Reaching a breaking point in life is often the catalyst for growth and development, proving broken people can rise above heartache and emerge unbroken.
By Jonetta M., as told to Ida Harris
Hi, my name is Jonetta and I’m a former doormat.
I mammied men. I mothered their children. I neglected myself. I was chef Boyardee in the kitchen and Sally homemaker in all other aspects. None of which mattered, mind you, because in each of those relationships — if that’s what you wanna call them — I endured their cheating, flirting, and disrespect. I even enabled a man with an alcohol and drug problem for years, but I must ask myself who was really the drunk? Who was really the addict? Especially when the vice was love. I believed in and supported each of their dreams, although mine never mattered, and I helped finance some of them much to my financial detriment. I ruined my credit, repaired it, and ruined it again; all in the name of standing by my good for nothing man. At one point, I isolated myself from people because I knew they wouldn’t approve of the trash relationship I was in. In the in between time, I hoped to love him into being a different man so I could bring them around my loved ones, and we could all live happily ever after.
I always wanted children and tried to conceive in every relationship and had no success carrying them full term. Each time I miscarried I blamed myself and so did the guys I was with.
“You can’t even bust a baby out that pussy,” one of them taunted after a breakup
Surely it had nothing to do with the fact I was under constant stress, doing everything in my power to prove my worth to him. Certainly, it wasn’t because I worked my ass off around the clock. It couldn’t be that I paid bills that weren’t mine, bailed his of out of jail and got my car out of impound because I allowed him to drive it with a suspended license. It was on me and my decrepit uterus that couldn’t birth kids into this world. I was inadequate. In hindsight, though, maybe I was being protected from procreating with men who could not provide financially or emotionally for their children.
However, I wasn’t protected from overcompensating for their shortcomings. I poured into them and their children and kept myself in a drought. In the last year of my longest and most toxic relationship, on a day we were actually getting along, my ex and I were having a conversation, and I mentioned that I liked to read. He immediately shot me the c’monson look.
“Why are you fronting?” he asked.
I was baffled by his question.
“You do not read. You have those books and that bookshelf for show. Name the last book you read?”
He got a narcissistic high from calling me out as if I was some notorious liar. But I wasn’t lying. I did enjoy reading. There was a time before him, when I spent my leisure reading. In that moment, though, he was right. I realized I hadn’t read in months — maybe years.
I hadn’t painted in years either. Before i met ex, I had taken up painting and creating art. I sucked at it, but it was therapeutic. My spare room doubled as my studio and mediation space. I created my crappy art and convened with my ancestors in that space. That space is where ex’s son would sleep, when they spent weekends with me. One morning, I woke up and his son had gotten into my art supplies. He ruined one of my paintings, the carpet and the walls. My ex said it was my fault; that I shouldn’t have it within his reach. “
“If you had children of your own, you would have known this,” he said
Like the dumb over accommodating bitch I was, I negotiated with myself about my shit, in my own damn house. I packed my art supplies away and put them in a back storage room, and convinced myself that it was no big deal; that I’d clean the walls and carpet and set up my supplies on days I felt like painting. Well, that never did happen. Eventually, they moved in and my studio/meditation room became his son’s bedroom. My art supplies are still in storage. And my house became a living hell. I had lost myself, I was miserable, I was spent.
It wasn’t long before I realized that instead of mourning my old self, and fantasizing about painting, I should be drawing up his well overdue walking papers. I deserved to be with someone of substance. I deserved to be with someone that I didn’t have to fix. I deserved to be someone who is established.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m responsible for my trifling dating practices and what I contributed to hurting myself, but dudes need to be held accountable for fuck shit, too. It’s not like trash niggas only live at the bottom of the slush pile. When I decided to “level up” quality niggas were fuckboys as well.
When I met Delani, he eventually proved himself to be garbage, too. Only difference was he drove a Lexus. He lived in Buckhead. He had a great job. However he was inconsistent with communication. He was self-centered. We hung out on his terms which was usually at his house. The few nice dates in the beginning, quickly turned into Netflix and chillin’. He always had time to go out with the boys, but never with me. He was always busy with work, but claimed we were in a relationship. I was his “girlfriend” for a year until my mom passed unexpectedly and he was nowhere in sight. New nigga. Old tricks. And once again, I was crushed.
These incidents may seem like normal shit people deal with while dating, but for me, they crippling, they triggering; they make me feel unworthy, they depressed me. I’ve even had thoughts of ending it all — after all , I was unfuckwitable and barren so my life had no purpose. What stopped me is the many people who love me. I could not do that to them. I knew at the very least I added value to their lives, and they never stopped loving me.
I also realized I had never NOT been seeking love through dating, through fucking, through toxic relationships. Even when I went for a full year without dating or screwing, i was still obsessing about the fact that i wasn’t dating or screwing. I was still crushing on dudes that weren’t checking for me, and trying to put myself in a position to get them to notice.
Afterwhile, I wondered what would happen if I put all of that energy into falling in love with me, Instead of trying to get men to do it. What if I focused on loving Jonetta for a change? What if I spent time and energy cultivating my individual passions? What if I started valuing myself like I wanted people to value me?
Believe it or not, I was today years old when I decided to take a break from men. I’m taking all the time I need to fully heal. I plan to spend this time focusing solely on me. My mental health, physical health, and my financial health. I am going to surround myself with people who love me and are rooting for me. I am going to create I am going to the gym. I am going to therapy.
I am going to find a way to forgive myself for poor decisions I’ve made — for pain I have inflicted on to myself. I am going to find a way to come to terms with being childless. I hope to be in a healthy marriage one day, but if I don’t I am going to have to come to terms with that as well.
I know that I can’t fix it all overnight, but I hope to emerge as a healthier woman — and not a woman who just deserves the best from men, but a woman who deserves the best from herself.
I be writing. I’m aiight with standard English, but poetic with Black Vernacular. I’mma Trap Queen, too.