All need is for you to be good.
Focus on me
As if god were
Flesh and full-bodied
In front of you.
I will show
You in thought
Your god is a woman.
All need is for you to be good.
Focus on me
As if god were
Flesh and full-bodied
In front of you.
I will show
You in thought
Your god is a woman.
I want nights
That are quiet,
Loud as thunder,
I want storms in
Oceans of sheets
And limbs pulling
Me further from
What I know into
All I want.
I want the quiet parts
Said out loud
And kisses made only
And all my inner light
Being bother magic
And woman lit
I want the now
and the present presence
Of what it means to be
Lost and still be found.
From sky above
And Earth beneath
I want to dream
Of setting future
He asked me to
Unaware I am
More than what
he ever thought
It still matters
That the messages
Come in before
The morning sun.
Being the thought of
In the morning,
Thoughts of my
Kept by you
In that thought
Holds the everything
–Jennifer Bush-Harris, March 2021
One year ago this week, I was married. I was a mom. I was a healthcare worker in-between jobs, and I was a recent college graduate! I had planned on leaving healthcare and transitioning into education. I planned on pursuing my Masters in English (a possible MFA), and was even recommended by one of my mentors, Dr. Kimberly Welch, to pursue the Doctoral program.
I mean, Dr. Jennifer Harris, sounds formidable, doesn’t it?
And then COVID-19 abducted that future. The fight that would end my marriage completely was brewing, I felt it. There was no where to go, I hated being home, and ‘sheltering in place’ with someone that you have no desire to be with is a different type of Hell. While sheltering in place, I had to confirm my plan to leave the husband who claimed to love me, but had hurt me so badly that I would have rather slept outside than in his bed! I learned just what activities he was up to! All while trying to keep peace for the sake of my children.
What kicked it off? Me doing exactly what I’m doing right now: writing. I was at my computer, and he asked me why I wasn’t talking to him. I told him I wasn’t bothering him, and I was minding my business. Why did I say that? And off it went. We argued. We screamed. And he asked me if I even wanted to be his wife anymore.
I, leaning against the wall, completely bereft said, “No.”
And the month of April was an exercise patience, being stealth, and having to do what you have to do with the world burning around you! I found a new job. I started a new job, full-time, with benefits. I found an apartment, looked at it and my mother got my deposit for it. I lied to the man that is now my ex constantly so he would leave me alone.
I still cooked. I still was gracious! I washed clothes and mopped floors. I still was a mom. I answered questions of children, I muddled my way through the beginnings of this quagmire of virtual learning. I mean, I even remember making Easter dinner last year, and all his favorites. Kill ’em with kindness, right? WWJD, right?
And Saturday, April 25, 2020? He packed his things, and the last thing he asked me, “Can I have my keys?” And I haven’t seen him since. And I am relieved! Relieved! I was able to breathe for the first time in two years! In that relief, I had to mourn what was.
There would be no more 2-parent household. There would be no more grad school, no TA-ing for my mentor. My plans for my MFA were permanently on hold. I couldn’t leave healthcare–I needed the money to sustain myself and kids! I was back to being a single parent, after almost 7 years. I was no longer going to be a married woman. I had to do the dirty work of putting my life back together…while falling apart. Whatever ancestral faith imparted to me, and I forged, I tapped into. I tapped into. The days immediately following his leaving, I barely remember! I had a house to pack. I had to get to work! I had to get back from work!
After being employed for a month, I even remember the day–May 15, 2020–I called off work. A huge issue in health care anyway! I literally felt my body and mind say, “I cannot go on. I cannot do anymore! Whatever you are demanding me to do, I cannot do!” I called my best friend, Tawanna, and told her what happened. She told me to take care of myself–and I did. I remember calling the Nursing Office, and robotically telling them–with proper 2-hour notice!–that I could not make it in. “I have an emergency with my children.” That was all I could muster. I thanked the woman that answered the phone, and I resumed laying down in the dark room with half of my possessions packed up in various rooms. I remember I laid in bed, tears breaking free from the prison of my own strength. I cried. Not loud, but I cried. I have been tired. I have even been exhausted! I have never been the level of tired where my entire being rebelled and shut down.
My children were with my mother and sister, so I could get back and forth to work (this was a lot of ride-sharing, and paying people gas money). A lot of groceries being delivered, and dealing with coming home to my lights being off (because he turned them off! They were in his name!), and him telling the landlord that we (myself and children) were gone! Imagine their surprise when I appeared out of the house after hearing noise in the backyard!
I had to pack a house, raise kids, and move my entire life to get back to where I had to get to. I decided that me was more important than the we! I had to mourn what was dead, and even what I helped to kill! With all that swirled around me, I didn’t die. I didn’t succumb! I didn’t quit! God truly kept me–He truly did!
From those early days of confusion, trying to get masks, and washing clothes every time I went outside–to being an a 2-bedroom apartment that catches the morning and evening light, where I see trees every morning. A pandemic didn’t kill me. A bad relationship couldn’t stop me. An abusive ex couldn’t, didn’t silence me. What this pandemic has taught me is I am stronger that what I thought, and had to become more resourceful that I ever thought.
Now, in this new ‘normal’, I pay my own rent. I am still employed, being an great mom–who keeps masks in her car. I am 2 months away from 40, and looking to buy a house. Is this a happily ever after? No. This is the next chapter being written. For that, I am grateful.
These are my first and final thoughts on this Jaxn Dilemma. Follow your girl on TikTok (@whatjayesaid).
I stumbled on Derrick Jaxn in the rabbit hole that is YouTube. I like how personable he was, and the fact that I thought he was handsome surely helped. I liked his approach to relationships, his advice made sense, and I even used it from time to time! I mean, I was solidly, #TeamJaxn. I followed him on social media (Twitter, YouTube) and even used his advice from time to time! I mean, I even shared his advice to some people (i.e. women) I knew!
Then, I started looking a little closer.
There was a live that I saw with him on it (it might have been on YouTube), at least two to three years ago, and he mentioned a baby. A new baby. When I heard that, I turned the live off. I had this question: “If you have all this wit, wisdom and knowledge, how do you have a Baby Mama and not a wife, sir?!” It was from there, that I quit listening to him. I want all of us as Black folk to win, and I left all that where it is.
And from there? Life is on fire this week! On fire! Completely!
Turns out Mr. Jaxn has been cheating on this woman, his wife, who is the mother of his daughter–the Baby Mama!–for a minute! Like?! What part of the game is this? According to the Facebook Live event they did as a couple earlier this week (which his wife, Da’Naia, said was her idea!) left me staring! And I mean, staring!
With the interest of full transparency, I have been the woman that has been cheated on. I have also been the wife that cheated. I own both of those identities! I can tell you that there is no greater pain than realizing the person you are building your life with has cheated on you–emotionally or physically. Also, there is nothing like believing the person that you re building your life with cannot be what you need–neither can they meet (or see) those needs you have expressed!
It hurts either way.
Yet, the thing that I find more glaring comes from this deep sense of a boundary being violated! According to his wife, DaNaia, said she had dealt with this a year before! A year! She went on to say that she left him–took the baby and bounced! Da’Naia said she told her husband, Social Media Sociologist and Relationship Guru, Derrick Jaxn that she wouldn’t come back to him until he decided what it was he wanted! Now, I can commend this! No one needs to be in any situation where they are hurt, exploited or abused. No one! Derrick and Da’Naia have said they have worked through these issues of cheating–which only came to light after one of the women that Derrick was involved with came forward. Why she chose to do this? Who can say.
But there was something in me that was so angry watching this Facebook Live event. Da’Naia is a woman that has leaned on her faith to get through this–and I commend her. I have done the same thing in times of extreme distress! But, as a woman that has been through more than a few mishaps, and situationships–I know hurt when I see it! With her dealing with this situation with her husband, the father of her child before, I cannot imagine what it took for her to sit on camera to be aired out again!
It could not be me! I cannot be me! I would have put out a statement and have that be it. With all the money and clout that her husband has, you couldn’t find someone to write a statement and just keep it moving? It is so hard for me to believe that she volunteered to do this Live, or that it was her idea! Especially, after this was posted on her own Instagram:
I’ll spare you the rest of the sorted details (and I apologize for the quality screenshot), but this here? This is what made me think that there is more here than either of them are saying! In this post, Da’Naia, says that she studied the flicks that Derrick made of these women on his phone! She studied the women’s bodies, down to the ‘secretions’! I’m sorry, what?! Sis–no! This is not God’s best for you! No! Even to find out that they have been on and off for twelve years before they got married?! Sis! What is this about!
Luvvie Ajayi Jones said that this is the problem with the church–it weaponizes the gospel! This is horrendous! As a woman of faith, I am appalled, confused and sad. The same gospel that freed me and strengthened me–looks to be the same gospel being used to imprison her! Women are always expected to stay by husbands whom have done horrible things! Yet, you don’t see many men that do the same for their wives as publicly! I understand that love covers a multitude of sins–I get that, and am grateful for it. However, when is enough enough? When do we make the differentiation between gospel and gaslighting?
Derrick cheated on his wife, Da’Naia.
Da’Naia forgave her husband, Derrick, that cheated on her.
Who are we to judge that? What I will say is, people will only do what they are allowed to do. I cannot imagine what it is to be aired out twice like this! In front of the world! Again! Derrick and Da’Naia also have books they are selling–about relationships as well. How convenient? I cannot imagine what she is going through, because this does not seem to be over soon. Even now there are still women coming forward–with screenshots! Chile…how long Da’Naia? How long? God has more for you than to be this embarrassed…on a regular basis.
If they can really come back from infidelity (not everyone can!), I wish them God’s best. If they cannot, if it becomes too much, then she knows what she needs to do next. God indeed be her strength.
Is love a myth? No.
In the space that I am in now, I know two things.
First, Sex is not medicine.
Second, I value intimacy over sex.
Love like I want, and like I have read about, it is something that is special. It is rare. So incredibly rare. I realize that I am precious and valuable, and have no need to reveal that specialness to anyone else. Not right now, anyway. Love is not a myth, it is a power source. You an build with it, take it with you, and it is deep enough to last longer than social media. That is what I want, and what I am looking for. I am looking for something that I am aware that few people will find, or know how to hang on to.
Love is often said, and not shown enough. At this point in my life, I understand that what loving someone means, versus being in love with someone means. If I tell you “I love you” that means that I support you, care for you, and want the best for you whether it benefits me or not. From those three components, I am promising that I will do all in my power to care for you, and being your soft place in the world. Love is a door, window and a mirror. Never a wall. Love, real love, will always make windows and walls–that is it’s nature!
Love is not a myth. It is always waiting. And right now, I’m waiting on it. For the first time, I’m waiting on it to find me–rather than running after it.
Good thing come to those who wait, right? I’m about to find out. What do I have to lose? I refuse to lose myself again.
Thank you to Karen Banks and Tiffany Blue that help me to unpack both broken heart and tired mind.
What I am learning now, at this portion of my life is that peace is invaluable. Peace is what it is needed beyond anything else. For the first time in a decade, I belong to myself for the first time. Complete. Whole. Knowing. My mother told me a while ago that I would ‘settle into myself’ when I was 25. I didn’t really know what that meant, and didn’t have sense enough to understand. This is why the old folk say, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
Single. Unmarried. Seeking no prospects. Settling into myself.
What I have learned is that to be myself, the woman that I want to become, I have to be able to fight for her. That means, I have to do the hard work of healing up. Let me assure you, dear reader, that it is work. Confronting what it is I want, want to do, and how painful it might be able to do both. I am seeing a therapist to help me unpack my head, rescuing me from the thoughts of feeling less than regal which always threaten when you are engaged in the tender work of healing. Oh, and it is work!
I am learning to define myself outside of being someone’s wife, girlfriend, or even someone’s mother! The scary thing? I’m not scared to be alone anymore, when I thought I was before. I no longer have the draw and ache that allowed me to stay in place which were torturous or empty. I enjoy the word, “No.” I enjoy how it tastes, the sound of my own voice or silence. I enjoy saying what I need and while walking away from what I do not want.
I do not want my time wasted.
I refuse to dim my light and take off my crown for people that no the value of either.
I am not simply DTF.
I am not going to settle for what I deserve.
I am okay with my Saturdays being quiet, with a good book or a nap–or binging YOU on Netflix.
I am in love with my own features again, not needing that confirmation of another’s gaze. I wear makeup because I always have, but now, it feels like adornment rather than war paint. But, somedays it is both! The red lipstick looks good on a Black girl that knows what color is and what it means to wear it. I am learning to be happy.
But, I am also okay with being sad.
I realize that my pain is real, tangible and should be acknowledged. I realize to just bulldoze past my pain is almost worst than ignoring it. My tears are a release valve, not a weight. I have given myself the gift few are afforded–myself. Love is not just the passion for another, but for yourself. I have given me back to me. I am learning now, at 39, that I am a whole treasure–meal and snack. I am more than what has happened to me, and I have the right to hold on to all of myself. I have the right to make myself all over again, and for myself. How fitting? The writer, at the source of her own plot, gets to re-work it….as she sees fit.
The Lord truly works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
I found out that Facebook has a DATING section. Oh, the things you miss while trying to heal up! When some of my co-workers found out I was single again, I cannot tell you many people told me to try Bumble, OkCupid or Tinder! The thought of being visible again, and men looking at me, freaked me out. And if I’m honest? I had a moment when I thought, “What if my ex-husband sees this?” I mean, I really don’t want any part of my life exposed to any part of him ever again. I’m not sure if that makes me wise, bitter or paranoid.
I understand that I am supposed to have a life after him, and that is fine. The thing is, or the dark irony is, I haven’t posted any thing about my relationship in almost a year, and no one either noticed or cared to notice. My social media has been wiped clean of his presence, and no one noticed! It feels as if there was a silent bet that someone won, and they are gracious enough not to collect in front of me. But, this is what happens when your relationship is failing like cheap glass in a hurricane. Everyone can see it, they just hope the storm passes without killing everyone in the process. The end of this feels like a hugger-mugger funeral: quick, clean, quiet. Perhaps that is the best way.
Wounds heal better when everything is done cleanly, cleaned out, and you have time to recoup. Time is always the factor. Right now, I’m giving myself time. Then, I can be pretty, primped and perfect for someone to swipe left or right on me.
I have been married twice. I have always been in a relationship. So, to be in this position after being with someone almost 7 years, it is strange to be by myself for the first time in almost a decade. But, it’s strange how quickly I have fallen back into just doing me.
Like truly doing me.
I am in a place and at an age that I have become intolerant of my time being wasted, I am not randomly smashing, and have my own money. I can lay out in my bed, and not touch anything but pillows and peace! There is a peace that comes with this level of singleness, with being single this time, it feels different. I am not sure if this is because of me about to turn 40 (I am still in real disbelief about this!), but this bout of singleness feels different. Dare I say it, this feels natural. It feels appropriate to be single right now. I mean, I am in awe of that right now. I am in awe of how settled I am–I don’t take that lightly though. I am at the age now where I would rather be alone than wishing that I was!
I am learning to be okay to be by myself. I am learning myself again, what I like and even who I want to spend time with. I am becoming more me than I think I ever was before. I am…happy. I have peace when I wake up now, and when I lay down. When I have to make a decision, I can do it without thinking about how it will sound to anyone else–or needing their approval!
I am a single girl who has never had a problem getting a date, or laid, whom has called herself an Eternal Juliet; whom in a former life had the nickname, Amoranda (which means worthy of being loved), is single for the first time in over a decade collectively.
And I am now in love, with myself. As it should be.