Moving On: Is closure a lie?

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It is important to fight for what we want but it is also important to know what is worth fighting for and know when to move on from the battle field. Moving on is hard, difficult. I know. You ask yourself: have I done enough? Can I do more? Should I do more? Is it leading anywhere? Will it ever lead anywhere? What if I am near breakthrough? What if I am far from it? Will I even survive the journey, if it happens that breakthrough exists but it is too far off that it’s safer to think of it as non-existent?! Too many questions, and no credible answers; it is just you in a dark room, and your shadow staring back at you in silence. I get it, trust me.

And this is true for everything that we have ever waited for to happen; everything we have ever wanted so badly to happen. The job, the promotion, the interview, the congratulatory letter, the assent to our many years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds of sheer effort. But more importantly, it is a numbing phase akin to relationships. You fall out with people you love often, and sometimes you try to salvage the relationship, which is fine. But everything eventually runs its course— some longer than others. And it hurts, but the journey must end where the road finishes.

The danger with not letting go when we should is we waste away fighting for a dead cause, we become increasingly unhappy because no favorable results are forthcoming, we are pre-occupied with the delusion of a happy ending that will never arrive, and lose sight of every other thing that can possibly go right. And it is a terrifying place to be in. Yes, there is honor in fighting for what you believe in, fighting for what you desire; but there is dignity in knowing when to drop old battles and search for new ones to conquer. 

We must learn to love ourselves enough to suck up our prides, accept the sting of not being among the chosen ones and move on to other seeming ways forward. Yes, most times, we will crave closure; we will want a why, a reason that makes sense, that explains away our shame of being unwanted— but what if we don’t find closure? What if there is no why? Just a “it-is-what-it-is”? What if there is really nothing like closure, and “closure” is just a comforting lie our minds tell to justify our fears of moving on?

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Have you ever had to move on from an experience? How did you manage it and how did you know it was time to move on? Did you seek closure before moving on? Please share your thoughts with me.

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© The Short Black Girl, 2018.

 

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Because.

You are bored and idle. You have tried everything on your bucket list but you are not yet un-idle or un-bored. You tap your computer to life, and quickly type in some address in the search engine. It is a blog site. His blog site. You scroll through, with a flurry of contrasting emotions—hesitation, curiosity, and fear. You haven’t visited his blog in about one and a half years, because sometimes you have to burn bridges to create a distance, and you do not know what to expect now. Maybe a diss post, or a backlash, or something to get at you for ending things the way you did—like an anniversary post to his new girlfriend or a picture of his new self plus two, his wife and kid. You shudder.

Surprisingly, there has been no activity since the last time you visited. He hasn’t even been there himself for so long. He has probably been busy making some girls fall to their knees in reverence of his flawless charm. Shina! You see one of his posts you had commented on, back then—during the “good old days” when your heart was still your own. You read through again, and gasp at its ingenuity… then you see his flirtatious reply to your innocent comment, and you smile. He wanted you even then, how did you not see it? There had been nothing fantastic about him—not his silence when he ought to speak up, or his boldness just when circumstances begged that he be quiet, but you had yearned for him, shamelessly. So that although it took too long for him to profess his love, and even when he did, it had been an imperfect FaceBook inbox confession, you had been content with all he had to offer; and you had had a great three months together—before things ended almost as unceremoniously as they began.

You had broken up with Shina so long ago, but it feels just like yesterday. No, he didn’t cheat or dump you or something like that. He got a scholarship to commence his Doctorate degree at a University in London—for three years, and you decided there was a lot at stake. Three years is a long enough time for anything to happen. What if he never comes back? What if he finds someone else? What if you find someone else? What if the voice and video calls aren’t enough? What if Winter gets so cold that he seeks warmth in the arms of another sylph? These thoughts and more rummaged through your mind days after he broke the news to you. He couldn’t stay, yet he didn’t want to leave. It hurt you to leave, but it was difficult to stay.

He promised heaven and earth. He swore he would come back for you. He said you both could make things work if you wanted to. That was a day before he had to leave for London but you were having none of it. You had every cause to worry. He had never cheated, but he had given you cause to think along those lines, and boy—even if he never went searching again for the rest of his life, he will be sought out as bees sought flowers. You decided what you both needed was space—space to be yourselves without guilt or worry. You told him that everything will be fine, that if the Universe wanted you both to be together in the future, it will make it happen. You told him it would be unfair on both of you to put each other’s lives on a pause, because what if you did not end up together in the first place? He said it was worth a try. You said it was too much to bear.

“We can still be friends,” you had eventually suggested with pleading eyes, hoping he would see that you didn’t want to lose him, but you couldn’t stay un-seeing, waiting for the unknown. But maybe you shouldn’t have said those words, because just as soon, he had walked himself out—well, after that final lingering kiss that left your imaginary lips heavy even days after, and you thought that had been his excuse for a final goodbye. And you had been a little happy and a little sad at the same time that things had ended the way they did. But he had called you the night he got to London. And you had talked, like friends. Then, he had called you the night after too, and the night after that. And the one after that one. And he has not stopped calling since then.

You? You pick his calls. Because, just friends, right? Your attitude has changed towards him, somewhat. You have become a little cold and less concerned– or so you like to think; but he is not giving. Sometimes, you don’t pick up. And he calls on and on, and on, until your battery is well drained out or until you pick and talk to him. It is difficult. For you. Because how can you be just friends with someone you want to rip up and apart with loving kisses and a wholesome hug? Because you cant quite forget him, and you don’t have the heart to wait for his return. Because what if he never comes? Because how does a 28-year old girl wait for her 25-year old boyfriend who might not even be ready for marriage until another ten years time?

You shake imaginary tears off your face now, as you rock yourself to Avril Lavigne’s Slipped Away. It is one and a half year gone, since you have been Just friends. Since you have had to suppress your love, and contain your jealousy and green thoughts of how he is probably smooching a gorgeous white girl off her wit in the comfort of his closet. And it isn’t getting any easier for you. And the days aren’t getting any shorter. And your love for him isn’t waning any faster.

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” 

― Paulo Coelho

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© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

Shannon Alder: On Choices.

You chose.
You chose.
You chose.

You chose to give away your love.
You chose to have a broken heart.
You chose to give up.
You chose to hang on.

You chose to react.
You chose to feel insecure.
You chose to feel anger.
You chose to fight back.
You chose to have hope.

You chose to be naïve.
You chose to ignore your intuition.
You chose to ignore advice.
You chose to look the other way.
You chose to not listen.
You chose to be stuck in the past.

You chose your perspective.
You chose to blame.
You chose to be right.
You chose your pride.
You chose your games.
You chose your ego.
You chose your paranoia.
You chose to compete.
You chose your enemies.
You chose your consequences.

You chose.

However, you are not alone. Generations of women in your family have chosen. Women around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time in our lives. We stand behind you now screaming:

Choose to let go.
Choose dignity.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to show the world you’re not a victim.
Choose to make us proud.

– Shannon L. Alder

**

You had just got back from work, tired and exhausted; and there she was looking like a long lost memory, a cold forgotten side dish. So you sat both of you down: yourself and Tara, your niece. Your slim bony stern look mirrored her tear-stained chubby face. She had been like that for a long time: moody and petulant- because of a boy! It was time for real talk. It was time for girl talk. So you began,

“For how long?”

You saw her lips begin to move from the other side but you shunned her quickly. You knew her, you knew she had the magic words. Just one word, and you’d have been flicking right down her path: a very interesting yet damaging path, acqueiscing with her. You continued,

“For how long will you keep being miserable over the past? How long will you let him keep hurting you even in his absence? Even when he has moved on to happier things in the Universe? When will you start being kind to yourself?”

“It is not my fault that he still affects me. I sleep and he is there. I wake up and he is there. In the living memories and the unwritten stories, he is there. In every voice, and on every piece of art, his allure is present. In the eyes of every joyous couple, and the brilliant dilemmic voice of the ones that speak of heartbreak… he is there. And I know you know what I mean, because you loved Derek too. Do you not miss it? Do you not miss him? How can you move on like it never happened? Like he never lived? How can you be so disloyal?!”

It was funny how the tables had turned so quickly, but you were not surprised. You were well aware of the magic of her conniving mind.

“I feel it. I miss it. But that’s that, I have moved on. Moving on does not mean I never loved, it means I fancy saving what can be saved and just that: the future. You have not moved on; not because he affects you, but because you let him affect you. It is a thing of choice, honey. People come and people go; and that’s really what life is about– the comings and goings. But we move on, life moves on. There’ll come many more surprises, and many more loves, and many more joys, and many more heartbreaks… and you don’t want to find out in the near future, that having grown the courage to spare your heart for love again, you do not have any more tears to spare for the impending heartbreak. It will be a shame! You will be mad at yourself. I will be mad at you. We will be mad at us.”

“Must we? Must we break? If we must, I don’t want to love again.”

“Darling, to love is to hurt and be hurt.”

“To hurt is to tear, and break, and bleed and die. I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to be hurt.”

“No. No honey, to hurt is to learn what worked and what didn’t. To hurt is to be stronger. Plus, we can’t always choose who we hurt; because we only have the power to hurt those that have had enough courage to invest some emotion in us. That is not your war to fight or win. It is nobody’s fight.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Be kind to yourself, for a start. Be kind to us.”

“How?”

“Move on. Be happy. You’re happy, I am happy.”

“But you’re happy.” she retorts, little blue eyes melting into something like the grace of a shiny star.

“But I can be happier…” you cajole her.

“What do I do?”

“Think about what you are thinking about every time and only think those thoughts that make you smile.”

“Even if they are thoughts of him?” she asks; hope lacing her every word.

You hesitate because you are scared for her, and you want her to heal very fast and be herself again. But there’s no shortcut to matters of the heart. Is there? “If it makes you smile, it makes me smile too.”

She smiled then, and you almost did not recognise her. And then you hugged it out for a few seconds, after which you both retired to bed. She, with a killer smile: you, with eyes housing tears waiting to be shed. You lied. You had not moved on. You had not quite got over him. You still cried every night even years after Derek left. Because like a child, you still wished he would barge in the way he barged out. You remembered your conversation with Tara and you felt wrong. You had just advised someone to do, in one night, what you took five years to do: move on. And in fact, the nights bear testament that you are still not moving on… but hey, it is a choice, your choice. No?

**

A conversation with my dear friend Kingsley sort of inspired this post. He had once told me: “get a paper and write these words down, and place the paper in the most conspicuous place”. The words, which he said– the same ones I wrote down and used in this post are: “always think about what you are thinking about. If it’s a good thing, continue; if it is not, pause and reset your thoughts.”

Thank you for those words, Kingsley. 🙂 ❤

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© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

Broken Bird.

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My voice is thin, weak
‘m afraid, today I can’t sing
I limp in the glory
Of yesterday’s fall
And gather my battered wings
around this frailty that’s left of me.

I know
It’s a long road still,
Amidst daunting corridors,
and dark shadowed walls
With blazing windows
Conspiring to keep out the morning sun-

But I will not give in
Because I can’t
There’s a pain within me
That only strain can heal
So i’ll limp on if I must
But there’s no time to mourn
Broken wings don’t make broken birds
I can learn to fly again.

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

PING 6: Moving on.

Walking on water

Read, and tell a friend.

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Sometimes, the only way to move on is to move backwards- revisit the past, and awaken the sleeping dogs if we must. Sweeping things under the carpet, with hopes to move on whole doesn’t always work. If those little fragments we shed from ourselves while enduring the tough times are not properly gathered and re-fixed, there’s very little hope for redemption.”

Inspired by Ife’s Sinemile ordeal- https://ifekleva.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/the-sinemile-ordeal-xi/ .

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© The Short Black Girl, 2015.