Do you remember the first time you knew you were in love? Head over heels, passionately, miserably in love? I do. I was driving down Wesley Chapel Road, leaving Decatur (It was a long ass way, he’s from the 20 side of things. Extra points to whomever recognizes that reference.) It was a Saturday afternoon and there was a light summer rain falling, with a rainbow in the corner of the sky. Upon seeing the rainbow, I immediately burst into tears and thanked God. This happens every time I realize I’m in love with someone and has happened three times in my life. This time, my tears fell for a man who, throughout this blog, will be referred to as Mac. Mac was the love of my life, a part of the reason I began this project and the man who would eventually bring me to my knees.
One situation involved a young man/He was the ocean/And I was the sand/He stole my heart like a thief in the night/Dulled my senses and blurred my sight
He was tall and dark brown, with a full beard and mustache that grew from his face like thick thistle. He had a beautiful smile, perfect white teeth that would shine like the moon behind the darkness of his beard; he was everything to me. I was twenty-two, freshly graduated from college and experiencing what I thought to be my first heart break. Little did I know what was in store for me. Mac was a local musician who had slight fame once upon a time and was a followed artist in the underground Atlanta scene. This was during my independent hip-hop phase and he was one of my favorite artists. There was something about him, an invisible, magnetic force that drew me towards him. I was a fan and did not know how different the man behind the stage name would show himself to be.
One Friday night (August 13th, which should have been a warning, as I tend to be superstitious) I decided to go out with a friend to get my mind off my sadness. There was a concert series atop a hotel roof and Mac was one of the artists performing. After his set, I stood in line with the rest of his admirers, walked right up to him and said “We should get together sometime.” He looked at me in a way that I assumed meant he was going to say no; a look I would later come to know as one he would give when he was about to deceive me. Instead, he said, “How about we get something to eat and get to know one another?” And that was it, from that day onward and for a good six months he was the nucleus of my world.
There are people we meet and have immediate chemical reactions to, there is no suppressing or denying the pull they have on you. And boy, did he have that pull. There was no one else. Nothing else mattered but his presence. I could tell you how many hairs grew from his coarse beard and the dimensions of his thick lips and the measure of the heat from his body as it laid upon mine. When he thought of me I could feel it, when he said my name, I would stop breathing, my skin would ache with desire at his mere touch. I was deeply in love. My first time being in love and it was beautiful. So in love that I intertwined my entire existence with his and lost myself in his being. And that is where the trouble began.
When you are that invested in someone, it is very hard to take off your rose colored glasses. How can you, when they make every step you take feel as though you’re walking on air? Usually, as it goes, you are forced to take those glasses off; when the thick air you’ve been walking on is pulled from beneath you and you’ve fallen flat on your face into the harsh grips of reality. My reality was having fallen in love with a man already spoken for. To learn that the person you love has a girlfriend (plus a few others, including myself) is some crazy shit, (I had no other way to describe the feeling). That shit is crazy and it’s numbing and it’s painful and it’s embarrassing. And it was my reality. And I went mad. I literally lost my mind and myself for a moment, trying to understand how this could happen from the one person I loved the most. The person I loved more than myself. I would learn that he was merely a traveller, a vagabond who made temporary homes in the hearts of women who cried his name at night. These are the worst men to love.
I will spare you all the details of how real the situation became, because I’m sure you have your own version of deteriorating love. It was bad and the bad lasted way longer than necessary. Almost two years we spent going back and forth with tears and sadness and anger and great sex and so on and so on. Then it stopped. For almost a year, no contact, no knowledge of his life. I’d finally stopped giving in to the urge of stalking his social media and what or how he was doing (including his new girlfriend) no longer mattered to me. It was within that year that I picked up the pieces of myself that I’d left scattered and began to place them back together, adding newer pieces as necessary. The rebuilding was slow and steady, but during that time, my spirituality, my self worth and respect grew stronger.
But my heart is gold see I took back my soul/And totally let my Creator control/The life which was His to begin with
A few months ago, I went out and happened to see him. See also: the powers of social media let me know that he’d be at an event I was planning on attending. Seeing him was such a gratifying and surreal experience, because I learned that he no longer moved me. I did not stop breathing, my heart did not flutter, I was not rendered speechless. We simply nodded at each other politely and went our separate ways.
I see him sometimes/And the look in his eye is one of a man who’s lost treasures untold
What a beautiful feeling it is to not love someone anymore. It is almost as beautiful as falling in love. So it seems that love comes in two parts: the falling and the rising. It is our life journey to rise and fall, as we learn our lessons again and again until we understand their purpose. His purpose in my life was not to be an everlasting love, but temporary; to show me that self love is the most important love of all. It was the day he broke me that I became the woman I was meant to be. It was his time in my life that changed me from a naive girl to a wiser woman. And I thank him for that and will always love him for that. It is now that I have a better understanding of what love should be and it’s nothing similar to what he showed me.
I was ten years old when The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released. I would sing along, but in my youth did not understand the heaviness of her lyrics. I did not know that one day they would be my fate. There are songs you are not meant to understand until it is your time to understand them. As a twenty-six year old who now knows what it is to love deeply and to lose love, this song means everything. I will always think of the three years of my life that included Mac, as my falling: the falling in love, the falling in sadness and the falling into dark corners where I did not know myself. Seeing him let me know that all of that falling led to the wonderful realization that I’ve risen.
Let’s Discuss: What lessons have you learned from falling out of love with someone?