“You need to start back writing so you can get clear.” he said.

I’ll admit, he gives the best advice. I don’t care that he’s in a federal penitentiary giving me advice from a cell phone that he’s not supposed to have. Sometimes people go through the craziest life lessons and give the best advice from places I never want to be.

“And stop effing dating” he advised. “Learn to be by yourself.”

So I’m listening. I’ve taken a reprieve from writing to experience life. I don’t know how I came to be a writer that shares my life’s most private moments. There’s something innate in me that’s always been a conversationalist. For the first time in my life, I’m alone. And I want to talk about it.

No KIPP. No Exeter. No Spelman. No Tim. No husband. No in laws. No friends. Two kids.

Wow, I’m an adult. I’m literally standing on my own two feet and it’s been intoxicating. My life as a writer has opened many doors, even in my love life. I meet some very unique men nowadays but nothing could have prepared me for the relationship that I’ve been in for the last year.

Yes, I’ve been in a relationship for the better part of this year. And no one knows. No pictures. My friends haven’t met him. I’ve never blogged about him. I’ve never changed my Facebook status.

I don’t know how I got here. It happened so fast. We met, two wounded souls exiting past relationships, scared of what the future held. Somewhere in the midst of confusion, we found one another and something felt right.

Then it didn’t.

I don’t want to be the bad guy. I don’t want to be the one that some man talks about ten years from now about how wounded he is because of me. I don’t want to be the woman that damages a man. I don’t want anyone to hate me.

But.

I couldn’t keep lying to myself. I was with my first love ten years. I knew after year three that he probably wasn’t the one. Why did I stay? I loved him.

I stayed with my son’s dad six years. Had he still been alive, who knows how long we would have been together. I knew he was toxic and everything felt forbidden. But I stayed. I loved him. He made me feel secure.

I stayed with my ex-husband six years. I knew after one year of marriage that I was going to be a single parent one day. Why did I stay? I felt I owed it to my daughter. And him.

I can’t do it anymore. I’m at a point where I just want to live for me. I want to be able to enter and exit relationships without this feeling of guilt. And without fear that I’m going to damage someone. I can’t be responsible for how other people feel. I just want to be accountable for myself.

So here I am. With him. AMAZING with my kids. Speaking of kids, if I had one with him, it would have a trust fund. But I don’t care about money. I make more than enough on my own.

Twenty one is legal age but do you know the first time I felt like an adult?

It wasn’t 21.

It wasn’t my first kid.

Cremating my son’s dad.

It wasn’t marriage.

My second kid.

Or divorce.

It was the first time I looked into the eyes of a man who loved me.

And I told him he wasn’t the one.

Promises of marriage. A baby. Lifestyle. A life I really want. I could see it at the tip of my fingers.

And I said no.

I don’t want to compromise. I don’t want to sacrifice any part of me.

There’s growth in this story of my love life. Less than a year and I was honest.

“You aren’t the one.” I told him.

“There’s someone else.” I said.

For the first time in my life, I felt no guilt.

The truth set me free.

And he still didn’t want to leave.

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