As Valentine’s Day approaches everyone’s got something to say whether it be banter here and there or wallowing in self pity because they’re spending their valentines alone for the millionth time.
I think finding love is beautiful and the celebration of love is also beautiful but it’s also important to not allow the pressures of society to push you into situations that are not edifying. As much as I love love and I ABSOLUTELY hope to one day find love (or for love to find me) I would rather be single than in a relationship that makes me unhappy. Seeing that February is the month of love I’d like to tell just a tiny bit of my story, although I may go in depth another time.
For the most part when I was single and even more inexperienced than I am now, I used to underestimate how much a bad relationship can take it’s toll on you. I used to think it couldn’t be that bad and people were exaggerating but I was wrong.
It shows in how you carry yourself, your countenance, your weight, you lose passion and zeal for the things you were always passionate about. No one will really understand unless they’ve gone through it. You lose motivation. Generally, it weighs you down spiritually, emotionally which then manifests physically, but the worst part is usually you don’t realise the negative effects until you fully come out the situation and the scales drop from your eyes. I’m not talking about the period, in limbo where you’re vulnerable and could easily allow yourself fall back in, Its when you finally step away from a situation fully. I think personally a relationship weighs you down the most when you’re giving so much not necessarily materialistically but emotionally and it’s not being reciprocated. You’re left feeling empty. That’s when you’re able to see how much something has been bad for you.
One of the harshest realities I had to face and I’m currently still facing is that not everyone is like me. Not everyone loves like me nor everyone cares like me. Not everyone gives their all like me and not everyone believes in loyalty, you guessed it, Like me. Betrayal is one of the things that really cuts deep because when I care I care with everything.
I was with a guy for close to a year. It was a very tumultuous relationship or situation for a better word to use. I decided to end the situation for reasons that I may (or may not) get into another time, but in general, things were quite bad for a number of reasons to put it moderately and I decided I didn’t want to stay in that predicament. For my own sanity and emotional security. It wasn’t really received in the best manner. It may have been the way It came across, but I believe it had more to do with male pride and ego. Not wanting to get dumped or to feel rejected. Upon the exchange of words I was sent “she was right about you” before the person in question’s display picture disappeared. I saw that I was blocked on everything. At this point I began to get angry, I started boiling, I was filled with rage. There had been another girl that was the bone of contention throughout the year, without her even knowing, but still I wanted to know, who was the “she” he spoke of and what was he trying to get at??
In secondary school I had a friend. Although we didn’t click at the start, I was the loud one and she was a little more chilled and laid back I suppose. Some people didn’t really take to me because I was quite lippy and loud, but deep down I was always a sweet girl (still am lol). During parents evening my mum and this girls mum got talking and it all kicked off from there. She took a unique liking to me and I took an even more unique liking to her. This lady did a lot for the community, for women and young people, as well running her own tv show on Ben TV. I showed a lot of enthusiasm and this lady and I clicked. In year 7 she gave me my first job in west London working with young children in the area, she would pay me out of her own pocket every week. I was just 12. Soon she became like a second mum to me. Although her daughter didn’t initially take a liking to me, her mum would always invite me around. Whether that be to events she was hosting, or to feature on her TV show, she always had me in mind. I even became quite acquainted with other family members. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Ever. Inevitably as the years went on the girl (the woman’s daughter) and I grew very close, so when I heard the news that this lady had passed away I was absolutely devastated. We were all about 15 at the time and it came as a huge shock. I remember hearing the news on the middle of the street and falling to the ground in tears. It was so so sad. She was highly respected and loved by many including all of her daughters friends and anyone who she came into contact with. She left such an impact in the short time we knew her. We all did the best we could to support our friend who had to lose her mother at such at young age. I don’t know how she felt but I could only empathise and do my best to stand by her and be a loyal friend. The death shook us all but the girl and I became inseparable. We stopped calling ourselves friends and started referring to each other as sisters. It’s not something I touch on a lot in recent times but I always say that I haven’t had a friendship that has matched till date. We got older and we continued to bond. I became more invested in her family, her grandma especially and I took her as my own. I always felt indebted to this girl knowing and being there seeing all she had been through. To me it was always my duty to be that person that stuck around.
As the years went on things started to change. I became a lot more easily offended and I believed she was making little jabs at me. She became a little more snide and spiteful in the little comments she’d make, at least that’s how I felt. I would let these things accumulate before addressing them.
I, her and 2 other friends went to an event. I believed she made another sly dig and I was fed up. I lost my temper there and then in front of people. I shouted at her and called her out. Understandably she was humiliated and offended by this treatment. I was so hot headed and felt justified in my reaction because to me it was something she had kept doing. From that day on she ended the friendship. For years I was sour. I couldn’t understand how a surge of anger could wreck 7 years of friendship and sisterhood. But soon I was forced to move on.
We had mutual friends because we went to school with each other, we made a lot of friends together so the ties were hard to break even after all that time. We both had similar interests and we would bump heads via social media and at events of mutual friends. We were always civil and cordial but It was never the same.
The person I was with for close to a year was aware of all of this as I had told him. I told him how I lost my temper at the event, I also told him the ins and outs of the friendship. I always tried to explain how I felt but i always got the vibe that he didn’t care much or he didn’t understand it really. He couldn’t relate therefore to him it was like I was just going on about a dead situation. He had come across her on social media and told me he found her attractive, but never in a million years did I think anything would happen. I thought she was a pretty girl too and I simply agreed. Yes we had fallen out years ago, but in my head, she was still someone I deeply cared about, despite everything.
He told me she had followed him on twitter and they had a very brief conversation. What I didn’t know is that she was feeling him or flirting with him, to the point where they had exchanged numbers and he called her. She didn’t know he was with me, however it was his responsibility from the beginning to not entertain such. But…How would he turn down such an offer down after all she was just his type: Ghanaian, dark skinned, thick with a big bum. Even if he was ‘taken’.
According to him (although there could’ve been exaggeration to spite/hurt me) the moment he told her the person he was with with me, she began slandering me. In which they both indulged in a conversation discussing my flaws, the type of person I am and what I did to her. (All negative) Things that I probably do not know or was even confronted about. So when I broke up with him and he said “she was right about you” he was referring to her.
This hit me hard. I didn’t know who I felt betrayed by most. Was it the guy I was with that was supposed to hold me down. Someone who was supposed to be a ride or die never allowing anyone to speak negatively about me, let alone grant them audience? Or was it the girl I was no longer friends with, who we had been through so much together, but I still had mad love for at a distance. I couldn’t tell, but it cut like a knife. I didn’t know which part to process first. Was it that I had to find the strength to pull myself out of a toxic relationship for other reasons, even though I was deluded into thinking I loved this dude, or the part where because I wanted to save myself, I had to swallow the bitter reality that he did me dirty behind my back and only confessed out of spite. When I wanted to leave.
Obviously there is a lot more that happened which I may go into in the future.
I decided that that was what betrayal truly felt like. I spent days feeling like such a victim, feeling so hard done by. Locked up in my room, constantly in tears, just hating everyone, bottling up resentment but it definitely taught me a thing or 2. As my mother always tells me, you know who you love but you don’t know who loves you. It doesn’t matter how much of a kind hearted, decent or even loyal person you think you are, (emphasis on think) that doesn’t make you immune from getting hurt or feeling pain. It is also doesn’t mean you will be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people will dislike you and that’s ok. It took me a long time but I allowed that situation to mould me. The bible even tells us that people will fail us. I had to truly use that experience to learn how to let go. I was still stuck in secondary school caring for someone who had washed me out of her system a very long time ago.
Sometimes I really hate when people say you shouldn’t have too high expectations so you don’t get disappointed but it’s true. One of the biggest mistakes I have constantly made is thinking people will have my back like I have theirs.
Definitely, it has tainted my image on friendships, relationships, men and even women but most importantly it’s a lesson. So I can be wiser and grow from it.
I so much longed to be in a relationship to know what it felt like to do those little things like celebrate Valentine’s Day. Having experienced what I did I am so happy to be away from that situation. It is such a burden lifted from my shoulders.
Although I haven’t experienced true romantic love I imagine it to be so beautiful and satisfying. But to everyone out there don’t kill yourselves in the name of a relationship. Don’t suffer in silence, all in the name of having a bae. I became so dependent on that guy, in my mind I told myself I wouldn’t be able to continue without him, yet me just being away from that situation gives me so much contentment. Somewhere, which this time last year I never thought I’d be. Betrayal woke me up, it opened my eyes, it hurt me so bad but it had to happen for me to really grow.
Maybe some of you have experienced something similar, I want to encourage you that time can really be the biggest healer. Sometimes I would pray and ask God to help me to forgive. To let go. The truth is there are some things you just don’t forget, but over time wounds heal and scars fade. You’ll look back on a situation and it’ll feel so distant. With February being the month of love, as valentines approaches I wish you all true genuine, authentic love. Most importantly I pray God gives you the patience to wait for what it is you truly deserve, not to be consumed by the pressures of today’s society.