What I learned when I learned to leave..

25 Apr

They say that depending on the relationship you have with your father, you either date someone just like him or the exact opposite of him. But what about when you never knew your father? What kind of guys do you date then? What kind of guys do you date when you don’t have a marker of what a real man really is? Hell, what kind of man do you date when you don’t have a marker for what a real man really isn’t?

Outside of the two months my father was around during my sophomore year in boarding school (of course he was around when I wasn’t; personally because I think he was trying to tap moms but I digress) I only have two memories of my father. My first memory is when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My father came to my house and my mother let him take me to McDonalds. I remember being nervous because I didn’t know if this man was going to bring me back to my mother. Nevertheless, I went along willingly because I was so intrigued. I wanted to know what a daddy looked like.

Would he be funny, smart, nice or mean? Would he be tall or short? Would he buy me a happy meal? LOL. I can say that the moment was totally anticlimactic. Looking back he was probably as nervous about being alone with me, his child that he didn’t know, as I was being alone with him. Though I shared his face, his eyes, his lips and his smile we were strangers to each other. He brought me back home with a promise to see me again soon.

Soon just so happened to be 5 or 6 years later.

I remember my mom telling me my father wanted to see me. As a single parent I doubt that was the truth. My mother probably tracked him down and called HIM to tell him that I was missing a father in my life and that I needed him. I can imagine him agreeing to the meeting to assuage his own guilty conscious. I agreed to meet him in the local Wendy’s with the understanding that my best friend would come along. I needed a buffer between the two of us. I was young and rebellious and angry and pretty pissed off at him for abandoning me. I only agreed to see him so he could see how great a child I turned out to be despite his lack of involvement, at which point I would deny him the opportunity to be in my life.

The only thing I remember about that meeting was that we both liked ketchup and a lot of pepper on everything. I left that day teetering between wanting to show him that I didn’t need him and wanting to tell him that I did. In the end, I didn’t have to make that decision. He left again and never came back.

As I begin to date and to fall in love and out of love (repeatedly) my only marker for the kind of man that I wanted was that I knew I wanted one that didn’t leave. I wanted a man that knew how to stay and fight. That would ride or die with me no matter what. I wanted a man that took the good with the bad. And I adopted this same principal. And unfortunately for me, my execution was flawless.

My first real relationship was at 17 with the neighborhood thug. I remember finding out months into our dating that he wasn’t 19 like he told me but 25 years old. I remember times I’d lie in bed, paralyzed with fear because he drank entirely too much and even my young mind comprehended what too much was. In my world drunk meant jealous and jealousy meant trouble and trouble meant a bad night for Kimmah.

I remember leaving the park one night and having the back windows shot out over his screaming voice telling me to stay down. I remember the broken glass removed from my hair and the relief that the blood wasn’t from a bullet wound.

I remember drunken yelling matches where no words escaped my mouth as rowdy friends played spades and dominos from the room next door, either oblivious or unconcerned with the scene that was unraveling behind the closed door.

There is the story of another ex boyfriend that told me that he wasn’t sexually attracted to me because my thighs touched. And yes, this was when my size dropped down to a zero (unbeknownst to me). I stayed two years before I realized that I was being subjected to an emotionally abusive man. There are more stories but I don’t have nearly enough time to discuss them in detail.

People may ask me why I stayed. Well, the only honest answer I have is that I didn’t know how to leave. I had convinced myself that when you love someone you stay. When a child equates leaving to sadness it’s easy for the adult to equate happiness with staying. Even though at the time I didn’t consciously realize that’s what I was doing.

I eventually learned how to leave. I learned that real love doesn’t hurt all the time and that sometimes leaving makes you happier than staying. It was then that I began to explore what a real man is and what it felt like to be in the company of such a man. It was then I began to understand that no man was indeed better than a bad man. I’m happy that I learned that lesson sooner than later. Sure I wasted sometime but I can finally say I have a marker for what a man is.

All the frogs I kissed along the way did serve their purpose. They showed me what I didn’t want, so that I could begin to explore what I did. And through those experiences I learned how to recognize my prince amongst a pond of frogs.

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One Response to “What I learned when I learned to leave..”

  1. Andre April 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    First of all, brilliant writing as always… You paint pictures with words and I like that because it’s so real!

    Now… as far as what you wrote, it’s funny that this seems to be the season of relationship evaluations and realizations…

    For you I can honestly say that if I just met you today, I would have never known you to have experiences all that you have because the way you present yourself and the energy that comes with it doesn’t have space for all of that… Not saying that it can’t happen to you… just that it would seem unlikely… like an alter ego or split personality experienced all of that and you were free from that…

    All I know is now that you HAVE went through the trials you should be strong, very strong and really determined not to go through anything remotely close to that… Which means that you may have to reevaluate your “list” to see what is really going in regards of who you are dealing with and why…

    It’s good to question your realtionship right up until you get married because by then you should have hopefully figured it out… as well should have… or at least NEED to…
    We deserve it to ourselves and for the other person as well…

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