Updated: Sep 5
You'll know Petty? Well, let me tell you'll 'bout her. She was me, and I was she! My petty was like the Lebron James of relationships. I could go from ultimate beast mode to milking a flop like someone just bulldozed me with their 7'ft. 1'in. 325lbs body!
Like many, I embraced the petty; I became one with the petty. I put 'she on like a warm winter coat as the chill of a Swiss Alps winter softly kissed my sun-deprived cheeks. I was giving childish. I was giving shady. I was giving spiteful. I mean, I was serving passive-aggressive like I was Cash Money taking over for the 99's & 2000's. ”Hi there, welcome to Pettyville—where the odds are always against you!”
Picture it, Sisley, sorry, I mean Nassau Bahamas, 1983—a rumbustious Raquel at home with Grandma. I must have been running her ragged because rather than call me by my good government name, she would beckon, "Come here, Shaky." And it was all downhill from there. While I have no clue why, all I know is I done all but send Jesus four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree to reverse that name up off me. 'Cause ya girl has been in these relationship streets wildin!' Just doing the most dumbness and being extra for no good reason.
Let's pick up the story with Home-Slice at the two-and-a-half-years mark. Every time we argued, this dude would say it takes longer and longer to get back to any sense of normalcy. Errrrr! Hold up, wait, pull up selector—stop the track. Is it taking longer, or are you hoping I'll run hot, pull a Wendi (Bahamian recording artist), and walk out?
"So, lemme see if I'm understanding—when you're wrong, we can mash it up and straight squash it, but when I'm wrong, it has to brine like the Christmas turkey? I can turn the other cheek, but you, oh no, you get to shout at me like you’re the Grand Poobah herself, Beyoncé, and I’m replaceable?
When you wrong, we can solve it with a, "So, you hungry?", but when it's me, I have to find the unspotted lamb and carry wood on my back up the mountain in hopes there's a ram in the thicket. Then turn round and make the fire?" No, no, no, no—after a while, I wasn't having any of it! Sis turned into Grover, Monster in the mirror, "Negro, if you waba me then I will waba you!"
So there we were deep in the first 48, post-argument, and the tumbleweeds were tumbling, the dry sand was blowing, and DJ Cassidy was playing the old Western whistle jungle. I attempted to send in the cavalry but was told, 'ya can't just show up unannounced—where ya warrant, Sis?' Oh, I see—now I’m not even permitted to come reason together?
Okay! So you'll know, ya girl woke up on day 3, like it was resurrection Sunday and rather than roll the stone away, I positioned that bad boy—with a sign that read, "You don't have to leave, you just can’t stay here!” #respectfully Then I sat down and had a hearty bowl of immaturity for breakfast, courtesy of Petty Crocker. This thing stuck to my gut like lumpy oatmeal, and I instantly felt like She-Ra, ”I have the power!”
At this point, it had been 72 hours since we spoke, and according to all crime scene investigators, this was officially a cold case. So, I called and got hit with insolence in its purest form. I even tried sending a message by carrier pigeon (aka the mutual friend). But homie would not budge. Ya know, it was the 'being treated like gum to the bottom of ya shoe' for me!
My inner Petty Labelle starting humming, "I gat a new attitude,” as I sat at my desk and intentionally chose violence. We had now hit the phase known as 'Resident Evil: Retribution.' At this point, it was gang wars—Eastside versus Westside and my ‘No retreat No surrender’ anthem courtesy of Terror Fabulous hyped me up in the background.
I carefully went through each app—unfollowed, blocked, deleted and removed myself from every shared account. Erasing any trace of me like I never existed. Don't side-eye me. I already told you my level of petty be on steroids. It took this fella 3 additional days to reach out, and I’d have to admit, I thought he would have noticed by then and launched a search party like he was trying to find Nemo. Beloved, listen, if I didn’t see the billboard flashing ’dis one name ova,’ then the monitor sure was beeping a code blue. Time of death a quarter pass, 'you'll ain't making no sense!'
(Sigh) Yes, I know I was wrong; there is no if, and's or but's about it. But at the moment I didn't care! The thing is, when in a relationship, leaving is always an option. Any party, at any time, can opt-out—though there is a way to do it, and mine wasn’t the one. My friend Solomon says it like this: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12 KJV) Hear me when I say, if 'I know das right' was a person.
Don't be deceived; I don't want you to think for a second; having that knowledge stopped me. Something foul was afoot; I mean straight suspect. And let me tell you'll, the cat who jumped over the moon doesn't have anything on me when I ready to start jumping to conclusions.
Sure, I get it, Sir—be all in your feelings. But our disagreement didn't warrant 6 days of avoidance like I was a loan officer from Commonwealth Bank (a local Bahamian Bank known to give quick loans at high-interest rates, and customers avoid repayment). Like, Mister, what in the night before Christmas was going on? Needless to say, I went from Mary J's Not Gonna Cry to Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River in one fell swoop. You'll know denial? Like for real, “Sweet-boy, you'n even realize I was gone?” Whoa! Reality check had me chiming, "Is it me, Jesus?"
Early on, Sir Jest-A-Lot said, "You know what I observe? You hate to hear anything bad about yourself!" And I sat with that thought, lamenting over it like it was a low credit score. Could he be right, though? Was there, in fact, some truth to this allegation? "You always let the perfect be the enemy of the good!" he'd say. Who, Me? What? No way! I simply like things a certain way! (Insert pause for dramatic effect) “Ohhhhhhhhhhh!” This incident is one of the reasons I pull out the 'relationship disaster x-files' every now and then to check myself. ’Cause like they say, ‘fool me twice….’ #or!
Perfectionism, can't or won't delegate. Insisting on being right no matter what the situation, acting critically while claiming you’re giving constructive criticism. Or, being curt, alleging it's you being direct—are all signs that you, my friend, are controlling. Displaying these traits like you're on the Price is Right does not get you "ooh's, aahs and nice" as if you're the wifey grand prize of the season. Nor does any of these characteristics spell stability.
And for the record, seeing how long you can last in a bad situation doesn't up your 'good woman' ante either. It's very much giving pick-me-girl vibes. Women who can't cook so much as mud pie have whole husband's and people with no degrees are in management. As Country Wayne would say, “Now let that sizzle in your spirit!”
True stability means you are capable of appropriate and well-thought-out decisions. You have consistent behaviour patterns, and you're able to communicate thoughts and feelings maturely and effectively. I know I hate to hear it, and it irked me all the more if it was directed toward me, but the truth remains "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)
Now, imagine I had married this lady’s son with that kind of impulsive thinking and even less regard for recourse? It wasn't until the aftermath of that train wreck that I realized how important it is to think before you speak and think before you act. Don't get me wrong, make no qualms about it; the relationship was over, long before this juncture. Nothing could have salvaged or would have stopped the inevitable. Though on my part, a different approach should have been taken where a more amicable departure could be achieved.
Go ahead, you can ask it—“Ma’am, what in the round and round the garden was going on?“ Yes! Yes, even after all that, guess who went back for more? This girl! Don't worry; I had my Bozo suit Bespoked that year 'cause clearly I was pursuing a profession in clownery!
Let me say it loud for the people in the back but slow for the folks upfront. All this back and forth is called: in-sta-bility! Which is a tendency of unpredictable behaviour or erratic changes of mood. Actually, let me use a more familiar word—Insecure—not firmly fixed, liable to give way (direct opposite of being stable). It all goes back to what Prince Scallywag said, and I know I'm not alone. We don't like hearing bad things about ourselves. But we cannot fix what we refuse to confront. We hate hearing we have a terrible attitude. We can't stand someone saying we're the toxic one or that we're unapproachable and can't reason. We desire the pedestal with angel wings as if your flaws disqualifies you. No, denial and the refusal to put in the effort to fix it does that.
I never woulda fathomed, pie-like me, insecure! "I beg your pardon! What do you mean I'm not perfect?" Ha! But what else would make me keep dabbling in a situation that all the good sense the Lord gave me kept signalling, "It's not a BBQ, it's a fire!" I see you bargaining with yourself: Okay, what if I tone down the crazy, you know, be more feminine? No, ya insecure. What if I shrink a little bit more? No, now you’re reading needy and insecure! What if I give more? Oh, you a doormat, needy and insecure. Plus, giving more of what already is not appreciated is counterproductive.
It all boils down to the comfort of keeping what's familiar. The need to not up the body count, or the uncertainty of not being accepted by a new family or the judgey friends. And last but not least, the fear of again being rejected. Take my stupid advice; even if you turn yourself into the Pink Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, you still will not get what you want by being who you are not.
You hear the words ‘you and stability’ in the same sentence, and you immediately think, "Yassssss, it's giving what it 'pose to gave!" But not really. You can be stable, which means: the quality of being, enduring and unchanging, a firm or secure grip, or a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress—and be all that to the wrong things. However, when I think stability, I'm aiming for: the state of being mentally sound. Once this is achieved, you'll know how to manoeuvre in or out of situations, for that matter. (definitions provided by www.wordhippo.com)
Stability requires consistency. You'll always hear me reference another what's-his-face who told me, ”The only thing you’re consistent at is being inconsistent!” Ouch! You'll these dudes been coming for my neck since Betty White was a Golden Girl. But as I was saying, stability requires being in control of your feelings. And in the words of the late Kenny Rodgers: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run. Period.
Sad to say, you know who wasn't stable? Moses. Lest you throw a stone at me, remember he didn't get to see the Promised Land. Why? Not being in control of his feelings. First, he was out there breaking commandment tablets being extra. Then there he went to not using his words. God told him to speak to the rock, but no, he channelled his inner Bruce Lee and smote it. Lest you think I'm running out when it comes to Moses, I bought him to light to show you how one wrong move can cost you your whole promise or forfeit your destiny. (see Numbers 20)
Play then, that one night you make a scene, or that one time you act out, could mean the difference between you getting the mate of your dreams or settling for the Freddie Krueger of your nightmare. 'Speak to the rock.' In other words, talk it out, have a conversation, use your words, leave Petty where she is. Trust me, Sis ain't your friend. She is a certified homewrecker that has been kicking and keeping folks out of Promise Lands since Eden.
By comparison, you know who was stable, Caleb and Joshua. Ten other men were convinced they couldn't possess the Land. But these two fellas stood their ground. Truth be told, if they had listened to the masses, another 40 years would have probably ensued. Nuck if you buck then and see if the person you keep acting out with has to stick around cause you out there letting ya 'lil friends hype you. (see Numbers 13–14)
So, yes, I'm out in these streets forty and single 'cause like Moses and dem, I have been wandering around the mountain of instability as acting COO of the finding fault department. I was like those Israelites ‘manna, manna, manna quail, quail, quail’, all while missing the lessons. Complaining about any and everything. “Why me?” I’d ask. And the answer was simple. When you give God your ’Yes,’ babe, it's always gonna be you. Yes, means you agree—the trick is to know what you agree to. Let that soak in.
The lesson here is to control what's in your sphere. The entire Season 3 of the Tea Series spoke to YOU and getting your act together without pointing fingers. I’ll recap right quick: When you quit having the audacity, you won't be salty because that means you've gotten rid of all the toxicity. Hence, you‘ll no longer suffer from familiarity, and that's because you are not empty.
Being full means you'll have the clarity to accept your reality and know what should be your priority. Having maturity causes you to focus, and you won’t be seeking popularity or conformity, giving any ole body accessibility. It's, of course, your responsibility to seek out your spirituality which will lead you to a place of serenity. And when life tests your elasticity, having your own individuality brings you right here, to the point of stability. Until next season, remember: Stop doing dumbness!