2018, by far, was the most challenging year of my life, and I now understand why. I brought in the year by bringing baggage that should’ve been left in 2017; a toxic relationship. I was in a relationship with a man, who in the beginning, appeared to be charming, intelligent, supportive, selfless, graduated from an HBCU, and all things a woman like me would have on her “checklist”. He met all the criteria that I thought I wanted until I began experiencing the real him over time. He wasn’t charming, he was a narcissistic chauvinist who preyed on successful women by using a bunch of plagiarized, rehearsed, and recycled lines in order to gain their trust. I’m not a woman to fall for words so it never captured me, although it did catch my attention. Because his actions did not align with his words, he would get upset and agitated, and project his insecurities onto me. I knew he was a broken man so I stayed to try and “fix” him. But I had to remember that it wasn’t my job to raise a grown “man”. It wasn’t my job to mother an adult male who was never shown love as a boy. Although it doesn’t excuse his behavior, he’s been this person his entire life in which his family never held him accountable. He would bring multiple women around his family and they wouldn’t say a thing. He would fill this void inside himself by receiving attention from multiple women at the same time. He wanted me to rely on him for my only source of happiness and I refused; I wasn’t raised that way. But because I wouldn’t center my life around him, he felt he wasn’t being appreciated. I maintained my relationships with everyone in my life but he expected me to drop everything and everyone, including my family. I refused to make myself small to accommodate his insecurities and he hated that. I was stronger than his misogynistic mind-games. He’d once told me “I want a girl who’s gone blow me up. I’m not gone chase you. I want a girl who’s gonna be checkin’ for me. I want someone who’s gone beg me to stay”. I let him know he should go find that girl because I wasn’t the one.
Still, being the person that I am, I stayed in the relationship hoping I could change things for the better. I assumed he was happy with the person that I am since he sat down with my father and asked him if he could have my hand in marriage. The relationship was such a roller coaster I often pondered what I’d say if he did propose. Within that time, we conceived a child. I learned a new form of stress. I would stress myself thinking of how I was going to support myself, my child, and ultimately him because he was in school but unemployed. He would pick a fight about any little thing every day, and I cried every-single-day. He would get upset because I wouldn’t give him keys to my apartment to which he replied “other girls have given me keys to theirs”. But I just couldn’t’ allow myself to give him keys until he was bringing in some money to my household. I had a talk with my grandmother and a couple weeks later I gave him a key, but still he was not allowed to move in. This was for safety reasons since I was pregnant and anything could’ve happened; compromise. One day, he was at my apartment and we were arguing about something minor per usual. We usually argued because he couldn't dominate me which in turn his masculinity felt threatened. Anyway, true to his nature, he threw a temper tantrum; he yelled and punched the wall. Immediately after he hit the wall, I felt blood leaking from my vagina. I knew instantly I was probably miscarrying. We went to the doctor and the entire ride there, I was thinking how much I hated him and how I even got myself into this situation. But it was bigger than me and I had to think about my child. The doctors said to keep an eye on it but I knew something could still go wrong. Two weeks later, July 6, 2018 I went in for my maternity appointment. My intuition never steers me wrong and I knew something was wrong. During the ultrasound the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat, she called in another doctor, who also couldn’t’ find a heartbeat. Needless to say, I miscarried. I was devastated and cried uncontrollably. July 8, 2018, I found out that he had been cheating since the beginning of our relationship through Instagram. This person, who is now his girlfriend, had pictures of them lovey-dovey, kissing, etc. on dates which overlapped our relationship. Even dates when he went ghost on me for hours at a time to which he said he was studying. I had my suspicions but could never prove it. Well, here was the proof in the pudding. Mind you, I had already taken him back for dating a different girl towards the beginning of our relationship whom he lied about. So this was the second girl I found out about. Our whole relationship began on a lie. His background information was a lie, he had been expelled from Morehouse so he didn’t graduate, his middle name was made up, I mean just an entire lie. I thought, who is this man? I don’t know who he is. I confronted him about the person and he said she was an old friend who was his tennis coach, and that he’s asked her to remove the pictures multiple times but she’s crazy. I knew he was lying so I was done. I didn’t even want him to accompany me to my doctor’s appointment the next day. As sad as I was to lose my baby, it was a blessing in disguise because had I birthed that child, I'm sure my life would've be filled with drama. The next morning, July 9, 2018 I went in for my D&C appointment, he showed up and I had mixed emotions, but I knew I wanted nothing to do with him. So I let him think he was still in and had emotional ties to me. All the while, I was in the process of healing myself from all the trauma and drama that he put me through. I joined a miscarriage group through my church called “No Longer Bound” and I also began going to therapy biweekly through my insurance. I was putting in the work to become my new best self because the girl I thought I once knew was no longer there. I was still entertaining him by talking and going out with him, but emotionally unavailable to him.
October rolls around and I notice my grandmother isn’t herself. I try to take her to the hospital a couple of times a week for 3-4 weeks straight but she didn’t think anything was wrong. I’m in the healthcare field so I knew something wasn’t right. I asked my mother and brother to help me in getting her to the hospital but she refused and they too thought nothing was wrong. Sunday morning, November 4, 2018, God woke me up out of my sleep and told me to go to my grandmother’s house. I obliged and as I was driving to her, I received a text from her stating she had fallen and couldn’t get up. I get there and she is on the floor. I kneeled down to help her up and her eyes were yellow. I instantly panic because I now know her liver had shut down. So I help her up from off of the floor, and she’s still refusing to go to the hospital. I stayed with her all day, making sure she had eaten and was hydrated. At the time, it didn’t occur to me I could’ve called the paramedics. I sent my brother over on Monday to take her to the hospital and no luck, so I called her brother. Tuesday, November 6, 2018, my uncle and I met at her house and we got her in the car to get her to urgent care. Urgent care said we need to admit her to the emergency room and so we did. The doctor said he was surprised that she was talking when we admitted her, because she was silently suffering from Sepsis. Mind you, this is exactly to the date, four months after my doctor’s appointment where I found out I miscarried. I stayed all night and the doctors said she was improving. I left early to shower and pick-up my laptop from work. As I was leaving work, I received a call from the hospital saying she couldn’t breathe. I panicked because in my mind, how does she go from improving to can’t breathe? My uncle was her durable power of attorney so he chose to ventilate her. When I arrived at the hospital they were in the prcess of putting the machine in place and at this point I’m out of my mind and in complete shock. My grandmother was awake but I had to leave the room, so I waited. The doctors said she coded while ventilating her and she’s now in a coma. It was a long trialing 3 days and by Thursday the doctor said she may pass on Friday, the latest Saturday. Friday, November 9, 2018, I stayed at her bedside all day. I couldn’t move and my dad kept trying to get me to leave the hospital to eat but I told him I couldn’t leave. No more than 10-15 minutes after he left, my grandmother started coding. This was why I couldn’t leave. God spoke to me so I could be there. It was myself, and her two of brothers by her side when her heart stopped beating. She was gone; exactly four months to the date, after my D&C procedure. My best friend, my everything was gone. A huge part of me left my soul at that same time. My ex came to console me. I had friends come over, some from out of town who made me feel better, and he was there as well. All he came for was sex because he pressured me in a state of vulnerability, knowing that I didn’t want that, but it happened anyway. I couldn’t muster up enough words to say no, that’s how out of it I was. He supported me through my loss of my grandmother but only to what benefited him, not out of the goodness of his heart. After losing my grandmother, which felt like everything at the time, I went into a depression. In this state of depression, I tried a drug that he used religiously but it didn’t do anything for me. I still felt the pain and I couldn’t wrap it around my mind that my grandmother was gone.
About a month later, after he is continuously trying to get back with me, I found out he was dealing with yet, another girl. Again, I confronted him just to see what he would say and he lied, of course, because that’s what pathological habitual liars do. I couldn’t expect anything more. The new year rolled around and within the past 6 months, I had just lost my child, my grandmother, and was still entertaining a toxic relationship with a demon. I had an epiphany:
You can’t heal in the same environment which made you sick.
So I was talking to myself at this point. Why are you entertaining this pathetic excuse of a man? He doesn’t appreciate your efforts, projects his insecurities and self-hate onto you, has no morals or integrity, self-centered, has no respect for himself or others, doesn’t have a job, still lives at home, pays no bills, introduced you to harmful drugs/habits, just so many negative things. Why?!? I then had to understand that the way he treated me, had nothing to do with me, but how he viewed himself. When you have self-hate you can’t show love to anyone else. I had to think of the part I played in giving him credit for the minimum he did or presented to me, which was little to nothing and that’s my bad. I thought, how could I be mad at the clown for acting like a clown. Instead, I had to stop going to the circus. I thought to myself, “what have you been thinking this entire time? This is no place for you, you deserve better, because this is the bottom of the barrel”. The best thing that I EVER could’ve done for myself, was leave that relationship. Cut all ties and go ghost completely and that’s what I did. I read this quote that said “relationships are meant to be a fountain, not a drain” and I never looked back since. He called and text a couple of times but I ignored it.
I began flourishing and by focusing on me, I began to feel rejuvenated. I was “basking in my fragrance”. What exactly does that mean? Bask means “to lie in or be exposed to a pleasant warmth”, “to enjoy a pleasant situation”. For me to have survived a toxic relationship and leave, to experiencing the trauma of a miscarriage, and to losing the most important person in my life, even after all of the bullshit, I felt strong, I felt good. And even though I still have my days where I am down, I persevered. That smile you see, that drive, that’s me standing strong and proud, because I am basking in my fragrance; this pleasant feeling of overcoming triumph. This is my AfterGlow; a pleasant remembrance of a past experience. A pleasant effect or feeling that lingers after something is done, experienced, or achieved.
So I stand here now to ask:
What’s your AfterGlow?
How are you Basking in Your Fragrance?
As a token of my appreciation and you taking the time to read my story, please tell me how you're basking in your fragrance in the comments, and I will send you a discount code for 30% off your next order.