I think about where I was a year ago and smile about how I have been altered.
This time last year I was getting ready for a trip up to NYC with a good friend and his girl. I was sad about the occasion, but I felt the need to celebrate the life of the artist, even if the artist and I never quote saw eye to eye.
My ‘summer of freedom’ was coming to an end and it had affected some of my relationships. In good ways, and not good ways.
I was dealing with the obvious resentment of people in my space, although I was never the threat they thought me to be.
I was adjusting myself to the idea and the concept that I was not in service, and it was not ideal, but it was acceptable.
I was not vexing over the thought of being single, I was living life and enjoying life, and I was smiling in a way that I had not in years.
My driveway gate will never be the same, but it was a good summer none the less.
I didn’t know what was coming just three weeks later, it was so unexpected I still chuckle at the sight of me on the floor in the dark. But I was in a good place in my life and I had no clue that it would get better.
I like to think that it was all of the work that I did on me after a not so great spring that allowed me to blossom in summer and be prepared for the fall.
I was reading a post someone wrote on Fetlife, about how the person they are with now had waited for about 6 years until the opportunity came to be with them. I smiled. Not just because it is further proof of what I keep telling my sisters, when a man wants you, nothing will stop him from getting you.
I smiled because I know stories like that one. Stories where happy endings occur, in the most unique of circumstances.
I can not say that The Man looked for me for 6 years, but I know that when He decided that it was meant to be me, nothing deterred him from His mission.
When women make poor choices about their mates the next man to come along catches hell. The Man has not exactly caught hell, but I will say that He has the patience of Job.
On more than one occasion my NOT single friends have pulled me to the side and said what the fuck are you doing Nicole? They may yet have the opportunity to do it again, but thankfully they have had to say it less and less over the past year.
I walked out of a courtroom a few years back and unplugged from life. I’d shut down completely and I was unwilling to allow any form of daylight into the house. I feared it like a vampire.
I was not willing to put my love out there, my heart our there, my sanity out there for someone else to abuse it. I did not know that there was anything other than abuse.
This is not to say that those who came before were bad men and women, they were just not for me. Trying to fit my very round ass into a square hole was abusive and I thought that it was all that I could expect. I thought that it was all that existed and I’d had enough of it to last me for 12 lifetimes.
When I eventually realized that I was too young to give up on living, the road back was not a simple one.
I was not 25 any longer, with my 25 year old body, and my 25 year old sense of fun.
I was closing in on 40, I was a mother, I was a caretaker. My old soul that has always existed was suddenly rejecting all of the things that I used to do when my list of responsibilities was: get milk.
It was a tough sell to walk back out into the world, to explore what it offered me, when everything around me was so different and so difficult.
The music was too loud, the clothing was all wrong, no one seemed to speak my language, and I had too many gray hairs.
I have ALWAYS stood out, but never more so than when I tried to rebuild my romantic life after the last break up with the ex.
Even though I’d located a world where people FINALLY (kind of) thought like me, I was still not quite ready for prime time.
It was last spring and last summer that showed me …. prime time was not ready for ME…and that there was nothing wrong with me that a few hours in front of my altar would not fix.
I think back to that weekend and realize it is one of many ‘birthdays’ for me. Anniversaries where I can say I have been altered for the better, and they are most responsible for the Nicole that you know today.
It was that weekend that I grew up enough to be the woman that The Man needed, and the woman that I needed to be as well.
As the three of us hit the turnpike to come back to Philly, I was for the first time as authentic to who I am as I could be, and it was a wonderful thing.
In the 3 weeks between that excursion to Gotham and my friend Kev’s first party here in Philly the email came that would change my life forever.
In the months after that email I was shoved into the fire and held there until *I* realized that I would not melt. Those who tossed me in there knew I was strong enough, but I did not.
There are still unanswered questions from that period of time, and I suspect they will remain that way because they are not relevant to right now.
What I do not question is the idea that I am where I am supposed to be.
It sure as fuck ain’t easy….but it is rewarding in ways that most people will never see. That makes me kind of sad, that so many of us are like I was not all that long ago. So afraid of living a full life, that you choose to not live a life at all.
It was the right thing for me to do to accept the hand of The Man to walk this path, but it was not a simple thing to do. At first it seemed like every indicator in the universe was telling me to run away.
But then again like I’ve said: when a man decides that he wants you – he will not be moved from that path.
I am thankful that I could sit in front of my altar and allow the answers to come to me.
I am just as thankful that I was finally quiet enough to listen to those answers.
I am more than thankful that I was not my normal nervous nelly self and embraced the risk to get the reward.
I always say that we as women need to understand that our lives should not be centered around having a man or not. I will always stand by that.
There are those out there who are not as happy as I am that say….well gee its easy for you to say because you have The Man.
I didn’t have The Man last summer though, and I was not unhappy.
I did the work that I needed to do on ME and the reward for it was this moment in time. It was ugly at times getting here, but I am here.
It’s not about being able to pick up the phone and hear THAT voice.
It’s not about putting Bonnie & Clyde to sleep and quietly giggling @ Ugly Americans (the TV show) in the late hours.
It’s not about doing the naked pretzel.
It was always about me. It is still about me, and as long as I keep that in my focus, I am free to serve Him in the manner he deserves and everyone is happy.
I was telling someone that I am unlike any other slave in this life that I know. The most ‘famous’ of us slaves – the most ‘admired’ when they speak they talk of how it is only the pleasure of their Master that matters.
I think that we do damage to this way of life when we say that, and I think mandisa bless them, that they truly think that way.
Then again our #1 rule is: Protect The Property
That is not the rule in other houses, and that is part of why I know I am in the right place for me.