Next Lifetimes and Unrequited Love

Today is a snow day for me and for the most part, I’ve been on my couch, surfing the net, with VH1 Soul on mute. Earlier today, they had an hour called, “Soul Squared” where they show a double play of different artists. One of the artists they picked today was Ms. Erykah Badu. Seeing her two videos got me thinking about one of my favorite songs by Ms. Badu, “Next Lifetime.” Now, I’m about 99.8% sure that anyone reading THIS blog knows of Ms. Badu and of this song. But for those who don’t, here’s a quick breakdown: the song is about meeting someone who you like, and could see yourself falling for–but you’re already in a relationship. So, you accept that it’s not meant to be and say, “I’ll guess I’ll see you next lifetime.” Music is such a heavy influence in my life. And this is a song that has popped into my head a few times over the years. Right now, there are three men in my life–wonderful, talented, kind, intelligent and not bad on the eyes either, lol. These men are my friends, kind and supportive of me. And at one point, I crushed on all three of them. Heavy. Like I could see myself washing their draws and cooking their dinner every night. That heavy. And for an entire score of reasons, I couldn’t be with any of them. I still can’t. But they all gave me so much insight into the kind of man I DO want in my life. Which I guess is the positive. I mean, if you’re going to want what you can’t have, at least it can inspire you to figure out what will work for you when you meet the one you CAN have.

Now, this is not a self-pitying blog. It’s not a sad blog, or a lonely blog. It’s more of a… sometimes-I still-wonder-if-it-could-have-worked, blog. For example…┬áNumber One is awesome in so many ways. He’s a great father (which makes him twice as attractive to me), who appreciates art and shares my love of music. He knows how important chemistry is. And he’s smart.┬áNumber Two shares most of my beliefs on relationships and we have the best conversations. He asks for my advice, which guys tend NOT to do–and I love that. It means he respects my opinion. He struggles a little, but has the best comebacks. He’s honest about who he is. Number Three is confident. He’s passionate, outspoken, but quiet sometimes too. He reminds me… of me, lol. He’s doesn’t hide who he is for anyone and it’s likely he won’t apologize either. He is who he is–deal with it or not. All three of them fill a space with their friendship, make me feel a little less… alone. Like I said though, there was a time when I crushed on all three of them pretty heavy (but not simultaneously, lol). And sometimes I wonder if they ever felt the way about me that I used to feel about them. I’m never going to ask, lol. I have friendships to preserve. I don’t need awkwardness in my life. But it’s led me to some interesting thoughts.

I’ve become sort of an expert in unrequited love. I seem to always gravitate towards people who can’t or won’t feel the way about me that I do about them. I don’t want to take it back to my dad (the biological one), but it seems like I’m going to have to. The hole he left has me grasping, trying to understand. It’s a bit of a sickness for me to crave emotional unavailability because I’m used to it–or to try to “cure” it in others because I couldn’t “cure” it in my dad. I think the second one’s a little more accurate. By the end of my last relationship, I was begging him to care, to love me back. And I know that’s not required. But being in love by yourself is so very tiring. If anyone needed a break, it was me. But he never felt what I felt. And my heart got broken twice. Once, when I realized he didn’t love me, and again when I finally left him (because believe it or not, those two didn’t happen at the same time). In college, I fell so hard for this guy. We were friends, because he didn’t want more and I didn’t want to lose him. He knew I had feelings for him though and he seemed sensitive to that. Fast forward about eight years after graduation and I see him at Homecoming. We’ve lost touch, but I’m always happy to see him. I had no ill will whatsoever. We speak, it’s good. I walk away and he says to his friends, in earshot of my friends, “Is Shameka married yet? I hope soon so she can stop being in love with me.” Then a laugh, like he made a cool joke. My friends tell me this, and I have steam coming out of my ears. Yeah, I did love him once. But I never forced myself on him. Or pushed for more–because I knew he didn’t feel the same way. I had never done anything but be his friend and there he was, making a mockery of my feelings (that had been VERY real) and making fun of me with his buddies. I was angry. Not to mention, it’s EIGHT YEARS LATER!!! I am not checking for you, you dread-locked, anti-social, pseudo-revolutionary asshole. You see how careless people are with other people’s hearts?! I was over him, but what if I wasn’t? Why is that okay?

I find myself wondering how people deal with knowing that they’re someone’s crush when they don’t feel the same way. I know you don’t owe the other person anything, but compassion is free and it would be nice. I have spent too much time on the wrong end of that scenario. Although I don’t know if there’s a right end. It’s gotta be a little difficult to be the object of someone’s affection when you don’t feel anything for them. I imagine that’s hard, but only if you’re someone who cares about other people’s feelings. Either way, I’m working to get out of that scenario altogether. I think I’m making a bit of progress, but we’ll see.

I told you all how frustrating and tiring and stupid dating has been. But I think one of the reasons I’m having so many misses so fast is because I don’t drag out the inevitable anymore. If you make it clear you don’t want what I want, I step back. I’m learning to believe people when they tell me who they are. It’s always such a process to get yourself out of programmed behaviors, but it’s necessary when they’re killing your spirit. They say hearts are pretty resilient, but I still want to try and contain the number of breaks. I think I’ve had my fair share. And blowing them off quickly may seem like another bust, which is discouraging, but it’s better than waiting until I’ve fallen for you to try and take my heart back because you don’t want it. It’s better than my love going unrequited… yet again. And better than me adding you to my list of “next lifetimes.”

I remember when the soundtrack to my life was “Icebox” by Omarion. Lol. I was tired of fighting and I was numb. Just ice cold about everything. Thank God I got over that. Although “Next Lifetime” is not a good choice either. I’ll figure it out.

*Opens Spotify- plays “The Man” by Aloe Blacc

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