I said no.

I’ve typically tried to stay away from personal and emotional writing, which is why I haven’t been here, but yesterday things got really bad and I’ve got stuff to say.

I have tried my best to leave the past where it is, and it’s beyond difficult when someone brings it up in a cavalier manner–if its something I struggle with every day, its not something I’m going to LOL about and keep going. Duh.

It’s bad enough I explain this story (briefly, anyway) to literally EVERYONE. I think if people didn’t ask questions I wouldn’t be as intensely affected as I am, but they do. They ask. When I meet new guys they ask. When I make friends, they ask. Strangers in the store, his doctor, the kids on my cheerleading team. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. But last night after work I laid in bed and I realized something–I chose this. I said no. And no matter how badly I thought I wanted things to work out after my boy was born I was always holding back. I may have loved the idea of things working out, but I can’t ever remember loving him after my son was born.

The one time I can remember things being really really good for a long period of time was right before they got bad. I really thought I wanted to finally be his girlfriend and not his “baby mama” but when he asked I said no. I had valid reasons for why I said no and I didn’t do it just to be mean–I really wasn’t ready. And that’s when things got terrible.

It’s things like this I can’t forget but I believe he has, the little things. The moments in between the good and bad, those are the ones that make the story. I said no. I chose to be here either subconsciously or because I literally knew it would be this way. Before there was ever a choice to be made, I had made it. It obviously had nothing to do with the way the first 2 years of my son’s life went, but that’s a benchmark for me. The moment I stood up and stopped doing as I was told was a glimpse into who I would be today. It’s a really powerful feeling, knowing that you made it. Knowing that I made sure my son was and still is unaffected by my choice.

There are plenty of things I want to change about my life, but what I learned watching my mother go through the same thing is that sometimes dads have it easier. Look around–it’s still a man’s world. Men still make more, and these days they’re more revered than mothers. Specifically mothers like me with a story overshadowed by rumors and lies.

I found a copy of that text in this old box I have, and I think I need to frame it. It was the first time I wasn’t afraid to say no to him. It doesn’t matter where I would be monetarily if we had stayed together and I didn’t move back home, it matters that I would be unhappy. It matters that I wouldn’t have reached my full potential as a mother or as a woman. This matters. Every in-between moment does. Yesterday’s breakdown does. Even though my son is unaffected because he doesn’t remember being left, I do. I remember. I remember worrying more about whether or not my son would see his dad than how I was going to afford gas and diapers and baby clothes he refused to help me get.

I have tried so hard to let this be, but look at me now. I am afraid to love anyone else. I’m afraid to care, to reach my full potential as a wife to a man that truly deserves me because of it. I suppose it’s easy for him, I apologized for my wrongdoing years ago directly after it happened, but I will never praise him for coming around now. He didn’t save me or my son, he was who I needed saving from. He didn’t break my heart or betray me by “leaving” me, I had already made that choice, he did it by leaving my son. To me, it doesn’t matter if he’s here now when I’ll always worry when he will leave again. It doesn’t matter how many times he says he won’t–I’ve heard that before.

See, there are some things that you break and can’t fix, like glass. There are some things so fragile that once you break them so many times there’s no coming back. That’s what I need my boy to learn from this. He won’t be impacted by everything that I am, but he already knows something is amiss. He’s known since he was a baby and our emotions were more synced than they are now. I stood by bd through hell and high water, I moved home to work so he could “live his life” and play ball, an act of genuine love from me and instead of being grateful and helping he literally watched me struggle and may have offered help for the text message’s sake but never came through. That’s how I know I made the right choice. That’s how I know I made the right decision, when we had the conversation that he wasn’t ready months later after we had been living together and everything but he wanted things to stay the same. I was right. I was right when I chose to date other people.

Not many understand or even know that story but there’s one thing I and everyone else agree on–I am better off because I said no. I may not have met the right man yet, but with every mistake I make dating I get closer. Closer to the person that’s going to look at me and truly see who I am and not what I can give him. And when I find him, I will thank God for taking me through the worst of times and the worst of men to  get to the one that sees how far I have come as a woman and mother and motivates me to go further. He will go the extra mile for me as I did for bd back then. I can’t wait to live a life where my success is just as important as the man who loves me versus the one that “loves” me.

It’s true I may have forgiven him, but forgetting? That’s a whole other story.

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