Wednesday, June 6, 2018

If You're Happy And You Know It

I remember exactly where I was standing when I realized I didn’t want to live anymore. It was January of 2017 and I was working an event for Facebook, at an upscale hotel in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. Festival attendees came to the event to preview short films on Oculus headsets and it was my job to walk them through the experience. I was in the middle of giving a demonstration to Tristan Wilds (Also known as Mack Wilds). He smelled like things I can't afford to buy and had teeth as white as pieces of Orbitz gum. 

Tristan "Mack" Wilds
To be more accurate, I didn’t exactly want to die; I just didn’t want to feel pain any longer. I lost track of time while Tristan was watching his short film, thinking about what it would be like to no longer be apart of this world. I was tired of feeling heartbroken, worthless, and like a burden to people close to me because of my immense sadness.

You okay?” he asked in a surprisingly deep voice.

The film had ended and Tristan had taken off his headset without me realizing it.

“Oh yea I’m fine. Sorry, just spaced out for a second.”

You must have done a lot of these today.” He looked genuinely concerned. “Get a drink after work, go to one of the parties. Have some fun!”

Thanks,” I smiled as best I could.

It had been a while, but I was still sad over my break up with JC. I had also just found out that the guy I had been talking to for the past few months was married. Earlier that week a frenemy of mine told me some news about my ex that I had dated for 8 years. I didn’t think hearing about him would have effected me the way it did, but alas…

I excused myself from the event for a few minutes and retreated to the bathroom. I closed the stall door before sliding down the tiled wall, onto the floor in tears. I sat there crying for about 5 minutes. Then I washed my face, took a selfie and posted it to Instagram before going back out to finish my shift.I tried to act normal, but honestly I never thought I would feel okay again. I didn’t even remember what it felt like to be okay.

My post crying bathroom selfie

Something I’ve learned in the last few years, is that healing is not linear. You’ll be doing great one day, and another day you’ll see something that reminds you of your pain and it will knock the wind out of you. Almost like getting hit by a huge wave and being thrown off your surfboard. I’ve never been surfing because things that can eat me live in the ocean, but I assume that’s what happens when a big wave takes you out.

There were times when my grief literally made me crumple to the floor in pain or caused me to silently shake in tears on the couch. I actually remember not being able to get off the couch, I hadn’t taken a shower in days and I didn’t dare leave the house. My parents were really worried. My Stepdad cautiously asked me if my ex had ever hit me. My Mom offered to take me shopping and cook my favorite foods. They didn’t know what to do, and it hurt me even more to watch them, see me hurting.

But like a subsiding storm in the middle of the ocean, the waves of those painful times will become fewer and farther in between. The things that hurt me months ago, cause me to pause for mere seconds now. Eventually, the waves will become small ripples and I won’t think of them at all.

For me 2015 was like the eye of the storm. I didn’t realize how bad everything was in my life because I was in the middle of the chaos. 2016 is when all hell broke loose, and then I spent most of 2017 trying to reevaluate and rebuild my life. 2018 has been a great experience thus far.

An entire year had passed since I sat crying on the bathroom floor of a luxury hotel while celebrities drank expensive cocktails and watched films two floors above me. I went skiing for the first time and realized that I had fallen in love. Not with skiing, that was horrifically terrifying, but with life again (and maybe a guy too, but that’s a story for another day).

In February I got to work at the Eagle’s Superbowl after party. My job was not glamorous. I wasn’t a journalist, photographer, or fluffer, but instead I bussed tables. The party was self serve on fancy paper plates and all the drinks at the bar were free, so honestly I didn’t have to do much. A lot of the players and other guests didn’t feel like trekking over to the bar, so they’d ask me to do it for them, and give me huge tips.

Older gentleman with an Eagle's Jersey on: "Could you bring us 4 beers?”

Me: “Of course.” Runs to get 4 beers and brings them back. Guy hands me a $100 bill.

Me: You know these drinks are free right?”

Because I don't care about sports like that I didn't know the identity of the older gentleman. Later on my coworker told me he was a co-owner of the team.

Older man in Eagle's Jersey: “Yeah, they're free, but it’s a celebration, Enjoy the money!”

*Stuffs money in bra and walks away*

The party was set up like a football field. The endzones had tables and plush white couches. One side line had food, desserts and a candy station while the other side line was an open bar. In the middle, where the 50 yard line would be, was a dance floor and a stage. I got to watch Diplo DJ a set and Cardi B perform merely 3 feet in front of me.

I felt like I was back in college, but with men who had money, muscles and fashion sense. I watched an insanely giddy Zach Ertz passionately make out with his wife. They looked so happy together that you couldn't help but be happy for them. I danced with Malcolm Jenkins who had the dopest jewelry of anyone in the room. He wore an impeccably tailored maroon colored suit, with black patent leather loafers and I'm fairly certain that his cuff links alone probably cost more than my car. I participated in a soul train line with Bryan Braman and his friends. Everyone was in a good mood. 

Malcolm Jenkins 
It was crowded so I accidentally kept bumping into this really tall guy with big ole sexy arms. At one point he playfully grabbed me by the shoulders and said,

Hey this is the 3rd time you’ve bumped into me.”

Sorry, its crowded in here. And you have a big butt,” I added as an after thought.

He laughed and then turned around and poked his butt out. "Yea I guess it’s my fault then. I do a lot of squats."

This is the type of man I deserve to procreate with I thought to myself.  An athletic, juicy booty, Superbowl champion.

We kinda flirted throughout the night. He was super sweet and gentlemanly too but he never asked for my number. Before he left for the night with his friend Bryan, he made sure he had my attention and then smiled and waved goodbye to me.

Bryan Braman
If Cinderella had taken place in 2018, a time when more women are learning to shoot their shot, then this is what would have happened next:

I looked for that man everywhere on the internets y'all. I looked through the entire Eagles Roster of players but the photos weren't that great. I eventually found him on Instagram, BECAUSE OF THE SHOES HE HAD ON in one of his Instagram posts.They were the same ones he wore at the party. I’m not trying to put his business out in these streets, but if you’re interested in who he is, he ended up proposing to his long-term girlfriend the day after the Super Bowl. So that would explain why he didn’t ask for my number. Don’t cry for me guys. Its okay, because now I realize that guys are a dime a dozen. Even though they're not all NFL players, It’s literally raining men’s out here in these streets

At the end of the party, the servers were gifted with a ton of free Eagles Superbowl memorabilia. I got coozies, keychains, Eagles t-shirts, a 10lb bag of Eagles colored M&M’s with the Philadelphia Eagles logo on them, shot glasses and more.

It was a fun night that I’ll always remember, especially because one of the most attractive men I had ever talked to flirted with me, but I had no use for this stuff. I decided to keep a few things for myself and send the rest to my ex because the Eagles is his favorite team. I thought about not sending it at first, because it had been 2 years since I broke up with him and I didn’t want him to think I wanted to rekindle anything between us. My best friend said I should include a short note so he didn’t get the wrong idea. We settled on...

Hey I worked at the Superbowl and they gave me this free stuff. I knew you’d like it. Take Care

Meanwhile, I’m living my best life: Going on girl trips to Montreal, discovering my soul mate and being rescued by ski patrol off the side of mountain ranges. One night I’m at a bar in Brooklyn with an old friend/co-worker. We're sipping gluten free beverages and he and his wife tell me about a yoga retreat to Belize. I’m in the middle of telling them about my epic trip to New Zealand where I hitch-hiked with a perfect stranger, whose native tongue was not English. I excuse myself to the bathroom, hard cider runs right through me, and notice a text from a number I’ve never seen before.

It was the ex’s current girlfriend

I use the word text lightly, as what she sent me was more like the rough draft of her Memoir, entitled A Road map of my Insecurities and Other Short Stories.

First I’d like to say that I realize that there are ladies that would be annoyed if their boyfriend’s ex, sent them something in the mail and perhaps I should have asked if it were okay to send him the limited edition Superbowl Memorabilia of a team that probably won't win again for 50 years. I could understand if this ex was constantly being disrespectful to your relationship or wanted to get back with your boyfriend. If this is not the case, I think you should discuss this issue with your boyfriend. If it bothers you that someone (who doesn't want him/he doesn't want eithersent him something, you should also really ask yourself why.

Because I’m not going to be messy and include screen shots, her message basically said "don’t text, call, email, initiate contact through social media, send gifts or presents to my boyfriend because we love each other and are going to be together forever". I'm sure it said a lot of other things but I only got through the prologue. If she is out there reading this, I’m coming to her as a woman, and I want her to sincerely know that I didn’t read the entire message. I did however, cycle through a few reactions.

Okay she is crazy...

As I sat on the toilet I thought to myself, “Well this is the least thankful, 'Thank You' note I’ve ever received.”

Lemme tell ya’ll the difference 10 years can make. 2008 TK would have been petty and defensive as fuck let this girl have it.

Ten year's ago I was in my early 20's so I was still a bit wild. My friends at the time literally called themselves Gangsta Ass Bitches and homegirl would have caught a backhand like Serena Williams (ironically my Gangsta Ass Bitch friends and I played tennis at least twice a week and were very good, but I'm referring to physical violence).  I also would have given her reason’s why I didn’t want that man and pointed out that I had put him back on the shelf with the other emotionally immature & multiple personality having Gemini (read: evil) men for her to choose from.

On my list, I would have included:

1Like DJ Khaled, he won’t go down on you.
2. He will also expect you to do the emotional labor of fixing all his problems while showing little to no appreciation or acknowledgement for your hard work, examples include but are not limited to:
        a. Cooking him dinner after you’ve worked a 70hr week and he had the day off
        b. Canceling plans with friends, or entire work trips to do things with/for him instead
        c. Locating a carton of blueberries in the refrigerator after you’ve told him they were on the top shelf behind the almond milk and next to the block of cheddar cheese upwards of 3 times and then having to go retrieve said blueberries your cot damn self

The old TK would have followed up by chastising her for sending me the most ungrateful Thank You note I had ever received and reminding her of the reasons she should definitely be thanking me.

3. The only reason you are together is because I broke up with him and decided to let that 

4. Bish, I sent a 10lb bag of M&M’s, why you complaining? You mad because I'm killing you with kindness?

I also would have warned her to be careful...

5. In 4 or 5 years, when he takes off his dating invisibility cloak and starts to unveil the dementor that he really is, your relationship may have you feeling like a prisoner of Azkaban

Without even meeting her in person, I saw my past insecure and hurting self in her annoyingly wordy text message. There were times when I felt like I had to overcompensate or basically scream that I LOVED HIM from the rooftops to prove my worth and loyalty to him. Like that time his Mom told us she wasn't coming to our apartment and he blamed me for it. This long ass text message filled with all the reasons they are going to make it as a couple, felt very familiar to me. It's easy for me to respect their wishes never contact him again because I'm happy with how much I've grown since then and I refuse to do kind things for people who don't deserve them. I felt how Harriet Tubman must have felt when she encountered slaves she had to kill, “If only this woman realized she was a slave, I could have saved her too.”

2018 TK understands that people are complicated. Hurt people hurt people and insecurities cause you to act out. When you’ve worked on yourself (*cough* therapy and introspection) and you realize the psychology behind why people do the things they do, you can’t even be mad at them.

So instead of the actions listed above, 2018 TK told her to have a good life and not to text me again. To which she replied,

Oh I’m having a good life, stop bothering us.”

As I emerged from the bathroom to finish having a good night with my friends, I thought to myself, "Sounds like you're having a good life sis. Now if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands."

Just kidding. I'm not waiting because I don't care. He is not my man, and not my problem anymore. Emotionally intelligent people do things for others without expecting anything in return, but a small part of the 2008 TK that still resides in my psyche wanted to send her my paypal link for wasting my time on a Friday night.