After hearing Kameron Corvet’s live performance of “Led Me to You,” I bought the CD and played the song on repeat for a month straight. No NPR on the drive to and from work — only Kameron singing sweet melodies in my ear. The song gave me a little bit of hope during my five months break from men and dating. The lyrics were a reminder that every failed relationship serves a purpose, and just maybe each relationship is preparing me for something more authentic and worthwhile.
Hence, in keeping with my theme of celebrating Black men (perfect for Black History Month) through gratitude and compassion, this post is dedicated to my exes, who have unintentionally made me grow and cultivate compassion. I have dated some jerks, but the men who truly loved me were good men at their core. Why celebrate Black men? That’s all I know; I have only dated Black men. In thinking back over the past 20 years there were five men who were instrumental in my life journey. This post is dedicated to them. I have given my exes aliases (when dating everyone has a code name), so we will revert to that to protect the innocent :)…….
Here we go … In the practice of forgiveness, compassion and gratitude I am giving thanks to and for the following exes:
The Artist: He was my lifeline to real friends and a sense of community. We were high school sweethearts, and we should have left it at that. Nonetheless, it is because of him I went to school in D.C. and met some of the most important and amazing people in my life. He once called and said that he was thankful for our relationship because it helped prepare him for the relationship with his now-wife. When I received that call of gratitude, I wasn’t in a place to receive the compliment. Now I can happily say “you are welcome.” This relationship played an important role in helping us both cultivate long-lasting relationships, and for that I am grateful. He is truly a wonderful human being, and I wish him and his beautiful family a lifetime of happiness.
The Yardie: For the past 10 years he has been my secret relationship advisor. We dated across countries and then two states. We too should have never been together, but we needed each other to get through the hellish last years of our 20s. It was nice to walk away from a relationship and gain a friend. It has been encouraging to have an ex who knows me and sincerely wants the best for me. Along with the rest of my friends and family, I believe he secretly prays for me to find true love. He is a good guy; I am happy he found his true love and a soulmate. Warms my heart!
The Pisces: He taught me to live unforgivingly. Maybe we were too much alike. All I can remember is that when we were together it was continuous laughter. It is because of him that I gained 10 pounds that put me over the threshold to my thickest weight. We ate good for two vegetarians! He met me during a time of extreme loss: five deaths and my surgery. My life was more than he could handle as he tried to figure out his own path, so … he cut me off, shut me out and ran like hell. I understood and forgave. I was thankful that God lent him to me during the most difficult time in my life, thus far. What I learned from him is that laughter is a relationship requirement. He taught me to laugh out loud, and if the DJ is playing my song, bless the dancefloor — even if I am the only one on it. I am forever grateful for his presence in my life and lessons learned.
The Scholar: He has always been a true friend. He probably loved me more than all the others; as a matter of fact, I know he did. It seemed like we spent a lifetime together. So many people were rooting for us to win. I stuck around because I too wanted us to win. We tried, but we just couldn’t get it right. At times I believed in him more than he believed in himself and vice versa. I am thankful for our time together; he taught me a lot about myself and what it means to have a partnership. I get it now. I have always admired his brilliance and loving spirit. He’s the only ex I gave a heads up about this post and this is what he said:
You know I support your expression regardless of what it says about me. You’ve always been honest with me about how you feel, and you’ve always been a true friend, so I trust whatever you write will always honor your true self — and that’s all anyone can ask for.
He is a good friend to everyone, especially his exes, and he will make a damn good husband one day! I am thankful for the mutual respect and friendship we have developed.
The Chef: He taught me how to detach and let go. Through my lens, it seemed as though we enjoyed each other’s company; but then life happened and it changed everything. He, too, shut me out, cut me off and disappeared into the night. Being shut out always makes one question the authenticity of the relationship and it disregards the gift of closure. I found myself asking: “Did I imagine it all? Was I daydreaming for 1 ½ years? Was I sleepwalking?” Despite how things ended, I have forgiven him. As always, forgiving myself was the hard part. I thank him for ending things the way he did because it showed me that I needed to love ME a lot more. As I searched within for closure, clarity and understanding, Vinati’s words touched my heart: You don’t learn to unlove them, you learn to love yourself more. As a result of this relationship I am loving myself a lot more, and I wish him and his new girlfriend a life of true transparent love and the family that I could never give him.
Someone recently asked me why would any man walk away from me. I jokingly replied, “I will give you a few names and numbers and let them explain!” As a matter of fact, if there was a process for providing references to relationship prospects, I think 95% of my exes would provide me with stellar letters of recommendation. To those exes who are reading this post, can I give my dates your number!?
There are others who were not mentioned in this post; I am thankful for them, too. I am thankful for all the men who have loved me to the best of their ability and have had a page or chapter in this Lifetime story of mine. I am thankful for the love, the tears, the good times, the heartbreak and most importantly the growth. As I step back into the world of dating, I am reminded that my exes where an important part of my journey and these experiences will ultimately lead me to real, vulnerable, transparent and courageous love. And then, too, like Kameron Corvet, I can sing out loud to my future husband: it was all worth it because it “Led Me To You” …
Photography by: Me