Friday, November 12, 2010

YOU Deserve Better. (The 360 Effect)

Heartbreak #1:

Having your favorite little cousin fall in love with the coolness of another (delinquent) family member and tell you that you’re the “P” word because you follow the rules.


Having that same cousin tell you three years later that you were right about matters of the heart, men, and being broken.

Heartbreak #2:

Watching, your best friend fall prey to drugs, gangs, and the men who partake in them. Speak these words: You don’t understand me anymore, we’re too different. Why are still friends?


Watching her stumble from a bodega; influenced by a hard-white substitute for love. Telling her that you still love her and embracing her as if it were yesterday.

Heartbreak #3:

A student tells you that she isn’t beautiful because her stepfather said so. (Of course this was before the statement, “I’ll be the only one that will ever “want” you.”)


I never said, “I told you so.” I know what it feels like to be broken. I understood when they spoke that similar line, “I don’t deserve better.”

Although these are the shattered pieces of MY heart, there are variations of this story on the tongue of many women. I’ve heard it from the role model who struggles to push aspirations to pessimism. It’s been whispered by the friend of a fiend or the fallen. It’s been stuttered by girls who feel that the walls will close around them if they ever tell the truth.

But I’ve got news for you: You deserve EVERYTHING, and so much more.

We’ve discussed some of the ailments some of you suffer from: The Wing Woman, Waiting, and The Guardian Angel Syndrome. However, the “360 effect” plagues us all.

360 Effect: Allowing your past to define you emotionally, mentally, and physically.

There are so many causes for this illness however; we’ll only be discussing the cure. It’s true; our experiences are fragile aspects of our entities. We SHOULD cling to both positive/negative ones for dear life. However, we should only use them for REFERENCE. Most of the time; our tragic love experiences become reflected in the eyes of the new man we’re dating, a trait of an enemy glimmers in a new found friend, or a song of an era can collapse into a depression of memories. If you’ve ever felt/seen any of these things, you’re suffering from symptoms of the 360 effect. For some of us, we’ve allowed our past to define us in that moment and we move on. For some of us, it’s become our ENTIRE way of life. By acknowledging our past in the promise of our future, we subconsciously tell ourselves that we don’t deserve better.

The Mild Case:

The three women I mention above had convinced themselves that opportunity had lost their address. The first, allowed herself to be wrapped in the arms of men who wore a similar reflection of her initial lover. Although she’d been wronged by him, she basked in the comfort of knowing how and when she’d be let down according to her past notations. Her mistake: She never referenced his behavior and used it as a stepping stone towards a healthier relationship. Instead, she became attracted to the memory. It is within this notion that your heart begins to guard itself. Your heart convinces you that you’ve done this before, and it won’t hurt as much the second time around. It is here that your brain lays down two paths for you:

Path 1: Acknowledge the red flags, enjoy the love while it lasts, and expect the same outcome. BREAK your already broken heart again.

Path 2: Notice the red flag (a similar trait/action that has offended you once before) and choose to say something about it or move on to someone new who exhibits different behavior.

Your mind will convince you that path two is too much of a risk. It is unsure of this journey and has never been down this road before. It will convince you that Path 1 is the easy way out. Don’t we all just love a shortcut?

The Serious Case:

The second woman tried to stifle her past with toxins. Phone cradled in my ear and on mute—so she couldn’t hear my tears—she asked me, “Why change? What’s the point?” She’s never been anything but broken and can’t imagine ever healing. She WADES in her past. I refuse to give it to her. Still, she continues to ask for it, “All I’ve ever known is out there. That’s how it’s always going to be. I’m not like you. I never will be.”

This woman has convinced herself that she isn’t worth a future. She wears her past on her skin, as if it were a badge of honor. No one should ever be this soaked in denial. She too has chosen Path 1, a journey she knows all too well and obliges at the expense of her suffering.

The Recovery:

The student speaks her words with past tense on her tongue. She tells me that she’s been writing in a new journal her new foster family bought her. She says things are different now:

“I’m not as messed up as I used to be. I thought I was going to be a nobody. I was very sure of that. You know what Miss? I’m going to be a singer and real smart too.”

How is it that a child,—more fragile then we pretend to be—has more optimism for her future at her age then we do at ours? Easy. She doesn’t have enough of a past to come full circle (360) on her. Although, the weight of her plight is just as heavy, she hasn’t spent the same amount of years replaying the shatters of her heart.

I regret to inform you that she’ll be forever scarred. However, the reopening of those wounds and the transfer of them unto her future is ENTIRELY up to her. She’s taken Path two.

Take a lesson from her optimism. I most certainly have. I will continue to beat the eardrums of the souls I love and that have forgotten their worth.

Do me a favor, don’t erase your memories. Only reference them if absolutely necessary. Never reiterate any negative action that’s occurred in them. Bring yourself back to vulnerability for a moment. Embrace that space of silence between thirteen and fourteen when you knew EXACTLY where you were going. Smile, at the 15th aspiration you had for that one year alone. Press your palms against that hard lunchroom table where you realized that none of those four years went how you expected them too. Tell your insecure, broken, and beautiful self: You DESERVE better.

Promise to never go back to that place, see God in you, and love like fairytales exist.

Written for me, you, and all the pieces of shattered heart lying on Brooklyn (and everywhere else’s) pavement.