Updated: Sep 5
I remember reading somewhere that "You can't be salty and single." Immediately my melanin neck roll ensued, followed by the appropriate "Ooh really now?" dose of sarcasm. Now, what was more real than the statement itself was that at that moment, I wasn't ready to face the truth of what that conversation would reveal. That admission suddenly made me aware that being salty is usually birthed in insecurity and nourished by fear.
Nonetheless, my self-erected hut in the heart of denial-vile was cozy. And my self-loathing was like a comfy blanket swaddling me better than a snuggy. You don't usually realize just how easy it is to hold on to the feeling of 'woe is me' until subconsciously you've sabotage every good thing that tries to enter your life. I find that it is so much easier to evaluate something from the outside looking in rather than shining a light on our own failures.
It takes a little less effort to cast blame rather than take responsibility for our role in personal catastrophes. Yes, you got the messy end of the stick, and yes, you might not have deserved what happened, but I promise you, you had a hand in the demise. Even if that's because you never stood up for yourself or that you held on too long, or the mere the fact that what you initially tolerated continued. The sooner you own that you're not as innocent as you think, the more likely you are to avoid being bitten by the 'salty' bug.
I remember when this nice lady's son and I were out there living our best life. I mean, when I moved, he moved, just like that. I prided myself and tried hard to come across as this "perfect mate." Overlooking things that I knew irked me and pretending the things that annoyed me didn't. But hunnay let me tell you, the illusion of perfection will be tested. Your reserved calm will quickly morph into Bad Girls Club, Season 1 - The Bahamian edition real quick.
No matter how I tried to take the high road, this heffa gaslit me and I, him, at every turn. My easy-going demeanour soon disappeared, and in its place, a fruitcake with more nuts than a jar of chunky peanut butter. I mean, I Clarke Kent my way into the kind of woman Solomon says will make you live in the corner of a rooftop. We'll you can imagine how that ended, right?
There I was, being patient, accepting and enduring. Why? Because we've been conditioned to think lasting relationships are strong because they've gone through a series of traumatic events (insert roll eye emoji). Anyway, the next thing I know dude was waltzing down the aisle with someone else's daughter. And I was left asking, "Yo, what the el-m-n-o-p just happened!!???
After feeling slighted, nothing can more easily push you over the edge than seeing your ex has truly moved on. And by move on, he not calling you on the slick. Just look at him, thriving and flourishing without you. The mere mention of that sight serves as the quickest reality check to let you know just because your body has broken-up doesn't mean your emotions have.
Fast forward many years later, and I had finally laid the fiasco that was us to rest. I was celebrating yet another low-key birthday, when lo and behold, there pops up in my DM, an alert from the loon "I found someone better than you," ranger. Somehow, he'd found me on Facebook and decided to send me a happy birthday message. Talk about look what the cat dragged in.
Anyway, this happy birthday wasn't a low-key shoot my shot, or I've moved on but not really. Nor was it a let's see if the old broom still knows where to sweep kinda thing. But to my surprise, it was a genuine apology that came nearly 10 years after the fact. Well, blessed assurance, Jesus is surely mine.
Just like me, soon enough, you realize that you're either the person who has wronged people or you're the one who was wronged. Still, when that come to Jesus moment hits you, it doesn't matter which of those two people you are or how much time has elapsed; if you're at all decent way down on the inside, you'll make amends where needed.
While I maintain 'we are not friends,' we spent several conversations clearing the air. Not only did I learn my takeaway was dead wrong, but it became apparent how I spent almost a decade being salty about something that was never really real. While I don't promote "checking on exes," at the very least, I want to be able to say "hello" in passing but not while fighting the urge to run dude over with my car. There is 'a peace' that needs to be attained where you can both be civil but keep it moving.
According to the urban dictionary, Salty is the act of being upset, angry, or bitter as a result of being made fun of or embarrassed. Also, a characteristic of a person who feels out of place or is feeling attacked.
I suppose then it's safe to say that salty can also come from a place of heartbreak and rejection. How could they not want amazing you, right? Discovering that someone has moved on without you and your fabulous self shouldn't leave us with a sense of worthlessness but rather an awareness that it wasn't the right fit. In my 'see things from a different perspective' view, I find Lot's wife was the epitome of salty. She's a prime example that we can also become salty when we keep looking back to what we're trying to be delivered from (Genesis 19:16). I believe we church folks would phrase it, "Looking back is death!"
Salty can also be at the hands of our own manipulative schemes. I'm reminded of Sarah and why she perhaps was bitter knowing her husband was about to have a child she wasn't carrying. It was no surprise when Hagar started having an attitude toward Sarah that we soon learned this wasn't gonna be good. And in grand dude fashion, Abraham recused himself and told Sarah, "handle ya business, sis!" Now that's what I call next-level savagery.
Needless to say, Sarah had to show my girl who the real HNIC was. When the full gravity of what giving her husband to the next woman was revealed, all I can say is there was trouble in the camp indeed. (See Genesis 16). I said all that to say sometimes the source of our bitterness, or, in this case, being salty, comes at the expense of our own impulsive actions.
For the longest time, that was me. Letting my imagination run wild and when reality didn't play out like the movie in my head, it was a problem. So no, none of my relationships ended up as I would have envisioned or desired, but I can't deny that in each of them, there were good times, and even in some instances, there was personal advancement.
While it's some weird kind of euphoria to keep highlighting what a deadbeat a guy was in a relationship, the truth of the matter is something kept me there. Over and repeatedly, I might add. Believe me, I know it's easier said than done, but like me, you have to let it go.
The quickest way to dilute your saltiness is to appreciate the experience for what it was. Embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let those pleasant memories be just that, and the not-so-good ones, well, chalk it up to lessons learned that you wouldn't soon repeat.
Listen, fish that live in the sea are immersed in salt water their entire life. Yet when they find their way to your plate, if you don't season them, they are as fresh as unseasoned noodles. What am I saying? Don't let that one traumatic experience alter your flavour. Your environment does not have to change what happens on the inside of you.
Ponder this, salt can preserve, purify, and season, but ironically, it also irritates. Now, will you let your experiences develop or annoy you? Think about it.