by Harriet Hairston I’m a “what you see is what you get” type of person. My yes is my yes, and my no is my no. The gray matter in between gets the yellow light until I can sort it all out. Women admire the boldness God gave me to put into words what they feel. Men admire the fact that I haven’t given up on them, and I don’t put all men in the same category.
But now I’m more transparent than ever, and that makes me dangerous. Heartbreak and pain can take a person and flip them inside out, where all veins, muscles and nerves are exposed. No skin, just blood and bones. So what you see now ain’t what you want. TRUST ME.
I say this because I find myself (almost) single again. There is a vacuum and void that exists in me that must be filled with the right things, otherwise I’ll never be whole again. I’ve said before that bitterness has attempted to fill that void. Fortunately, it hasn’t, because I’ve fought that battle successfully. However, once I win one battle, like the 300 Spartan warriors at Thermopylae, another threat attempts to barrel towards me, wanting me to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Because I want to experience love the way my parents did. I want so badly to feel safe and secure in the arms of someone who loves and respects me for who I am. For me, a man is kinda the prerequisite for a desire like that…a black knight in shining armor who will sweep me off my feet and carry me to “happily ever after.”
There are plenty of good brothers out there who are putting in their resumes, too. Their objective: “Seeking a position as Harriet’s hero. Motivated expert in loving pain away.” Is that so wrong?
Heck, yeah, it is! It’s the right desire that hit me at the wrong time, y’all! And I’m audacious enough to put it out there because I see so many of my sisters making the same mistake my desires are trying to get me to make. Let’s break it down to the lowest common denominator, shall we?
If I jump right into another relationship:
It’s quite possible that I’ll settle for someone just because they are NOT the person I just left. That’s no guarantee that they will be better than him. In fact, they could have characteristics worse than him! Or…
A man will find himself as an innocent bystander getting hit by the blows that open, unhealed wounds cause. Who needs that?
Instead of moving forward, I will find myself moving laterally, putting my life at a standstill that I can’t afford. I gotta get my life back together so I can continue to be a good parent to my son. I don’t need distractions right now.
I think it’s so important for a young lady to allow God to regulate her feelings after experiencing heart break. That takes support, God’s wisdom, and in some cases counseling. Most importantly, it takes TIME.
Men become “Public Enemy #1” to many women because we impulsively jump from one relationship to another far too quickly. Same script, different cast. If a woman did an honest self evaluation, she would find that a great deal of her heartache was self inflicted because of unwise choices and illusions she erected in her mind instead of looking at reality.
The future me is having an out of body experience right now, and she is SCREAMING at the “inside out” me the following advice:
Get yourself together, girl! You know you’re not totally healed, and if you’re so allergic to drama like you say, why step into another relationship that will put you in anaphylactic shock? Get somewhere and sit down!
It’s great to want love and respect, but you have to use wisdom. The right desire acted out in bad timing is still WRONG.
If you just HAVE to hear a man’s voice, call your brother (or whoever a male friend you can trust is). He has no agenda, and you know he wants what is best for you.
The anthem of my heart is, “Slow down, baby, you’re going to fast. You’ve got your hands in the air with your feet on the gas. You’re about to wreck your future running from your past. You need to slow down, baby.” (India Arie)
I want a hero right now, but I don’t need one. What I REALLY need is healing.
The only hands that are expert enough to reach within and fix all the brokenness are clean and sterilized. God’s hands–the same ones that grabbed stars from their storage bin and tossed them up in the sky–are touching nerves and sewing things back together.
I’m content to be still, know He knows what He is doing, and give myself time to heal after the surgery is over.
You all are the visitors that come with the flowers, balloons and “get well soon” cards that are characteristic of the prayers you have graciously blessed my life with. I so appreciate you for seeing the ugliest side of me and loving me still.
Harriet Hairston is a woman who slips and slides in and out of labels (military officer, human resource manager, minister, mentor, spoken word artist and teacher). The only one that has stuck so far is “mother” (the most important in her estimation). The rest have taught her well that only what she does for Christ will last. Her transparent style chops away at the proverbial “elephants in the living room” that no one wants to talk about. She has made her own life an open door, so others will be willing to look at themselves and their humanity unashamedly and keep pressing forward in spite of the obstacles encountered. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can read more of her previous work at blackandmarriedwithkids.com.