*I edited this post because some of y’all are going through so much for me to keep it vague.
Come, let’s have a long conversation about the stages of loss and grief concerning that ex of yours. Please, just come, you’ll make sense to yourself because I am sure you don’t understand half of it.
Why am I here?
I was with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, and we had started the traditional process. My mind, heart, soul, and soul were set on making it work. I gave it my ALL the best way I knew how at the time and under the circumstances. That’s why this blog matters.
I was ready for a life of mediocre to lousy sex, dealing with a mother-in-law who complained about everything, including white walls and how the food wasn’t bland enough, along with endless family drama. I was ready to be treated like a bimbo who didn’t know that onions needed rinsing and that coffee was the devil’s drink. I was even okay with the stigma of having a mental illness because wifehood is for suffering. Ama?
I was ready to, having lost my job, become the household enslaved person where I had to make sure the house was clean and the laundry was done. I was getting into the rhythm of it. I might have eventually even put my pride aside and left a debt at the mama mboga so that the soggy potato I was with could pay at the end of the day/week when he came to money. But please, may he never run out of Dunhills.
I gave it my all. At the moment, I thought I was prideful and should come down. I was ready to do that. But one thing I was not ready to leave behind was logic and sensibility. And having bland food. That and other luxuries like pizzas being an alternative to not making dinner. You won’t perish if you don’t eat the same food your mama fed you all your life.
I gave it my all. “My all” included throwing out my luxuries to have some essential things we needed in the house paid for. It meant reaching out to my dad for personal items because the man I was with could not provide them after I lost my job. He also took offense that I have expensive shower gels, lotions, and things because it meant less control over me. You can control a village girl but not a girl with a passport that has been to multiple countries. He wasn’t doing me a favor. It was increasingly clear who married down. My parents got me inpatient insurance with maternity because they were sure this bum wouldn’t hack taking care of me.
It is the raw truth of how I gave my all to a man that doesn’t even have a cup big enough to handle the drops of water I poured from my reservoir
Why am I saying all this?
I am grieving. I am studying counseling psychology, but it’s taken months to hit me, Kenya Mpya style. I have been going through the stages of grief for the past two years. And here I was, planning on editing a podcast on the same theme I did with my friend Mundi. Stay tuned.
What triggered the realization?
The boyfriend and I joke around, like inner child-type stuff. He was in the kitchen, and I was in the living room; it’s an open plan. I say something silly, and he responds. Now, I was looking at the laptop, so from the corner of my eye, I saw his hands go up in pretend protest, and he briefly blocked the light. What does your home girl do?
I get into defense mode: I turn to him, hands in front of my face, body leaning back.
When I turned, I realized he was just making dramatic hand gestures. You can tell how homeboy was shocked and confused. He came, stood in front of me, all this time saying “no, no, no…” with utter concern like, what the hell was that?!
I explained it away with, “I thought you were going to throw something!” Note: it has been one and a half years, and he’s NEVER thrown anything at me. Not even a pillow. He wasn’t convinced, so I said what it was: trauma. You are beginning to see the dent that soggy potato [later post coming] put on my psyche.
Then something happened again! I make good food; man loves my cooking and just wanted a stir fry. That’s all. Guess how I interpreted that, “I want you to cook for me now.” Let’s just say we snacked on smokies. Food was in the fridge; he didn’t feel like having the same thing twice. I get it because I don’t, either. Yes, leftover rice is the basis of good stir-fried rice.
I apologized and explained the source, and there was pikelet batter in the fridge for his favorite breakfast. I only had a quarter of the seven I made hehe!
To that little judgmental voice that may cross your mind: Hush. You might learn something.
Enter the 7 stages of loss and grief based on Robert Kavanaugh!
*As my interpretation, so don’t quote me
Let me take you through them as I UNPACK the thing that has been nearly poking my eye for me to realize.
Stage 1. Shock and denial
To some, this guy was the village idiot. To some, he was an okay chap. Was he husband material? Everybody will say no. I didn’t know him like that, though. He was nice to me, funny, paid attention, anticipated my needs… cue narcissistic tendencies. Cool, he “understood” me and was accommodating. And it was the pandemic; we weren’t around enough people for them to tell me, “Giiiirllll! RUN!”
Then he turned around and became this manipulative, psychologically and emotionally abusive person who ended up pinning me to the sofa because he couldn’t communicate his point in words.
I left. I didn’t feel like going back home in a body bag. I am not being dramatic. Soggy potato would have “accidentally” killed me out of ego down the line if I stayed, and the mother would have lied her ass off to protect him. She never liked me anyway and never hid her disdain. She is the nightmare of in-laws. This woman threw sachets of coffee at me across the dining table that the son had gone to buy because neither the soggy potato nor I drank tea or milk when we’d gone there on Jamhuri day.
That said, she put a spread of watermelon rejects (that’s what the son called them) on the table and some stale peanuts for me in the name of a Jamhuri breakfast. I offered help in the kitchen, and she had me chop the onions, after which I said, “I got work to do,” and got behind my laptop to try to make some money. She looked me up and down because my dress slightly above the knee. At Christmas lunch, she threw some snide remarks, but I made sure my braids were on both sides of my face to cover how wasted I was and just how irritable I was. Yes, I showed up there drunk with the soggy potato because there is nothing fun or pleasant about being with that side of the family. Even the soggy potato had us leave early to go to my parent’s because that’s where the fun was.
Reality: It kind of sucks when you begin to see that you are settling to a standard much lower than what you grew up with or knew you could attain. And all for what, a man? Because that was not love, that was settling. That was this dumb script written out for me that women are for suffering and should remain as such.
I was to have shit sex and be forced to wake up to make his breakfast despite getting into bed at 4-5 am because of insomnia. I was to get vegetables on credit so that he could come and find supper getting ready. On top of that, he wasn’t going to buy a fridge. If I had a problem, then I was the one to purchase it. Otherwise, he wanted fresh everything every day in your early 30s and 2020.
Another side: I am shocked that I would let that be me. I would call an Uber at whatever time and go party on the other side of town because I wanted to, and I would not have to check my account balance or anything because I knew I could make money back. My closet is filled with clothes; I have given away clothes four times the size of that closet in the past three years.
I had money, but then when COVID hit and my mental health declined simultaneously, I lost my income, and I was at the mercy of having to purchase half a chicken to last us two dinners. Though somehow, he had the money for alcohol.
My shock is how I fell so far down.
Application: Now, how does this strong, independent, opinionated, intelligent, beautiful badass bitch end up there?? HOW? ME? HOW? By the way, I cannot! It cannot be me!