Driving home one night, I got lost and went missing for two full days. The family was beyond themselves with panic. Clearly, something was wrong because when they found me, I was parked in a rest area curled up in the backseat. I was trying to stop the noise. This is when I knew something was wrong. It was the first stage of awareness for me that mentally, life would be different—I would be different. Many episodes after that prompted the loss of most of the family I once coveted. With my aunts, uncles, cousins, you name it, I was the life of the party. They claimed to love me, so until this. “I love you, but something is wrong with her.” Loosely translated, that means, yeah, I’ll rock wit yo a@@ until times is hard and I’m out like I’m being dismissed from work.
Talking with Soph sometimes, I see how fortunate I am in some ways. We are the opposite. Her husband emotionally abandoned her due to his selfishness, and she gained close friends. I lost close friends and family and bonded more with my husband. This experience has taught me so much about love. What I respect about my husband is that he has taken on the load of paying the bills, and I work a significantly less-paying job than before. He has been engaged in therapy and even wants to hear about the antics with my group members. It never feels like he doesn’t want to hear what I say. The support of taking on social media and various other projects has been unreal. He seeks to understand who I am now; the past is left in the past. I’m sure this has not been easy for him; yet, he slays the dragons each day to ensure I am getting the support needed. It has never felt like I love you, but—
On the flipside, those I called family are thoughts of the past. The abandonment was too much to take in, but I can’t say it hurts. When my energy was good, they used it up like I was a soda machine at Mcdonald’s. Didn’t even try to replace the syrup. They left me at my lowest and now that I’m improving through the love of my family, here they come cheering and talking about they knew I could do it. HA! Manipulation and selfishness at its best. These folks want to drink off the success of work others put in and that is unfair to the family I care for each day. My kids even support me to a degree I never expected because they model their father…that beautiful Black man.
My friends now are few and we have much in common. It’s a reach to say the word I love you to anyone outside of my immediate circle because I know what it is now. It’s restoring, peaceful, patient, forgiving, quiet, fair, and warming. For all that was lost, I gained so much more. Be mindful if you here someone say, I love ____ but. If there is a but, you don’t love them. You tolerate them and that’s much different than love.