Life Lessons

Tainted Love: Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here

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Society hardly ever paints women as the aggressor or the manipulator in a relationship.  The  “Angry Black woman” is the main portrayal of a dissatisfied/uneasy woman in our circles, and so it’s all people have chosen to believe exists.  Evil, manipulation and destruction are kept for the males in a relationship.

And so the men who suffer at the hands of abusive women are often neglected.

Most of them don’t even know they’re being emotionally manipulated and scarred.  They are men who tried to love a restless woman and got caught up and dragged in her hurricane of a “love”.  The “good” men who met a woman who lost that part of her way before he came around and makes him suffer for it.  Men who are too “nice”, too hopeful to know when to leave.

Partners can be vindictive and try to package it as one of the things they do for love.  I’ll admit people love differently, but I’ve learned that certain forms of love leave you battered and bruised and some people never run out of apologies.

Excuses, excuses.

Abusive people never lack a sob story.  Reasons why they can’t help but hurt you. It’not them, it’s the fact that their father walked out on them.  It’s not that he’s a bad person, it’s that he constantly needs to “test” your love by doing things that emotionally cripple you.  She can’t help herself, the fact that you have female friends makes her do what she does.

It’s never them.

I dated a man for two years and watched him turn into someone I no longer recognized.  We were happy until we weren’t.  Until he started going through my phone and cussing me out for having male friends he didn’t know.  Until he started locking me in the house as he went about his ways because “If you leave the house you might meet another guy and leave me”.  Until he started kicking me out at odd hours of the night or in front of his friends.  Until I became something he wanted to keep around as a safety net and I realized his love meant taking out his frustrations and insecurities on the one thing he knew couldn’t leave him.

And don’t tell me I could have walked out.

It wasn’t easy when this was someone I’d invested that time into.  I believed I could love him better. I believed time would change everything and I believed every time he apologized, he meant it.  He really couldn’t help it.  I believed it really WAS because he was high or he treated me that way because he really WAS scared of losing me and he just COULDN’T be without me.

And who doesn’t want to feel needed?

Who doesn’t, deep down inside, want to be the saviour?

Who doesn’t want their relationship to overcome hurdles and survive?

Except abuse is not a hurdle to be overcome.  I learned that the day he tried to punch me and I moved as his fist connected with the wall.

That was it for me.  I realized like my father, like many men I know, he had reached the point of no return.  The point where he thought it was perfectly alright to strike me and his apology for that might heal my black eye.

It was time to go.  Time to walk out on the one person I had thought I was learning true love with.  Time to abandon what I knew because it was crippling me inside and trying to bruise me on the outside.

And fucking hell it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.

Weeks later, while drinking with friends, my ex’s friend walked up to me, grinning like a Cheshire cat and said “Did you hear? Your ex updated his Facebook status and said he has HIV.  You should check that out.”

I’ve never sobered up that fast in my entire life.

I shook as I logged onto Facebook and read  what was there, plain as day:

“Hey guys. So I wanted to tell you that I have HIV but it’s cool. I’m still eating well and fucking these bitches raw, just as I’m supposed to.”

I was gutted.

Absolutely fucked.

His phone wouldn’t go through as I tried to reach him and nor did his sister’s.  My mind raced.  It must be true if I can’t reach him. He’s probably left town and gone to his parent’s to sort this out.  What the fuck am I going to do? How long has he known?

Everything within me seemed to stop.

I went to his house the next morning and there were new tenants there who informed me he’d left town, but he’d be back in a few days.

Those days dragged past.

When I finally saw him and asked him if it was true all he did was laugh and ask me if I wanted to fuck.

It amazed me how easily someone could turn on you when they have no claim to you anymore.

I spent the next week contemplating suicide and binge drinking, living in a friend’s dorm room.  I didn’t know how to explain to my mother that the man I’d treated my family like shit for might have knowingly given me the HI virus. I didn’t know what kind of future to plan, if at all.

I knew nothing.

The day when I finally decided I’d commit suicide, not having tested by the way because I was too scared to know, my friend came to me, looked at me, and told me “Bakang. You have to go talk to your mother about this. I can see you’re thinking some reckless shit and I’m not gonna let you fuck around and do some bullshit. Go see her. I’ll come with you if you want, if she kicks you out, come back here and we’ll figure something out. But go tell her.”

I walked into my mother’s office looking like I hadn’t had a proper meal in a week and I was having stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I told her everything and for what wouldn’t be the last time, she looked at me dry eyed, hurt, shocked and tired.

We went for the test, discussed what we’d do if the results were positive and waited.

I was negative.

I called my ex immediately afterwards to tell him the results and his response floored me:

“Of course you’re negative. I was just fucking with you. I thought if I told you I had HIV you’d come back to me and we’d be together again.”

My mind stopped working.  This man, this man who’d treated me like shit and told me I was worthless had done ALL that, to spite me? To keep me? To break me then swoop in and save me?

How long was that gonna go on for?

Why would he even..?

But you know, I wasn’t mad. I couldn’t be. After all I’d gone through internally, I honestly couldn’t bring myself to get mad.

I went on with my shit.

I learned that desperate people will go to ANY length to keep those they’ve claimed as their own.  Some people are sick, internally.  They cover up their illness, their entitlement issues, insecurity and commitment issues, with excuses.  And “love” is always on that list.

I learned to avoid affection from people who bring me no peace.  And honestly, I can’t love people who honestly believe they don’t deserve affection, they will do ANYTHING to prove themselves right, including breaking your spirit to prove to themselves how fucked they are.  You will fail to love them and, if you don’t learn when to leave, die trying.

They always guilt trip you into staying.

They’ll emotionally abuse you and when you muster up the courage to leave guilt trip you.

My ex’s favourite was “Who’ll be here for me when you go? You’re all I have.”

“Fine, be like everyone else who leaves me…”

“You said you loved me..”

And you know, you really did. You did. But you really can’t anymore. Know when to go.

My friend’s ex girlfriend cheated on him then when he tried to leave her she said “Fine. Leave. Who’d love someone who’s been raped anyway?”

She hadn’t been raped, she’d willingly slept with this guy, this came out as her lie unraveled. But she’d said it.

And that’s how some people are.

She accused this random man of rape because she simply wanted to keep someone she KNEW she abused and manipulated.

Human beings rarely shock me because I’ve come to expect the unfathomable from them, especially when they claim to be in love.

Because most of these people have no idea what love feels like.

We’ve all been infatuated.  But most people never move past that stage.

They take infatuation, attraction, obsession and ownership and sell it as love.  They have no idea how to NOT destroy what they claim to care about.

They cripple in order to keep.

Shamelessly.

And those who haven’t known anything different stay.

They stay because someone cries.

Because they claim to love them.

Because their abuse is familiar.

 

I can say it all I want but some people have to learn that you cannot love these people better.  They will kill you internally and keep your corpse as a souvenir to remind themselves that maybe once they were worthy of love.

And you end up fucked.

You learn the hard lesson that human beings are selfish.  Some more than others.  Some would give you a  gun, ask you to shoot yourself if you love them then complain when you don’t die fast enough.

People are so fucked I could write a book about it.

But these are things everyone needs to learn on their own, including those I love.

I have seen it for myself.  I’ve watched my friends experience it for themselves, and I have learned, cautionary tales are fully believed when lived.

You just have to make sure you step away and live through it to learn from it.

Because like dream hampton said:

“That time you confused a lesson for a soulmate.”

That time needs to come and go or you will be stuck in the same redundant place, mold growing on your heart and mind and subsequently, your entire life.

People who nourish themselves by draining others will never let their sources go.

When it comes to most people, you tell them you love them and they will let you kill them as slowly as you want.  They take it because who wants to believe someone who says it so passionately could possibly harm them?

Who wants to believe human beings are really educated barbarians?

Anyone with the ability to speak has the ability to lie.

I never forget that.

I can’t afford to.

And that might be weird coming from a writer.  But I’m telling you the truth because I had to live through it to get it.

And not all of us are strong enough to live through these things.

I’m telling you so you don’t have to go through it and possibly lose yourself in the process.

This is life.

And it’s grimy.

These are people. With desires and ulterior motives.

And they’re just as grimy.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespeare.

I hope you don’t encounter them .

And if you do, don’t let their human  appearance fool you.

A Blues existence in an Ignorant Rap era

I’m not sure if I could love myself if I didn’t know myself. If experience has taught me anything it’s that I’m the kind of person that you have to learn, to understand, in order to appreciate.  Most people I know alternate between hating and adoring me, and I understand because I do too.

I am too unstable for people to be calm around. I relate too much to female characters in Toni Morrison novels, Amy Winehouse spoke my heart so well I’m convinced she was Jesus and her music was the gospel, when Beyonce played Etta James in Cadillac Records, I understood exactly what she meant when she said “Oh honey, you wouldn’t even begin to understand my problems.”  I expect myself to end up with a drug habit, it would be shocking if I made it to 25 without the help of a therapist.

I am not shallow. I can be. But it is not in my nature to be. I feel and I think. Sometimes too much, sometimes the wrong things, but I do.  I wouldn’t say I’ve earned the right to be referred to as Crazy but come back in 2 years and I’ll be almost there, probably. I’m not Torch-Your-House-Crazy yet because, well, I’m still somewhat logical and hopeful.  Hopeful that things work out, and logic tells me I’ll get caught and I’m not trying to have my life disrupted by arson charges over Love, but..As I said, this is now..

I understand things I wish I didn’t and am unable to verbalize things I wish I could.  There is a certain loneliness, pain that is heard in music that one would like to feel, but few do. I am feeling it and again, understand why beautifully tragic lives can only exist for so long.  I think only a few exceptional artists can package heartbreak, without a catchy beat and make you believe it’s bearable. And I don’t mean relationship wise, although that too, counts.

If I’ve learned anything about great, sad artists, and from my experience, your heart doesn’t break once, it’s not about that one man who left, although sometimes it may be. Your heart breaks every time you remember the tiniest of things, something someone said about why you’re difficult to love, the one who held on and had to go because you were killing him inside, the time your father showed he didn’t care anymore, the time your mother didn’t defend you, and then the facade cracks, because I believe as an artist you can only maintain your facade for so long. We aren’t allowed/able to leave things in the past, especially as a writer, everything is connected and you have to constantly pull up memories and experiences. I think as a musician or painter it’s different because they move one, a musician has to move with the times and a painter can constantly find new inspiration, well, unless they choose to fixate on one thing but, that’s it.

I’m failing at being Young.  I’m not youthful in any sense of the word, I can’t even dress like people my age, I have to try. Why? Because I’m simply not here.  I realize that when I’m around peers and I’m completely uninterested in their stories, their hour long discussions about why the boy never texted back, when I meet the boys who want to prey on my insecurities and save me from myself, when I meet the men who hope I’m naive enough to use, the family members who don’t think you’re destined for anything but mediocrity, I’m uninterested and most times unaffected.  To quote Cali from Power of Pussy, “..Some people are just out here living and I’m fighting for it.” My issues are more along the lines of trying not to be a struggling artist, staying away from alcohol and trying to convince myself  suicide isn’t as appealing as it actually is. These are real issues for me that I struggle with all the time and ironically, I want no help with. I’m convinced I’m strong enough to get over it alone although when the sun sets I highly doubt that.

I’ve been telling my best friend that I feel a very lonely existence. The kind that envelops you and explaining it is kind of like explaining what it’s like to breathe through your nose..it’s normal, seems insignificant but is necessary. My other friend said he’d like to create the perfect man for him and I explained, it’s not about a romantic relationship, I merely want someone to relate, to understand why I make mountains out of molehills and some days I’m depressed and inconsolable, why I am as I am, because of what I’ve been.  Companionship and intimacy. I tire of meeting people and hearing Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger Than Me” playing in my head.

But consider the age we live in.  Intimacy is feared by many because of the idea of vulnerability and knowing you’d have to share yourself with someone else. How many times have we done that and it’s gone wrong? How many times has one had to mend bruised hearts and shattered egos and hide their trust issues? One too many it seems, for all of us.  But I often wonder if “Bitches ain’t shit” is strong enough to make you feel right on your worst day when you’re craving genuine affection.

I often say I need stable people around me but to be frank and fair, I wouldn’t know what to do with them. I’m learning the key to every functioning relationship, no matter how small, is understanding. Calm people with average life stories are not for me, I tend to ruin those that I encounter. On the other hand, finding your own Blake Fielder-Civil will mean little to no peace, or a different kind, I don’t know yet.

These thoughts make me feel selfish, because I’ve been blessed with a best friend I consider my Soul-Mate. A man who loves me unconditionally and I often tell people it’s sad because not a lot of people will get to feel what we have for each other in their lifetime. But despite this, despite the fact that I already experience an indescribable love that fulfills almost every part of me, there’s that. Because even he, as much as he loves me, cannot feel what I do as I do. He understands some bits and I may be asking too much to expect/ hope for, what I do.  But I understand why it isn’t possible, he is not me and I get that. I’m grateful for his love and support, still.

I think what I’m trying to say is, I want to connect with more people and unfortunately we live in a time when people would rather be anything but honest.  About their flaws, their desires, themselves. And for people like me, this leaves one feeling out of place and odd.

To quote @RomanKush on the issue “We’re the last of a dying breed”.

It’s hard to see the beauty in yourself to begin with considering Society. Even harder when we can’t even tell each other we’re worth something. When the only compliments you can count on are from two friends, strangers on the internet and yourself.

I wondered last night if a “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” would matter coming from the same person everyday. I doubted it. As I type this I wonder if I do my part, and I don’t know. I may be too busy observing to do anything.

I’m over having sex and miss making love. Fuck, I miss holding hands. Being able to cry in front of those you consider close to you, and I don’t mean silent tears, ugly cries. I miss passion. The raw passion that terrifies and yet intrigues. I’m sometimes ashamed of the fact that it burns in me because I don’t see it elsewhere.

And to answer Warsan’s question, Yes, I tried to change, and I know you understand why, and I couldn’t because this is how I am. And it’s a constant struggle to remember that I’m like this for a reason. That I have a right to sing the Blues.  I have to teach myself to not do what almost every other person I’ve met has done, told me I’m too much or too little of something. And this is where I am now.

And if I ever decide Life’s gotten to be too much, I will forgive myself for the decision I will make, because I will understand.  And it will not mean I would have been ungrateful for anything that has happened or anything that I’ve learned.

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