Private Line- Toya
For those new to our blog, I always title my post after songs. This post's title comes from a Gerald Levert song (who I miss dearly) called "Private Line".
A good friend of mine and I went to go see Just Wright this weekend. It was her first time and my second (I mean, it's Common...for two hours. If I didn't have a day job I would've been to two matinees already). I looked over to her a few times during the movie only to see her wince and cover her face during the parts that, very much like me, resembled her own love life. As we started to leave she asked me a really good question. "You know, I'm 30. I like my own personality. I wouldn't change it. However, what can you do to avoid always ending up in situations like that?" To further paraphrase, she was asking how can you be that awesome friend without getting your heart hurt and involved? "You don't make yourself as accessible to needy men." I said. We both agreed that was not only key but how we have messed up in the past.
Case in point, I called Tia a few months back and made the declaration that I no longer "fool" with men in transition be it out of a job, relationship, marriage, etc. For the first time I was able to avoid a situation that had all the red flags of codependency. I ran into a buddy who really is a cool guy. After not seeing him for months, I found out that he was in the middle of a transition to where there was a lot of hurt involved. As we sat there and talked for hours. I listened as he poured his heart out and talked about his hurt and his fears. I encouraged him to look at the blessing in it all and to realize that what he was headed towards was so much better than what he left behind. And like clockwork, a few days later I got this text:
" You are amazing. I really enjoyed our time together. What you said was so dead on. You're like Oprah! I'd really like to hang out with you again. Let's hang out again sometime, ok?" I replied that it was nice catching up with him and left it at that. By no means did I indicate a set time of us having another counseling session disguised as us "hanging out" again. You may think I am being a little too guarded and maybe a bit selfish but I could've set my watch by that meeting. I knew that response was coming.The truth is I have been here before. This is not about his weaknesses. It's about mine.
We all have weaknesses and we should be honest with ourselves about what those are. I have a Florence Nightingale weakness. I love to nurse men back to health which in most cases has turned out to be not so healthy for me. Now that I take full responsibility, I am more careful about who has access to my time and my life, both male and female. Hence the following lyrics to "Private Line"
I can't give you my private line,
'Cause you be calling me all the time
A year ago would have been fine
Now I gotta give you my service line
You can call me anytime
I have to separate my service line (which for some of us may be our ministry lines, community service lines, what have you) from my private line. My private line goes straight to my heart. Why would I want just anyone to have access to that?
There was a line in Just Wright where Common's character is trying to convince Queen Latifah how special she is to him as a friend after they have spent some really up close and personal time together. She woman's up and says "that's not enough for me" and walks out. My mom has always said that my brother and I love to pick up strays. We love a good sob story. But what happens too often with women is that boundaries get crossed (much like in the movie). We are natural nurturers and encouragers and most of us so desire to have that one person to whom we can be that personal cheerleader for forever. We desire that. And because we do we fall into these co-dependent relationships where our desires to be that kind of partner in a committed relationship wind up getting fondled instead of fulfilled. No wonder some of us struggle with feelings of being used and taken advantage of. Like Eric Katz said, it's not about who you attract but who you accept. It's about who you allow to have access to your life. Nowadays, you would be hardpressed to find anyone who is not going through some sort of transition. That's normal. What I am talking about are needy men who just want to be around you so they can talk about themselves. I would have no problem talking with this guy every now and again but I am wise enough to know that his present state of vulnerability and emotional unavailability are kissing cousins. He would act like he needs me and act like he wants me but at the end of the day, I'd just be the "special" chick he only wants to kick it with. Most guys don't want to date their psychiatrist.
Bottom line: You can't be afraid to know your own heart and know how it works. What may be easy for others may not be as easy for you and that's ok. To borrow yet again from the Book of John (Mayer), you sometimes gotta keep on moving to protect your situation. After all, it is YOUR situation and who knows you better than yourself?