I get it.
I finally get why people become angry and spiteful when they were seemingly joyful and light. As much as I am trying to resist what feels like the inevitable, it is a losing battle that I’m not sure I care to win anymore.
I am a giver. Not at the expense of my personal finances or health – I’m not a saint. But when I see people who are in need, I do what I can to help them. And 2018 demonstrated that my generosity, my willingness to extend myself, needs to be curbed, at a minimum.
Someone with whom I’d had a checkered friendship with took advantage of me. Even after forgiving her for several instances of abandoning me during the only times I ever needed anything, I continued to extend myself. And so, when she desperately needed help and had literally no one, not even her own family to turn to, I offered to let her live with me for an extremely modest fee. And when I asked for the money a month later, she refused, stating that because she never asked for help, and I offered, she didn’t owe me anything.
I’ve had to deal with the knowledge that someone who I invited into my space and my life would do something so callous, so selfish, that it’s hard to believe I was ever considered a friend in the first place.
This breakdown came on the heels of what I can only call the most emotionally draining and intense relationship I’ve been in. By my ex’s own admission, I poured everything into a relationship while ignoring my own major issues. He’s acknowledged multiple times that I am responsible for his newfound healing and reignited passion and focus.
Good for him. But where does that leave me?
The amount of times I’ve laid myself on the line for others only to be stabbed in the back or disregarded is embarrassing for someone who considers herself a self-care queen. Self-care isn’t painful. Self-care doesn’t leave you empty and barely willing to entertain men because you feel like the best parts of you are with someone who didn’t deserve it. Self-care doesn’t ignore a chaotic person’s habits and invites them in your home, anyway. Self-care is an act of rebellion. As black women, we need more than manicures and facials. We need to protect our peace by any means necessary. Aggressively.
As someone with depression, disappointing events, betrayals, and the like can have devastating consequences. I take ownership of my mental health and do what I can to ensure that I’m always in alignment with what’s best for me. For a long time, helping those close to me was an integral part of my healing. Not so much, these days.
As much as my family and friends associate me with my heart and my love for helping others, I have to hold what little bit of light I have left closely.
I just don’t have any more to spare.