My writer friend Ashley Yates said something last year that has stuck with me: “Black women take care of Black women.” It has taken this pandemic just to see how deep that goes. It has taken this pandemic to see how family truly works together–or can be ripped apart. I have stopped looking at this 9-month pause as a pandemic; something to be feared or continually angry about.
What I have seen in these 9 months has been something that I–and several of my true girlfriends–needed. A chance to start over. Oh, I know that these types of conversation are a low hum in the Black girl magic. They are the bitter in the bittersweet. But yet, they have to be said. Even the Bible says that greater is the end of a thing than the beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Let me say this, and then I will say no more about it. I have given 7 years of energy towards it. In the middle of a pandemic, I am going through a divorce. I was involved with someone that I had to lessen my magic for in order for him to soar. When this pandemic became a shut down, I knew the clock was ticking.
You cannot stay in close quarters with someone that you cannot stand, whom you no longer love, and yet you have to be peaceable because peace is more costly than the war that will break out. In that incubator, the words came from him first. “Do you even want to be my wife anymore?” I remember looking at him, all short and his presence a stifle to the sweet air of freedom just beyond my reach. And I, tired of lying, tired of hiding, tired of trying to be perfect in the midst of Hades raging around and inside me, I answered him. “No.” The most freeing word, the most freeing sentence I had ever had said have been said. No. As the world was, is starting over, I was. I am. I have. I am not the only woman in this situation, sadly. There are some of us who were relieved the tenuous relationships broke apart under the strength of a pandemic.
Grateful that we could begin again–alone.
Being alone was much better than the farce of trying to be together. Of lying about how happy you are together. The likes on pictures you had to force to smile in! Relieved that the children born or brought into this situation no longer have to endure the chaos of the lie of trying to stay together. Indeed, in the middle of the start-over. Deciding while all is happening, knowing that all is lost–and the best thing you can do is…leave. And as Mother Rashad said, “Make sure you go when you leave.” Today, my dear ones, my Torches. This is the start-over. In this, in this move, in this rebuilding–I’m not scared. The anxiety is over. The walking on eggshells is over! The knots that the stress of the relationship made, that I held on to in order to stay where I was–are now cut.
I am more free than I have been in the last three years. Better is the end of a thing, than the beginning. I was no longer afraid to take deep breaths–I can breathe again. Now, I am a romantic as much as the next girl. I believe in love, second chases, forgiveness, loyalty and trying to make something you want work! I am also a fan of self-respect. I fan of self-preservation. I am a fan of safety, true affection and having space to be safe. I am a fan of the start over in my best Malcolm X voice–by any means necessary. Support is always necessary when your life needs to be rebuilt. Little things like faith, peace and deep breathing are always needed, even if your have to remember to do it? If you can’t live, how can you tell someone else to? How can you remember to? Sometimes the best blessings come in the most dire circumstances.
The start over requires bravery, and that bravery has to outweigh the quiet ‘comfort’ of any guilded cage.