ACCEPTING WHEN IT'S TIME TO GO
Sometime back in 2021
I sat in the living room of our new apartment, waiting for him to come home from work.
I had already made up my mind a week ago, and once my mind has decided on something, it’s a wrap—my gift and my curse.
I heard the code being punched into our SmartLock, along with the sound of the door opening. I looked up and met his eyes as he walked in. Though I was calm and collected, he immediately sensed something was up. He offered a worried smile, “Hey, babe. Everything okay?”
“Nope,” I responded.
He set his work bag on the floor, then joined me on the sofa.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
I looked at him for a moment before responding. His face was full of concern and confusion, which instantly pissed me off, because it summed up our relationship thus far perfectly: fuck being on two different pages, we were in two entirely different books.
Though I’m sure how I was feeling had already registered on my face (because I don’t have a poker face at all), I kept my composure.
I took a deep breath, then exhaled, “I’m leaving, Malcom.”
Lines of confusion set deeper into his forehead as he looked at me, “Huh?”
I felt myself getting hot with frustration and irritation. The way this man always acted like my reactions to his shit was completely lost on him pissed me off to no end.
“I’m leaving,” I repeated. “My flight is already booked for tomorrow afternoon, and my suitcases are already packed. I’m going home.”
More confusion on his face, “Cici…this is your home. We’re getting married, we…”
“Nope, and nope,” I cut him off.
“Home is where I feel secure, honored, valued, loved and appreciated—and I have that back in Montreal. This is an apartment I’ve been working my ass off trying to make a home for us, with bare minimum efforts from your end. I don’t feel secure, honored, valued, loved, or appreciated here with you…so this ain’t my home, and I am definitely not marrying you.”
He shook his head, “Wait, this doesn’t make sense. Is this about the conversation we had last week? I thought we came to an agreement together? I said I was going to work at doing better. You have to give people time to do better, Cici.”
“No, actually. In this case, I really don’t,” I said coolly as I stood to grab the bottle of water that was on the kitchen island. I took a sip, then leaned slightly against the island, facing him.
“The conversation we had last week was just a more intense version of the exact same conversation we had last month, and the month before,” I continued. “Nothing has changed since then, and nothing will change because this is who you are; so what exactly would I be waiting for?”
I took another sip of my water while I watched him search his brain for words.
“Okay,” he finally said, “Let’s just take a moment to calm down.”
My eyebrows narrowed, “I am calm, and that’s actually part of the reason I’m leaving. I was calm the first time I addressed you when I noticed you were starting to switch up on me; it was maybe three weeks after you asked me to marry you when I started to notice a subtle change in your behavior toward me. A little less affection than you started with. A little less effort than you started with.
I knew I hadn’t done anything to warrant your change in behavior toward me, so I came to you and asked what was up. Your response? ‘I’m sorry, baby. It’s just work has been stressing me out and my mom has been on my back, asking me for money to help her out.’ Fair. I completely understood and gave you extra support.
Then, right after we signed the lease here, I noticed the subtle switch in your behavior had turned into a blatant switch.
You coming home from work and heading straight to your stupid ass video games, you barely cuddling me anymore, words of affection becoming rare, date nights coming to screeching halt.
Again, I sat down with you and calmly addressed the situation, and again, you conjured up an excuse. This time it was that you wanted more for yourself job wise. You wanted to start your own business, you wanted to make more money. Cool. Building businesses is my area of expertise, so I helped you with that, and had that shit up and running within three days. Then I took a step back and observed you. Not only were you unable to run the business that you said you wanted to have, which then I had to pick up the slack for, you still didn’t change your behavior toward me, if anything, the shit got worse.”
“Cici,” he interrupted, embarrassment in his eyes.
“Aht, aht, aht…I’m not done,” I fired back, coldly.
“Last week I finally lost my shit on you because enough is enough. At this point, I knew you were playing in my fucking face, and to my absolute disgust, I witnessed what I was saying finally click in your head. It was disgusting to me because it became clear that you don’t respond to mature, calm, loving, respectful conversations. You only know how to respond to chaos, drama, and yelling. I literally had to snap on you for shit to get through your head…and that was a wake up call for me that I am truly grateful for.
I don’t want to be with a man who needs to be snapped on to get things through his head, let alone marry one. I know toxic when I see and feel it; it’s a road I’ve worked way too hard to get off of and away from, and I’ll be damned if you, or anyone else, tries to drag me back the fuck on it. You came into my life with a mask on, because you knew you couldn’t step to me as your true, bare- minimum-doing, excuse-making, un-ambitious, unhealed, lying ass self. As soon as you thought you had me right where you wanted me, you started to relax, and that mask started to slowly peel away. I used to be the type of woman that you’re used to. The woman who lowers herself to meet you where you are. The woman who bends over backwards trying to fix you, save you, heal you. The woman who keeps giving her all while you give her just enough to hang onto, just enough to give her ‘hope’. The woman who repeats herself over and over again, then starts to beg, then starts to scream, yell, and fight with you to be heard and seen.
That’s the type of woman that you’re used to. That’s the type of woman you get to feel like a tall man with, because that’s the type of woman who accepts your bottom of the barrel crumbs, because that’s all she gives to herself. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for you…I ain’t her anymore. You thought because I said ‘yes’ to an engagement and signed a lease with you here in Miami that I was going to feel stuck? Like I had to try to make this work? Like I had to stay with you now to save face or something because we already told everyone we were getting married? Is that what you thought?”
All he could do was look at me with the expression of what I could only describe as someone being caught red-handed. He had no words, and rightfully so.
I let out a soft laugh before continuing, “Remember what my mom told you that day on the phone when y’all were having a little chat? I’ll refresh your memory. She said, ‘One thing about my daughter is when she’s done, she’s done. You’ll come home one day, she’ll be gone, and you’ll literally never see her again…so don’t fuck around.’ But I guess you could hear her because she wasn’t yelling and calling you out of your name. I don’t get ‘stuck’ anywhere, Malcom. No one can ‘trap’ me any-fucking-where. You think I care about a lease in Miami when I’m Canadian? You think I care about whatever money I’ve spent when you know I’m far from broke? You think I give a fuck about what people are going to say when they hear that I called this shit off? People who don’t even have a fraction of their own shit together at that?”
Again, I laughed out loud, but this time it was a proper laugh that came from the depth of my tummy.
“Ahhhh, man,” I sighed, “Even more of a reason why I could never marry you. You don’t even know me, all you saw was how you could get a come-up by marrying someone like me…and you couldn’t even do that shit right! I’m not interested in being married just to be able to say I’m married—I’m not your mother. I want to be happily married, and it’s very clear that I won’t be that with you.”
I watched as he cringed, remembering all that he had told me about his parents' marriage a few weeks ago, and I literally saw it dawn on him that I had put together a lot of pieces about who he was from that conversation alone. He hung his head, “Damn…I…feel like shit. I don’t know what else to say except…I’m sorry. You have been a light in my life and I’m ruining it with my ways. I’m fumbling, and I see that now.”
I took a sip of my water and smacked my lips together, “You’re not ruining anything and you’re not fumbling anything. You ruined, and fumbled it—past tense. You are right about me being a light, though; always have been, always will be, which is why the minute it becomes crystal clear that I’m in the presence of a man who doesn’t deserve me, that man no longer gets access to me.
I’m done, Malcolm, which means…we’re done.”
There have been many moments of my life that I have been really proud of myself in…That evening with my ex is one of them.
He and I weren’t together for a long time at all, and the only reason is because I shut that shit down quickly—me.
There is a terrible misconception about healing and inner-work that I try my best to debunk for women any chance I get, and that misconception is: Healing and inner-work means you’ll never be in the presence of bullshit ever again.
…And that is just not true.
Most people wear masks to get what they want because showing up as their authentic self won’t get them in the door. More than that, showing up as their authentic self means they have to first see themselves for who they truly are, along with the things they need to work on within them, and most people (men and women) don’t want to do that.
Does wearing a mask get them in the door? Yes, of course; but they only get to stay inside the room they’ve entered with all of their broken pieces, if that room is full of people who have just as many broken pieces as them. Misery can only thrive with company.
If they enter a room with people who have done, and are doing their own inner work, the minute that mask falls off, those people will either show them the door they can exit from, or exit themselves.
No matter how much inner work you do, or how much you’ve healed, you are still going to come across bullshit; the difference is, you won’t stick around for it like you once did.
Once I saw Malcom for who he truly was, I accepted it.
I accepted that he wasn’t a good partner for me.
I accepted that he wasn’t ready to be a husband…he just wanted a wife.
I accepted that he was incapable of meeting my needs.
I accepted that he didn’t have the capacity to reciprocate.
I accepted that he saw me as a come-up; someone who would do all the heavy lifting while he ate the fruits of my labor, both emotionally and financially.
The old version of myself would have seen him for who he truly was but spend years trying to make him be for her, because the old version of myself had a toxic ass relationship with herself, and when you have a toxic relationship with yourself, well…being in a toxic relationship with someone else is “normal”.
Water seeks its own level.
The inner-work-doing, healthy self-esteem-ass-having, knows what she wants, needs, deserves, and has to offer a man? Shiiieeet. She was like, “Uh, uh. Get someone else to do it.”
This version of myself accepted that he was not the right man for me at all, accepted that it was time to go, and did exactly that.
There is so much power in accepting what’s not for you, the same way you accept what is for you—and taking your inner-work seriously is what prepares you to be able to do that.
I hope this inspired you today in some way, shape, or form. If nothing else, it’s food for thought…just make sure you finish your plate so you can go be great ;)
P.S I'm 38 now and am in a very happy, healthy relationship; however, I spent the majority of twenties in a few pretty toxic ones. If you want to read about my journey, you can click here. Sometimes just knowing that another woman has been where you are and made it through, can make all the difference in the world.