that is earned. I know that now, which is why I take my time. I’m open to trust instead of believing all women are evil now”
My guest sat there for a moment. I wanted to go on about my comeback, but I could see that something was troubling her. She was beginning to cry but tried to hide it. She excused herself and rushed into the bathroom. After about ten minutes, she came out and said that she needed to leave.
“I’m sorry if I said anything to offend you . . . .”
She shook her head and started to head out the door. I begged her to stay and talk to me. After a few moments of standing by the door, she returned to the couch. She took a sip of her drink before she began to tell her story . . .
“I’m sorry Michael, but what you said about coming backing from your downfall hit me in a way that I didn’t think it could. I didn’t want to tell you about my lowest point because I’m still dealing with it. My daughter’s father was abusive to me, mentally and physically. In spite of the bruises and mental torture, my own mother persuaded me to stay with him . . . . . all because he was a fucking ball player! It took him knocking me unconscious with a fire extinguisher before I finally left him for good! I have a scar on the back of my head as a daily reminder of my decision. I swore off all Black men after that night”
Immediately my heart went out to her. But instead of rehashing the past, I simply said . . .
“You’re on the road back to where you were. And that’s the point I was getting at with the film!”
“Yeah, I understand Michael. And yes, I am on the way back. I accepted your invitation didn’t I?”
It may just be me, but I love to hear stories about how people have overcome tragedies (bad relationships included). There is a certain strength that I believe only God can give to help us deal with our tribulations. Too many times, we allow ourselves to let the bumps in the road keep us from our destiny. We didn’t see that crack in the road so we fall. Instead of getting back on the bike and continuing to pedal, we let fear overtake us. We latch on to others that fell and begin to use their defeated philosophy. Instead of staying down, get back up and ride. Don’t let your past keep you from what’s right around the bend.
Written by The Wednesday Gentleman