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Reali-Tea (re·al·i·ty)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears (in the words of Mark Anthony): To live in a state of denial means every day you wake up and choose violence. Your rejection of reality doesn't make it any less real, nor does your refusal to accept it make it go away.

Have you ever looked back over your life and asked yourself, "What in the Whitney and Bobby was I thinking?" Well, I was sis, sis was me! It all started in the last season (unbeknown to me) of a relationship. I woke up one day and realized the relationship I thought I was in and wanted so badly did not exist.

There I was, with this romanticized view of the 'good woman' behind 'the great man.' But in actuality, there was a woman, and there was a man, but they were not moving together. The picture was a far cry from the negative.

It all started back when I was still young enough to have my whole life ahead of me but experienced enough that I should have recognized the signs sooner. Tingum and I were poised for greatness. You couldn't tell me otherwise. At first, this dude included me in every area of his life. I mean, ya girl was all up and thru everything. Both feet were firmly planted in the door (or so I thought).

I was constantly kept in the know, without having even to ask a question. I'm talking keys to the spot, to the car, access to all the personal information. I was included in the decision-making processes and made to feel like we were a team (there I go again, giving out these benefits all willy-nilly). Then slowly but surely, one by one, each level of access was restricted. Now in all fairness, this came after one of those relational life-altering disruptions, and today I'll just leave it at that.

Anyhow, in grand probing Raquel fashion, there came 21 questions, "Sir, what's going on here? Why you gat me out here looking like orphan Annie?" His response: "Cause I don't need you for anything!" Folks, this was not a fire drill; the house was legit, just set on fire!

Talk about, "If I said what I said!" was a person! This man enunciated every word―straight face, without flinching, no CAP. Although I thought I heard him, somehow, what my brain translated it to mean was beyond shameful, to say the least. All I heard was, "Sis, you ain't doing something. Do more!" Do more of what, though? He never asked for more. His exact words were, "I. Don't. Need. You." (Period)

That was my cue to exit stage left. But no, I felt like getting a certification in acting brand new that day. Nobody—I mean absolutely nobody. Me to me: "Sis, you can love him into seeing how amazing you are!" PSA: This is a horrible idea. Zero stars, do not recommend.

Now I could be way off base here, but sometimes, if you're not that bad a person, dudes do things to get you to leave. That way, it's not ever said that he walked away from a great person. This tactical manoeuvre is known as the 'let the record reflect tuck and roll.' All I know is fellas are way more crafty than we give them credit for! But hey, this is my very biased opinion.

Still, warning sign, after flashing caution light, we forge on. Ride or die, my left foot. Beloved, it ain't worth it. Cause I promise you, someone dies, and it's rarely the person who's been showing you where they stand.

The sad part is I didn't have to ask questions to get the answers because life has taught me 'when words and actions don't match, believe the action!' The truth is he was slowly pulling away long before that moment. But I was so busy keeping the house that I missed dude had already moved all the furniture. I was too consumed by what I wanted it to be rather than opening my eyes and seeing what was in plain sight.

Now I know full well that reali-tea is a beverage best served cold. Cause, believe it or not, you need to drink it in a swift gulp. Sitting there sipping on reali-tea will only result in you sitting at a table long after the host has bid you good night—respectfully at first. But just know, after that, you get what you get.

At some point, we must recognize that reality does not care whether we think of it as good or bad, harsh or compassionate. Reality just is. Reality is defined as a fact; the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be. What alters reality is our perception. The only way to see something just as it's presented is to take 'you' out of the equation. Ask yourself, "If this was someone else's story, what would you advise them to do?"

Tingum would always tell me that I played out our conversations in my head. When his answers didn't match what I imagined, then I compound the problem by getting defensive. While this couldn't be further from the truth, my issue wasn't so much that the answer didn't match, but that this movie was so far from the trailer, I had to be in the wrong theatre altogether.

Those answers were no longer matching the voice-over of the preview. And my defences were screaming, "Mayday, mayday, mayday!" Meanwhile, homie was unbothered, just minding the business that paid him.

All this writing on the wall, yet for 2 additional years, I woke up and chose death. Because while the movie trailer tagline said, "I have two jobs, one to make you happy and two to keep you happy!" that in and of itself was unrealistic. I now know if I'm sitting here putting that kind of pressure on another human, I'm poising myself for major disappointment. Whew! All I can say is thank God for 'growth.'

At some point, I had to face reality in my professional life too. Days shy of working at a company for 5 years, I had to accept that I could go no further than entry-level. Was I qualified to be more? Absolutely! But it just wasn't happening. I applied for a particular (vacant) position for 12 months straight. Often getting no response and other times just flat-out rejection. Then something interesting happened: The employee who left the job returned a year later and was rehired for the same position. Hmph! If 'Don't call us, we'll call you,' came to life!

In the back of my mind, I thought my resignation would have sparked a different conversation. Just as I felt a little time apart from Tingum would have jumpstarted the engine of reconciliation. But the truth is no matter how much you think you're platinum or golden; some people prefer wood and silver! I said it before, and I'll say it again, my truth, their truth, the truth—learn the difference.

Accepting the truth, in this case, reality—will honestly set you free! The thing is, most of what we think our relationships are, resides only deep in the recesses of our imagination. It's the dream we've been selling for so long that now the line between fiction and reality is dangerously blurred. We've been so busy curating a happy Facebook page; how does one go back to delete all the 'I've stopped looking found the one' posts?? Take it from me; you'll survive.

I'll tell ya, you mess around and don't accept your reality bae n'dem will have you out here acting like Carrie at the prom. Reality requires your profession (your belief) and your confession (your reasoning) to be in sync. You and you alone are responsible for making it make sense.

All this made me wonder, "Are we so prone to crappy treatment that we confuse red flags for the expected up's-and-down of relationships?" Are most of our failed relationships because of the seeds we've planted or the prayers we've prayed?"

Like me, you perhaps often think, or don't think really, of the words we pray. I think sometimes we believe prayer is some genie that grants wishes on demand. And with all this manifestation happening, we're bout to vision-board our way back to the days of the unicorn. NOT! All I'm saying is, 'life and death in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:31) is NOT a myth.

I've recently learned the term 'dangerous prayers.' It's the ones that make you sound real deep, but (plot twist) it gives the opposite of what you think it should. If you trace back the things some of us are experiencing, we prayed for it in some instances. Now before you put me in the square to be stoned, hear me out. If you prayed for patience, God doesn't update your OS by installing 'the patience app' while you're sleeping. No, He allows you situations to practice patience. And by that, I mean you'll keep taking the test until you pass. See where I'm going with this?

So, women, we pray for a good husband. I mean, we bombard heaven for a man who'll love us as God says. But those prayers cause one of two things to happen. One: we get what we want, so we'd know that's not what we want, or—two: we take what should have been one college class and try to turn it into the degree to hang on the wall. In other words, we take what should have been a lesson and try to make it permanent. I maintain some of us would never recognize the good man if we'd never experienced the bad one.

This whole thing reminded me of Samson. If 'no sense of reality' was a billboard. I mean, not only did his first wife betray him and was then given to another man (I ain't gat time to unpack that trauma today). But here comes Deliah, whom the Bible says he loved, who gave him the Judas kiss for a whopping 1,100 pieces of silver. AKA: These heffas ain't been loyal BC.

My issue with this story is how many times he ignored the red flags of who this woman was and what she was doing. But no, he laughed it off, and thinketh it 'twas a game. She did the same thing three times, tried to weaken him, and had his enemies looming to take him out. Yet and still, he allowed her to manipulate him into telling her his secret. How many times have you heard, "if you love me, you would...!"

I couldn't understand why he would tell her? Why he would think the fourth time was any different. And then it hit me, we all do. How many chances did you give Sir Een-Makin-No-Sense or Miss-What-Can-You-Do-For-Me? We all want to see the good in the people we love, but I'm sorry, love is no excuse for stupidity. Thinking something does not make it true, and wanting something does not make it real. And while our situations may not be as dire as Samson's, what are you willing to lose of yourself just to say you have somebody?

Today, I'm not here to tickle your fancy; I need you to snap out of it. Whatever situation you're in, whether at a job, a friendship, or situationship―ask yourself these two questions: Am I valued in this relationship? And if not, why am I staying?

In the words of the late DMX, we ought to trust people to be themselves. Meaning, trust a thief to steal, trust the liar to lie, and trust the snake to bite you. Your only job is to know them when you see them and move accordingly. After all (according to the book of Tolerism by Judge Lynn Toler), 'You get the mate you pick, not the one you hope they'll become!'

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