I love the ship metaphor for relationships. If both parties are working together to keep the ship afloat it’s smooth(ish) sailing (you can’t control the weather). If not, you’re going to sink. It may not be as fast as the Titanic but it’s inevitable.
Finishing my first poetry book Return to Sender was the closure I needed to let go and untangle myself from my other relationship. Even before the book, I spent two years getting to know me and making promises to myself that to this day I refuse to break. I will never risk losing myself to become a “us” ever again. Because when the “us” is over you’re just left with “u” and if you don’t know who you are, you have a long exhausting road ahead of you. I’m not a relationship expert but I’ve been through a terrible relationship where I didn’t know it was emotionally toxic until I let myself faced the music. I bent over backwards and I broke myself in the name of not giving up because I needed it to work. That taught me that I could only control myself and trying to align the universe is impossible.
I had to spend two years putting myself together and finding out who I was single in order to figure out what I wanted in a relationship. The relationship you have with yourself is the most exhausting and hardest thing you will ever work on because you can’t escape you. I reflect a lot and I observe even more. If you build walls and then expect someone to break them to get to know you and get into a relationship, they’ll already enter that relationship more exhausted than you.
Baggage should be expected as grown adults but should never be a competition. I helped a guy who didn’t deserve it when he was homeless all the way across the country. I helped a guy move to another continent even though he didn’t appreciate or deserve it. It didn’t stop me from moving mountains because after reflecting, I learned to move mountains for myself, and cross valleys and bridges that I never expected, even when I was scared. I wouldn’t trade it for the world either because I learned that I was raised by strong women and just because I’m strong doesn’t mean I have to be everyone’s safety net, be afraid to be vulnerable, or even be afraid to admit when I’m wrong or I need help.
The stigma of the strong black woman is toxic or that. It took 30 years for me to realize that I didn’t have to be strong for everyone.Enough about me, but don’t bother packing your luggage from your last relationship if you can help it. I give friends sound advice. I tell them to write the thing from their past that has a hold on them and to crumble it up. Sit by a fire and toss that in the fire and never look back at it. Letting those things go makes the load heavier. Only carry what you need. For instance, if my heart didn’t break then, I wouldn’t be as whole as I am now.