Updated: Nov 17, 2020
"Who me!? I'll never do that!" "1 Hour Later" (in my Spongebob voice) does the very thing that you said you'd never do. "Who, pie-like me? I'll never let that happen to me again. I'd be a fool!" Two minutes later, does the exact same thing. "Hey, Bozo, ha it go!?" Don't be offended, #metoo. If you can relate, I'd like to officially welcome you to club, 'oops I did it again!'
Doing the same thing repeatedly and then expecting a different result is known as insanity. So what should we call doing the same thing over and over already knowing the outcome? I suppose it's what my Bahamian peeps call being the conch! Conch, a cultural food staple, is usually beaten with a mallet before cooking-depending on the dish. Using a 'lil elbow grease, this Mollusca is pounded until it is thin and almost mangled, so it becomes extra tender in the stewing process. I reckon sometimes applying pressure and heat really does bring out your full potential. I must caution you though, too much heat to the conch makes it rubbery, and therefore good-for-nothing. But like the conch, some relationships had beaten me to a pulp. Still, after everything I had done to barely pull it together, yes sir, you know it! Muscle memory triggered yet another round of tenderization.
So, why do we even bother to reboard the ride that made us sick the first time around? Like me, I think many people often expect against all the odds, this time, it'll be a different experience. I guess we hope just maybe things would have levelled out, and in a stroke of good luck, all the previous red lights magically become green one after the next, and we can breeze through, hassle-free. If this is you, take my word for it, the light is still very much red, and the obstruction is still blocking the way. Translation: dogs that eat their own vomit are....nevermind, you get the point.
We want, with all our hearts, to believe people change. Or even that enough time has elapsed to see improvements. Sadly, we wish the cooling-off period, (you know where you attempted to sever the ties), was enough time to cause old habits to die hard. Newsflash: It was not enough time, and you were not missed. I think for many, we stay lurking in hopes that our absence created enough of a void, so we can swoop in and save the day. Sorry, love, sometimes your invisibility brings peace, clarity and good fortune.
In your circle back moments, ask yourself this, though, "Is it you or the other person that hasn't changed?" Perchance, is it you that needs a bit more work? What if you're the distraction? Have you ever considered that maybe you're the fork on that person's road? I know we'd like to always think we're the sensible one in the situation. No pumpkin, every so often we're the problem. I know, it brings us, women, some level of comfort, to think that we were the one that got away. I mean, if you got away, then doesn't that indicate what you were in, was not secure enough to keep you? I'm just saying. I have a new philosophy; if it's not impacting my health, sanity, or the balance on my bank account, then it's a non-factor. When I put my issues up against that checklist, the worry isn't instantly gone, but it brings a whole lot into focus.
The Carousel Keeps turning
As I got older and experienced this thing called life, was the more, I saw how I was becoming one of those adults that confused me a teenager. You'll know, the do as I say and not as I do crew. That realization has me working twice as hard to ensure my words match my actions. I now see that those adults who seemed to have it all together, perched on their throne barking orders at me, looking as if they had never done any wrong, was as flawed then, as I am now. Although they had an air of perfection on the surface, they were literally holding it together with tape, glue, and staples in the background. In retrospect, some of them must have had a season pass to the circus with unlimited tickets on the Ferris wheel.
I'm not saying this is empirical facts, but maybe, my generation would have been equipped if the one before it was more forthcoming. "Ain't no man want no woman who can't cook," they said! Oh, really? Since I still have no husband, there must be a restaurant in my future then, cause obviously, it's not only about you being domestic. While I'm sure people think I'm out here airing all my dirty laundry, let me ease your mind-I sure am! Because I have a responsibility to warn you about what goes down in life at the amusement park. Yea, it's all laughs and giggles, 'til emotional insolvency will have you out here looking like Carrie at the prom.
I'm one of those people that is thoroughly annoyed by what I call doing dumbness. Only to realize that it bothers me so much because when I look in the mirror, more often than not, dumbness stares back at me. That made me realize, what if 'they' bother you as they do because you see more of 'you' in them than you care to admit? Perhaps their actions or lack thereof, remind you of yourself. Quite possibly, so do I. I'm here, in your closet, every Tuesday, putting our most exquisite skeleton costume on the mannequin in the display window. In my relationship life, I've been known to circle back a time or two. And I often find that all the reasons I've opted to walk away, to begin with, were exactly the same up to the third time back around. My incessant need to 'know' was always the one thing that served me the unwarranted kiss of death. So ask yourself, "Was the trip down memory lane even worth it?" Chances are the answer is 'no.'
Back in the early 2000's the guy I was then dating had asked me to marry him. Of course, I said, "Yes" because I thought this was the right thing to do. "Yasss, hunty, somebody was bout to give me his last name!" That whole mood changed after talking it over with a friend. She simply asked me some questions that caused me to step back and take a closer look at the situation. And no, she was not jealous. The truth is I wasn't ready (ill-prepared). Needless to say, I reneged on my yes. I mean gave him back his ring and everythang. While I felt my reasoning was valid, the relationship never again sat on solid ground again. Yes, we stayed together, but that final year was a rollercoaster of emotions and ultimate betrayal, to say the least. Issue after issue, argument after argument, now cue the 'she's just a friend' theme song, sung by my boy Bill Clinton.
No surprise here, we parted ways. Now take all that and rewind it back. About 12 months had passed before I saw homie again. We spoke. We even hung out for a stint. Then it hit me like an Acme anvil, falling from the sky. Hold up, am I the queen conch here? Infidelity, post engaged to someone else, with the same ring I returned and calling me while with that person. Nah, boo, this too messy. I'd better pull a Patra and dip and fall back. Jesus ain't died for me to be no rebound chick.
Poof, just like that, the last time I saw him, became the last time. There was no "I'm done!" speech. No 4-page letter, nor did I give him a 30-day notice. I just left and never looked back. What we were was familiar with and as the old proverb goes, 'familiarity breeds contempt,' which means: a long experience of someone or something can make one so aware of the faults it becomes scornful. We knew all too well how this ride would ebb and flow. And how to suppress the queasiness of its motion sickness. So, I walked away, knowing I wasn't what he wanted, and he wasn't what I needed. Translation: self-preservation is still the first law of nature.
Round-and-round the garden
Things that keep spinning will eventually make you dizzy. And even if you manage to stand still, everything around you will look distorted. If being woozy on any ride isn't bad enough, the worst part is you always end up exactly where you started! In that case, what's the point? A merry-go-around is defined as a sizeable revolving device in a playground for children to ride on. Translation: grow up!
On the other hand, it also means: 'a continuous cycle of activities or events, especially when perceived as having no purpose or producing no result.' Translation: you might as well carrying salt from home to put in the ocean. Picture it, big rusty ole you, touching a hot stove after you literally watched someone else just get burned. Man, if we can just get out the mindset that 'it'll never happen to me,' we'd save ourselves some plenty of heartache. Maybe you aren't a better woman than she! And guess what, that's okay!
This concept of 'knowing the why' has become all the rage and is synonymous with discovering the reason you may be in pursuit of a thing. But today, I need you to focus on the 'why' that caused you to walk away. I need you to remember the why of how you ended up where you are. The only 'why' I want you to ask yourself is, "why do I keep looking back?"
In churchdom, it's universally understood that looking back is death. And usually, that's backed up with reference to Lot's wife; who, for whatever reason, looked back on her beloved Sodom and Gomorrah as it went up in flames. Poor thing instantly turned into a pillar of salt. It's safe to say if looking back was a person, then, "Hello, my name is Ms. Morton!" While you may not actually turn into salt today, I'll surmise that looking back mimics you being the clown at the circus. 'Cause, believe me, someone out there laughing at your expense.
Happiness is not the reward you get after you've endured eleven-teen rounds of misery. No matter how you spin it, life is a cycle. And sometimes, what goes around apparently does come around. BUT when it comes to ole boy and his buffoonery or if you find yourself trying to tame a shrew, know that how much you endure does not qualify you for an upgrade. You have to know within yourself enough is enough. While going around and around can be aimlessly pointless, look on the bright side, sometimes you may need to return, just so you'll know that it was right that you had left. Believe me, what is behind can't be compared to what lies ahead.