Recently, a friend of mine had some family troubles. One of her closest relatives suffered losses which caused them to check into the hospital. I felt for her and asked if her other family members were doing okay despite everything that was going on with them. She said they were maintaining and that she was still worried. At the end, she stated “..and do you know that his girlfriend had the nerve to leave him when he was going through all of this?”. I was being a friend in the moment and gave the standard “Wow…that’s fucked up” type responses. It is fucked up…but at the same time we don’t have her side of the story. We have his side and while I empathize with how life has given him this test…who has time to wait?

I, like various other women in the Black community, grew up in a ‘Ride or die’, ‘Stand by his side’, ‘Make sure he’s taken care of’ childhood and adulthood experience. If you’ve met me you will know that I have always been that person that will speak up when something isn’t sitting right with me. My household toed the line of taking care of our men no matter what. But my grandmother loves to tell me about how when grandpa was dipping into the savings more than he was depositing and that sharing accounts situation ended quickly.

I made the mistake of giving too much of myself in my last relationship. I mean I grew up  with a mom who was great at putting out fires, but no so great at preventing them. I won’t make that mistake again, because while it was a valuable lesson in the end I can’t get that time back. So back to my original point…

Black women don’t have time for you to get it together while we have our own shit to get together too! [Whoo!] I love my friend dearly, but if his ex-girlfriend wanted to move on [because we honestly don’t know how long she has wanted to move on] then she had to go. I stayed in an off-and-on relationship due to “wrong timing”, fear of abandonment, what my family would say, etc. But when I finally left and literally stopped speaking to my ex I was on a happy high just from eliminating him from my life.

I do hope that her relative gets better and finds the help they need, but it’s always better to take care of your self before anyone else. Hopefully they will see this experience as rock bottom and decide that the only thing to do is work their way up to a point where this is just a bad month they had. Isn’t that how this usually works?

 

-TDB

 

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