The Maddening, Frustrating Love of A Woman
The plan at first was to not go home for the holidays. There was too much work to do; home would be nice, but the rush to catch up when I came back would have me dizzy. Also, the cost of tickets felt like they were at all-time highs. Then, a woman who was once more than a friend, gave me her miles. My work schedule seemed more flexible, and though it is the shortest amount of time I will be home for Christmas, I was able to purchase a ticket for less than the cost me of a cab ride from Harlem to Times Square.
A couple of weeks ago, I started MMA training, for which I get the first month free. These classes are courtesy of a gift certificate given to me for Christmas last year by a woman who was once more than a friend.
Every week, someone will mention how good I smell and ask me what I’m wearing. I tell them it’s Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot, a gift given to me by a woman who was once more than a friend.
There are more women who have done more nice things for me, but I will spare you, the reader, a lengthy humblebrag because I’m not just talking about goods and services here. There is also the friend who allowed me to sleep in her bed for four nights in a row when I was going through the types of things that makes people want to never be alone. And it wasn’t just the giving of that side of her bed, but the way she would stay up with me, throughout the night, and let me go on and on about everything I was feeling.
These random acts of kindness have been on my mind a lot lately, leaving me in a state of wonderment as I think about them in full. Sometimes we like to talk about women within the vacuum of relationships; how they are as lovers, as mothers, wives, and girlfriends. As I get older, I realize a woman does not need any of these titles to be good to a man. Of course she would like them (and no one act of kindness does not a title make) but I have thought a lot about how women act independent of those titles. What I have been in awe of lately is the way a woman acts on the strength of love alone.
If I bought a woman a fragrance, it’d be to commemorate some special day, not just because. If gave a woman my miles, it wouldn’t be too see her family, it would be to come see me. If I bought a woman a gift certificate to some gym, I’d only half-jokingly request she use it while we were together so I can indirectly reap the benefits. If one of my friends wanted to sleep in my bed with me for four nights and just talk, I’d probably fall asleep before she finished talking.
Every woman will say such acts come at no cost, to just not take advantage. So I don’t ask, and yet, the issue is, I also don’t decline. There are people who will complain they give too much and get so little in return. I, admittedly, have the opposite problem. I get so much and I give little in return, and I don’t say that with pride, but with much hesitation and maybe a little confusion.
There is something I’ve done to deserve it, but I don’t know what that is, and frankly it’s because the much larger issue is, I don’t know what any woman wants with me or from me. I look around, and I feel like I don’t have much to offer. Life, these days, is in a state of renovation; I am a fixer-upper if you will. Yet women not only accept my state of being, they help me get back on my feet, stay on my feet, and at times, move forward on my feet. My problem has been, moving forward and not back to those who helped me.
There have been times when a woman has been so kind to me it’s maddening. My mother for instance, has a black belt in sacrifice and giving, a love for me that runs so deep it is probably the one thing that lets me know I’m not ready to have children of my own. When I think about her, and I think about the other women who have come in and out of my life and saved me or helped me in ways big and small, I begin to notice the pattern. I say to myself, Well, maybe that’s just what women do when they love you or care about you. Whether that love is in the heat of passion or it’s companionate, if you want to see angels act on earth, the closest thing to it is a woman acting on her love for a man.
I don’t know what that’s about. All I know is these days, it doesn’t feel as good to receive, and I don’t feel as worthy of the love as I once did. Whether in the end it was I who broke her heart or she who broke mine, the outcomes don’t outweigh the substance of the whole relationship. There was a time when I thought I was a good man, made better by women who were better than me. Now it’s like, I’m a good man, but I don’t deserve this, not all of it.
Not all women deserve to be put up on a pedestal because they are a member of the gender. Not all women are good, but the women who are good to me, the way they are good to me, has me looking at myself and wondering if I am just as good to them. Sometimes, a woman’s love is so great, it makes a man feel weak, and if that sounds weak, you don’t know how much strength it took to admit that.
“Opposites Attract” by Kendrick Lamar from the album Overly Dedicated (2011)
PS: I think I’ve featured this song on a previous post, but I found it fitting for this post as well. When I was an editor at XXL, I met Kendrick, pre- good kid, m.A.A.d city and told him this was my favorite song by him. He said it didn’t surprise him. Not only was it one of his favorite songs to write, he said it was the song most of his male fans mention as a favorite too. I get it.