The Other Woman.

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The Other Woman.

Honoring a tenant of self-love in the AWM mission statement, I will share with you how I was able to discover harmful thought patterns, illuminate a path to forgiveness, and see the beauty in a not-so great situation.

Your Magic-- They Want You or Hate You.

When you are TRULY in the element playing mas, you embody the spirit of your ancestors, your truest self-shines bright and your soul sings louder than any truck on the road.  You possess your inner God/Goddess. He/she is powerful, alluring and undeniable. People see you in your moment. Some of them want to possess you, and some hate you for it. And then there are situations where you get to experience the blowback of BOTH.

I’m a very private person, but I am going to share a VERY personal experience that will bring awareness of something that does happen in the mas world, and to also possibly bring healing to those who have experienced this.  When you play mas, the euphoria, love and community give you a sense of security in that you would never in a million years think that you would end up being sucked into a goddamn love triangle. Up until that point I had been single for four years so starting off a serious relationship by allegedly taking someone else’s man was definitely NOT in my wheelhouse.

Disclaimer: Not every detail has been shared about this situation. 1) This entry is  five pages and almost 3,000 words in length 2) There are some very painful things I am still processing and unable to share at the moment because it’s hard for me to openly discuss 3) Spilling all the tea may keep you unfocused on the message of this story detailed below. Please stay focused, but go get your popcorn and wine cause we’re about to have an Oliva Pope moment.

Setting the Scene.

Rewind back to September 9, 2015 my very nasty divorce was finalized and I spent YEARS picking up the pieces and dealing with a lot of things that came with almost five years of a very spiritually damaging relationship.  I spent many years meeting many men, all of which I never really gave much time of the day. I did my thing as a single woman should and I carried on like so up until September 2019.

I had met this guy before as he previously done some services for me earlier in the year and decided to stick to what I knew would work when I went to Brooklyn Carnival.  What turned into what should have been a one-minute video turned into a full segment that captured the essence of the never-to-be forgotten wet fete. If you were there, then you know how amazing it was.

 

Brooklyn Carnival 2019 with Stronjeh International

Almost ten days after he out of nowhere began to ask me a lot of questions… about ME. Now living in the middle of nowhere with not much else to do besides work, I entertained this Q&A for a full 24 hours before I directly decided to ask him what the deal was.  He had… a crush. And I thought to myself that I had been crushing a little on this guy also, but didn’t think much of it because 1) I thought he had eyes for one of my road mates and 2) I thought that he was in a relationship with someone that he was running a platform with.

He told me that I was totally wrong on him having eyes for my road-dawg, but informed me that my observation was correct about his relationship with the woman I saw in a photo. He told me things changed between them back in New York and was hoping that he and she could be adults about it. As far as the woman on the other side, to this day I’ve never had a conversation with her face-to-face or over the phone, and I believe the only time I interacted with her is when she sent me an email on behalf of his videography business. I honestly didn’t know shit about her, and verifying his relationship status with a woman I never even spoke to on a personal level was not in my playing cards so I chose to take his word for it.

Joy and Drama.

Up until he and I saw each other in person again, he and I spent hours talking on the phone. I felt that my guard could come down; for once I was finally getting to know someone who wished to pretty much know me on a cellular level. We discovered that he and I were both interested in the same things, and when he and I finally saw each other it was pure fireworks and we mutually agreed to be exclusive.

A very memorable 38th Birthday.

I was over the moon and thought that all these years of waiting was FINALLY paying off. About a week into our relationship, she decided to hack into his accounts and found the love-letter he wrote me. She visited my personal facebook page and saw that I had changed my status to being in a relationship and then took a trip down to my instagram and saw a photo of us that I posted to my stories.  Midway into our time together she called him to confront him about it. That’s when things took a downturn.  She was aware of the relationship, wasn’t quite happy (naturally).  

Over the weeks together we spent a lot of time whether it be with him at his home or his coming my way to spend time with me. We had some bumps in our very short journey— finally sharing my space with someone after four years of solitude did come with its challenges. Discussions over why I maintained a loaded pistol in my home, how to interact with my pets (fur kids) and other major challenges and adjustments. What I did love is that when we communicated I felt listened to, and felt a strong desire to be understood. We communicated well during our friction points, discussed a future together, mulled over common goals and the challenges that came with military service. He and I kept a journal and participated in couples’ games that strengthened our communication and relationship in such a short amount of time. Marriage was even a topic of discussion.

Conflicts surrounding her continued to arise.  I recall a day where I spoke with him about the red flags and suggested that maybe we should agree to end the relationship so that he could come back when he was ready and focused. But he insisted that I not go anywhere and that his issues with her would be resolved.

 

 

 

Honestly one of our last moments together as a couple.

Things took a horrible down turn at Miami carnival when the two of them had a verbal altercation— on the road. Outside looking in you would have thought the two of them were in a relationship. I was deeply disturbed by the amount of emotional involvement and embarrassed even more so because I was with three other women on this trip. The following day, he broke up with me via text, packed his belongings and left while I was at a fete citing that I didn’t deserve the drama.

Now, I wasn’t sad because he had broken with me, rather upset about how it was done.  I know that regardless of the connection that we were not in a place for us to peacefully function in a relationship, so I accepted it for what it was and chose to remain neutral. It was difficult completely emotionally cutting myself away from the situation and hoped that over time the sting would subside, we would be on good terms and I would keep myself open for other relationship opportunities in the future.

We are black women... we build... we do not destroy other black women… unless…there's a black man involved.

A couple of weeks later I am on a military mission reclining inside of my tent-cot in the middle of the Mojave Desert when I receive a text message from a number I do not recognize.  She identified herself and told me that I was “crossing the line”.  At this point I am insanely confused because I don’t know what’s going on with him or her and I was not in a place to try to convince anybody to do anything when they didn’t know what they really wanted.  To this day I don’t even know if he immediately went back his old relationship or if it was something they eventually decided to do (because they are currently committed again).

Now I hadn’t seen my ex since Miami, and I chose to ignore her until I received a photo image of myself followed by an “intimate” video of me and my ex when we were together. She proceeded to tell me to stay away from him, not talk to him ever again.

Ole girl seriously did the most.
The absolute most.
Stolen Property in the Game of Love and War.

I don’t take kindly to anyone threatening me or trying to coerce me to do (or not do) anything. First of all, nudity and the act of sex is natural and in my reality is nothing I would be embarrassed about. But I felt VIOLATED AND DISRESPECTED on a level that if she were in close proximity she would have earned some broken bones. Her actions stirred up childhood trauma and brought back those nightmares that would have me screaming as I wake.  But beating her ass is illegal… so I spent a good amount of energy trying to find out the appropriate channels to file at minimum a police report but was met with several roadblocks. When I finally made progress, the attorney wanted an insane amount of money but advised me that although he could petition for… there was no guarantee the judge would decide to make her pay back even with substantial evidence of her actions.  I chose to put my money into my own personal projects and not waste it on low energy drama such is what I had experienced even though she deserved to pay for her transgressions. I decided that Karma was a wheel that turned and that I would leave it to the universe to serve her punishment.

In hopes to squash the drama without administering a beat down or reprimand of the law, I approached her directly on the matter to clear the air primarily because I felt that maybe she didn’t know my lens of the matter.  I also wanted to avoid any additional drama as she and I are both masqueraders that have jumped in at least two of the same bands that year.  Who the hell wants to deal with that shit on the road? Her response was met with neutrality; she expressed respect and I thought the matter with her was over but it wasn’t—which is why I highlighted how people just can’t stand your magic. Whatever.

But what is most important is that it was genuinely over for me and my ex.  Near death experiences will change how you look at things. And after laying in my bed for several days recovering at home, I rolled over, text him that I forgave him for everything, hit “block contact” in my iPhone and decided to work on closure alone.

6 months later trying to find that respect she said she has....

When Pain is Your Professor.

Overcoming Negative Programming

Raise your hand if you were criticized by a mother figure, mentor, or friend for not reading between the lines, making a decision sooner or honoring red flags. SOME OF YOU READING THIS ARE PROBABLY CRITICIZING ME AS YOU READ…..

Raise your hand if you’ve been made to feel you brought something on yourself because you gave someone a chance. No empathy for what was done to you; everything is placed on your shoulders.

As Black women we are brought up having to take responsibility for other people’s actions and adverse outcomes. As a Black woman, the notion that we must be stronger or smarter trickles down to even our interpersonal relationships. Never mind breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for the future. Never mind fighting to overcome stereotypes as the angry black woman and other avenues of social injustice. We are programmed to even take accountability for the lack of maturity and respect in other people.  This is psychologically damaging because a when bad things happen we truly don’t know how to give ourselves a break and honor anything positive that came out of a negative situation. 

Remembering my Strength.

Raise your hand if you got that one homegirl that has stayed in a situation entirely too long.  Raise your hand proudly if you’ve been that girl before, or you currently are still that girl. I can imagine a lot of readers raising it slowly as if it’s something to be embarrassed about. 

Sis…. have you forgotten your strength? Regardless of the timeline, you still walked away. You identified your needs and put yourself first. I identified red flags and chose to face them head on as opposed to ignoring them to keep the relationship. That’s a STRENGTH!

And when he broke up with me, I never begged him to come back. I never asked him to reconsider. Honestly, I know that I wouldn’t have allowed him to come back. That was something that I did absolutely right. Because no matter how much my feelings were involved, I remembered my worth. I never gave myself credit for that then, but I pat myself on the back now.

Forgiving Her.

Just jokes.

I’ve learned to forgive the ex and I will admittedly tell you not so much the other woman on the other end of the spectrum. In my mind, part of me still owes her an ass whoopin’ if you ask me.  I do believe that with time being able to tell my side of the story is indeed her Karma. I’m hoping that speaking my truth in this matter and helping others that have been in this situation leads me to a path of forgiveness about the whole entire situation. I also believe that empathy is my path to forgiveness. Because I am able to empathize with her, I know that I am on my way. It’s just going to take some more time.

Practicing Empathy.

I think about the dark place a woman has to be in mentally and spiritually that she would choose to degrade others to secure a place in someone’s life that they would choose to tip-toe line of revenge porn laws and harassment.  Now I’ve been in some sticky situations in my twenties but one thing I’ve never done is fight another woman over a man, and still wouldn’t consider this approaching my 40’s. I look back at that situation and I see an insanely insecure woman who invested herself that she would stop at nothing to keep a relationship– even when he commits to another person.  I see a woman who can’t see the forest from the trees about her value in this world, a woman who thinks so little of herself…I see a woman who forgets her own value so much so that she forgets that there are other and much better options out there for her, and that there is in fact someone that wants a healthy relationship with her and her alone.  I feel bad for the example that she is setting for her own daughter.  I feel bad for sis, to be honest. And if you’re reading it, you should too. Because some of you have been her. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, unless you haven’t grown from where you’ve been

Remembering the Beauty.

The shortest, but most significant relationship in my adult life.

I spent many months very angry with myself.  Blaming myself for everything that happened. Beating myself up for not walking away sooner, deciding to not exercise my legal rights.  And because I didn’t exercise my legal rights I also started to even blame myself that too because in my mind it was my fault she had no consequences and there should have been.

 

What I failed to honor was how in that short time my ex and I were in this committed relationship that I felt happy. We existed very well together. We enjoyed writing in our journal together.  We discussed the things we liked (and didn’t like) about one another in a healthy way. Card games to get to know each other on a deeper level during a long drive. Meals in bed. Respectful conflict resolution ending in warm embrace, a kiss, or words of appreciation. Genuine effort to gain understanding and exercise compromise. There were challenges, but there was balance.  I felt whole because I was finally in a situation (for a short while) experiencing what I truly wanted and deserved in my life. Some of you are realizing that what I experienced you wish you had in your current or prior relationships. People take years to get to what we were accomplishing, and we were together for a MONTH.   What I experienced was a blessing. And when I look at it that way, I can’t stay angry.

It’s okay to take chances. That’s what truly living is about.  How are you expected to live a full life if you don’t take chances? How can you fully live if you do not open up your heart to others? Give yourself a break, Sis.

Forward Thinking.

Although I was able to identify some of the toxic programming in my life that didn’t allow me to process the situation in a healthy way, I know that giving myself grace in experiences will be a life-long process. I hope that sharing my experience with you will help you think about what toxic programming you received and how it has affected you in your interpersonal experiences.  Allow yourself to feel.  Allow yourself the magic of taking chances, and when it ends in disaster, don’t forget your strengths, what you learned and the beauty in your experience.  Black women, we are not the world’s punching bag– brought up to take the blows of another’s transgressions. You don’t deserve to carry the weight of someone’s misgivings.

My anger and grief clouded my vision of what was most important— that allowing myself to be open to someone allowed me to feel something that I had not felt in a long time. And once I was able to process all that, I look back on the situation actually excited to be able to be that open again with someone else. I look back on that situation and realize that although I had my flaws, there were some valuable tools that I gained through my past relationships that allowed me to help a relationship  blossom as quickly as it did. 

I deserved the kind of love that I felt in that short window and I should be excited that after everything I experienced that I was still capable of giving and receiving love in return. It was through counseling that I was able to identify a lot of absolutely beautiful things that stemmed from my very short relationship with my ex. And even thoughI have wounds that are still healing. I look back on it and don’t think I would do anything differently.  I can’t wait to find someone else to experience that kind of relationship again.

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