Men + Myself + God

Tag: forgiveness

Today is not my birthday (but that won’t stop me). #blogchallenge

by P. Braithwaite

20140515-005924.jpg

When I was eleven I was painfully shy (like really really shy). I was super skinny and awkward with fizzy hair and ill-fitting clothes (my brothers clothes). I wanted to be a boy, and I wasn’t quite sure I was good at being anyone’s version of a girl…most of all, I wanted to be my older brother.

Bit by bit, I’ve learned how to become myself. Day by day, I’ve tiptoed closer to the truth of my own soul. Hour by hour, I’ve expanded my definition of who I am. Minute by minute I play hide and seek with my dreams…

I’m alive. I’m awake. I am proud.

I turn 30 in exactly 30 days and the truth is I feel…everything. I am so proud of who I’ve become. I’m proud of my ability to thrive after a storm. I’m delighted that, by the grace of God ( and despite a few gray hairs), I’ve inherited that good black that doesn’t crack. I’m proud that I’ve achieved my dreams: a life that is about sharing my passions, writing that finds an audience, work that is fulfilling, and heart that is creative.

I’m fulfilled, but I’m also very scared.

Read the rest of this entry »

Love, Lies, and What’s Beyond The Drama

by P. Braithwaite

20131220-045711.jpg
We are facing each other — bald head, brown eyes, and truth against my check. He smells like my soap and nice cologne.

I wear sweat pants, a floral headscarf, and a scowl. I brace myself for a response to the question I’ve just asked:

“Was that her car you used to drive to my house?”

He leans against exposed brick and tells me how he cheated. Boyfriend Zero. The first man I ever dated, confessed that, in the end, he may have two-timed me.

Technically, he admits he drove ‘her’ car to ‘my’ house. And technically, we’d broken up, so in his mind, it didn’t count. But lies don’t need a title to be counted as sins, so I fill in all the judgements myself.

I ask questions; he spits answers.

Extraction.
Emotion.
Execution.
Truth.

“What are you feeling?” He asks after silence.

“I don’t know.”

I take old feelings out of storage, iron them, patch the holes, and I wear them like they’re new. I’ve grown. Rage doesn’t fit. The anger is too tight. This confession is five years overdue.

Boyfriend Zero is cleaning up our past, but sadness lingers. I won’t lie.

See, his confession opens floodgates, and every relationship I’d ever had spreads out in front of me like one never-ending tale. Over the least 10 years, heartache has been spiritual practice, and I’m tired. It’s time to change my religion.

I want to be mad at him, but I’m exhausted.

We order chicken wraps and watch a movie instead.

There are nuances to forgiveness that I have yet to master, but the more I meditate, the quieter I become. I’m learning to feel without narrative. I’m learning to feel without acting out against the pain. I’m learning to be present with myself in the way I’ve prayed for a partners to be with me. I’m becoming the man of my own dreams.

I’m learning to fill my own voids.

And what I know for sure is this: at the base of every feeling, there is peace. If you fumble through the drama, if you keep groping in the dark, eventually you’ll hit your own peace.

So whatever you are facing, whatever past you must confront, I pray you find the peace and wisdom lurking underneath the pain. Beyond the drama, it lies waiting for you to touch it.

I promise, sit with yourself, you’ll find it there.

And so it is.

Someone Else’s Karma

by P. Braithwaite

20131113-025005.jpg

I’d be lying if I said he was forgotten. Sometimes, when I least expect it, the air carries his scent: laughter, sadness, passion, love. Other times a new season of an old show will air, and I’ll remember how we sat tangled on my couch. Happily. Addicted. Oblivious. Drunk. Refusing to let me fast-forward commercials.

“Commercials are our chance to really talk.”

When it’s over, bad memories are comfort. They support your thesis – he’s an asshole; she’s a jerk. The happy memories are harder to swallow. They are an under-wire bra, sexy but constricting. You can’t wear them for long. They don’t support the present circumstances.

Forgive me; it’s 1 am and I’m nostalgic.

It’s seductive to imagine a forlorn ex-lover writing you love poems with his own blood. Or its enticing to imagine a lover who never cared — a man who never loved. A person who has moved on and has forgotten you exist. Chances are, the truth is somewhere in-between.

You never know someone else’s karma.

You never know where a person’s path may lead them, and you never know when or why they may think of you. Life has a way of moving us forward. Nature only supports growth. Memories soften around the edges and fade into our present. We don’t linger. We move forward. We heal.

But that doesn’t mean love wasn’t there.

We never know another person’s karma.

The sad truth of life is that we can never know, unequivocally, the level of love or devotion that existed within another. We can only trust in our own perceptions of the past – the love was real, the moment magic, and the ending…for the best.

The ending is almost always for the best…

But you never know another person’s karma.

You can only nourish and cultivate your own.

And so it is.