Lemonade: What no one else is seeing…

 

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Courtesy of Photopin

So I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about the buzz of the latest Beyonce’ masterpiece, Lemonade. I won’t go into how I feel about the music and short film because that is not what this blog is for. I want to talk about the message that most people will not get from what she has released. I’ll be completely honest, about 20 minutes into the video I began to worry. I thought to myself, “Oh Lord it’s about to be a lot of breaking up tonight.” I thought “well this just set men back another 20 years.” Even though I wanted to stop watching I continued, and I am so glad I did. See there is an underlying message that is in Lemonade that most people have not and will not get. If you blink honestly you will miss it.

After all of the screw you, I’m the baddest chick, all the crazy psycho talk that most women (including myself) have uttered before, Beyonce’ does something. She stays. She forgives and she stays. She didn’t put a lot into it but there is a moment when she stops lying to herself and she realizes that as much as she wants to walk away she can’t and she won’t. When I look at all the comments written under the video I see thousands of women talking about how stupid Jay-Z is and how they understand her pain and f$#& dude. No one though commented that after all is said and done, Beyonce’ didn’t leave. Now I don’t know what’s to come of their relationship but from what I saw in that video, Beyonce’ is staying. The very album that is about the tumultuous relationship was streamed on her husband’s music streaming source. Again, no one is seeing this. Some are arguing that everything is for show and that Beyonce’ and Jay are doing fine. From the emotion sang behind some of those lyrics, they were all too real. Again, people missed the fact that she stayed. No one realized that she made the conscious effort to make it work in spite of.

After everything was said and done my biggest concern was, will people get it? Will people get that she decided to forgive him and stay. Or will people just hop on the men haters club, making it that much harder for the men who do right by the women who enter into their lives. Will people get that sometimes you have to forgive things you may not want to in order to keep your marriage? For Beyonce’ it was infidelity but for others it may be gambling, mismanagement of money, neglect, lack of support or whatever may be destroying a marriage. Or will people only see Bey with her middle fingers to the sky saying she’s doing her?

I’m not going to lie it hurt me to see and hear those lyrics because I have been there. I know the hurt of infidelity but I hope to never feel it in my marriage. It is a pain that hurts the soul. I appreciate Beyonce’s transparency in letting the world into that hurt and pain. My only wish is that she would have shed more light on the healing process after the forgiveness. See many of us can talk about how it hurt us to find out the one we loved stepped out on us but no one talks about what happens once you decide to stay. See the fact of the matter is, some people stay. And quite frankly, not all of them are stupid for doing so. Are their times when people should leave, yes. Unfortunately if it is not a matter of abuse it is hard to state when those times are. I remember when a friend of mine was talking to me about some issues in her relationship. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked me “am I stupid?” Now had she caught me some years before I would have told her yes without an ounce of hesitation. At that time though I knew that I couldn’t answer that because I myself did not know what being stupid meant.

Take Beyonce’ and Jay-Z. Just last week people were still plastering #relationshipgoals under their pics. This week I’m sure Jay is going to get a lot of hate mail and comments about how stupid he is. Next week once they slay on a red carpet together they will go back to looking like the couple everybody thinks they want to be. Look at Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade. They are everyone’s #relationshipgoals now, but wasn’t no one saying that when we found out he cheated and got a chick pregnant. But as soon as he dropped on one knee and they had the wedding of the century, the masses were back on their side. See the truth of the matter is society will flow with the wind so you can’t go by what they say to do. You have to trust what God and your heart is telling you to do. We look for others to tell us if we are being stupid or not but quite frankly no one can tell you that but you. Once we learn to look at our lives through the perspective that only we live with our actions, we’ll stop seeking the validation of others.

Another thing I wonder is if this would have gotten the same praise if it were a man to have gone through this with his wife. What if Jay dropped this visual album talking about the multiple times Bey didn’t come home and when she did he could smell another man’s cologne on her body. Most of you all will say that is unlikely to happen. I hate to break it to you, it’s not. See what we don’t like to talk about is all the men who sit at home waiting for their wives to come home drunk, smelling like the next man. See not too many men will come out and share that story because society will blame him. “You must not have treated her right” or “you know you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” Meanwhile women have been turning hoes into husbands for years but when he cheats women get the support of the nation. Support from the same people who were crying telling her congratulations when he proposed. We don’t talk though about all the men who get cheated on constantly and stay for the sake of their marriage. Have we made staying for the sake of the relationship into a double standard?

I also couldn’t help but notice how the comments under the Lemondae video put everything on Jay. Now hear me clearly, I DO NOT condone cheating on any level. I believe it shows a lack of communication, respect and self-control. What I want to know though is why Jay has to take all the blame. When Tyler Perry’s Temptation came out it sparked the much needed debate about how neglect and complacency in a marriage can lead to infidelity. Women across the land talked about how if he would have just paid his wife a little more attention she wouldn’t have cheated. How she gave him all the signs that she wasn’t happy. Does the same not apply with men? I may get hate mail for this but I have to speak on it. Jay-Z is married to a woman who has a fanbase that can rival some of the greatest to ever do it. She is the most famous person on this earth. They call her King Bey. I don’t know Jay-z’s mental state but I could only imagine how difficult it may be sometimes to be the sidekick to one of the most powerful women in the world. See when he cheats he probably cheats with women who make him feel important because he feels second rate to his wife. I’m not saying it is right, but I’m just trying to give you all the psychology behind it. See when I hear Beyonce’s lyrics, she speaks a lot about how she tries to spice it up in the bedroom and how sexy she is but she mentions nothing about how she reminds him on a daily basis that despite what her fans say he is her king. See good looks and bomb sex will indeed keep a man’s interest. It has to be balanced though with showing you support and need him. Constantly reminding him how important he is to you. Again, I do not know the ins and outs of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s marriage but I’m just using this glimpse into it as a catalyst to speak on broader issues.

My hope is that these two will be able to work through whatever is plaguing them in their marriage. An even bigger hope though is that we do not take their situation and try to make it our own. Just because someone stayed doesn’t mean you have to. Just because someone left, doesn’t mean you have to. We have to learn how to simply appreciate when people are being transparent and not look to it as a blueprint. We also have to learn to look at the bigger picture of the transparency. Don’t get caught up and make decisions based off the chapters and pages that you miss the entire message of the book. If you get the message, don’t misconstrue it to be a step by step guide for you. We all have our own stories and only we can decide and have to deal with the endings we write for ourselves. So be sure to write an ending that you can live with, but most importantly tells the story you want to convey.

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Do Men Guard Their Hearts More Than Women?

Women have always gotten a bad rep for making men jump through hoops to gain their love. I can’t tell you the countless amount of drawings, pictures, movies and everything else depicting this exact concept. What has recently dawned on me though, is that women are not alone in this game of guarding hearts. We have focused so much on women that we have forgotten who the number one guards are. Men. Men are some of the most guarded creatures you could ever meet. A friend of mine did a devotional once on guarding our hearts. For some reason in that moment it hit me just how well men were at this, and were getting away with doing so.

Women have been adorned to be “emotional” which is a term I absolutely loathe. A positive that comes out of this insult is that some women have the ability to handle their emotions. All their lives women learn to stay in tune with them. This has helped some women to handle heartbreak better. It has helped them to get through emotionally difficult situations. Some men though don’t handle getting their hearts broken very well. They can be hurt by one person and every person after that has to deal with the residue and consequences of the reckless behavior of this one person. This is because some men do not like experiencing the emotions that being hurt creates. Since they have been sheltered from their own emotions all their lives, they don’t know how to respond in said situations. Thus, they go out of their way to make sure they do not have to experience that feeling again. And so it begins, the building of a wall that no one can tear down. Guarding themselves so they can stay in control.

Sometimes I sit and wonder if men were taught to be in touch with their emotions, would they be less inclined to close off their hearts to the idea of loving again? Now I’m not saying women don’t try to swear off love as well, but I am saying some men tend to have an emotional disconnect that keeps them from dealing with the situation at hand. They find themselves building the highest and most complex security system to their heart. They hide behind their fortress of hurt, praying the castle is never threatened. Then it happens. The moment he never thought would come. Someone comes in his life he really likes. He finds himself torn between whether he should allow her to enter into his throne or should he continue to keep her on the outside of the gates. What’s funny is that this behavior is a lot of why women act the way they do. A good woman meets a guarded man only to be put through maximum security clearance and then denied access after she has proven herself to be trustworthy. So she then acts out of frustration and gets labeled “emotional” for simply feeling what she should. I must go on record and say this is not everyone’s life and this is not an article to bash men and their feelings. I understand we are all individuals with our own stories. I’m just simply pointing out a trend I have seen over the years and thought I would shed some light on it.

“They hide behind their fortress of hurt, praying the castle is never threatened.”

I truly believe that if society stopped placing the burden of emotional emptiness on men they would actually be in a stronger place emotionally. I know this seems bias coming from a female therapist, but I stand by the strength of being in tune and standing in an unwanted emotion. Plus I strongly believe men are not as cold hearted as society paints them out to be. Think about it, who is going to guard an icebox? You only guard something that you know is valuable to the person who obtains it. No one gains anything from a cold heart. Someone can gain a lot though from a person who loves hard and unconditionally. See deep down I believe men love harder than women. I believe society has brainwashed us into thinking that women are the only ones capable of loving passionately. Think back to the beginning of time when man was first connected to a woman. Notice Adam was the only one who got excited. He was the only one who expressed his love. Now we know Eve could talk because she had no problem opening her mouth to tell Adam to eat the fruit (thanks a lot by the way Eve). Yet Adam was the one who had no hesitation to express the joy of his new found bride. My point is, men love hard and has always done so. It is in their nature. They find joy when a good woman is by their side. That is probably why they hurt the way they do when heart break strikes. That is probably why they guard their hearts like a maximum federal security prison.

“You only guard something that you know is valuable to the person who obtains it.”

My hope is that one day men will be able to express their true selves without society, especially women, telling them how weak they are for it. A woman cannot expect for a man to give access to his heart if she sees him as society does. A man is looking for a woman who can accept the parts of him that society will never see because it doesn’t understand. Men want to know that if they grant a woman permission into the vault she will be able to handle everything that lies within. Unfortunately because some women have become tainted by the lens of society, they judge a man as society does. This in turn gives the man justification in his guardedness, and sometimes adds another wall for the next person to push through.

“Unfortunately because some women have become tainted by the lens of society, they judge a man as society does.”

I know that a simple blog post is not going to change the minds of society. If it were that simple there would be a lot less chaos going on in the world. I do though hope that this paints men in a different light. I need people to understand that men have feelings. Some are just afraid to express them and aren’t sure how to handle them when they feel them. I do want to urge my Kings to remember that every King needs a Queen. In order for them to successfully reign together he must trust her. Is it a risk, yes. But do not deny a true Queen access because you are afraid. If she has proven herself trusting, then let her in. Queens, please do not judge a King by what the common folk have made him out to be. His kingdom will never be able to paint an accurate picture of him because a true King does not show his inner self to just anyone. Only his most noble of men will have inside information on him. Yet they still will not know him like you could if you would simply show him that you accept what lies in the darkest corridors of his castle. In the end, Kings and Queens accomplish more when they work together. So Kings let down the guards and let the Queens replace them.

The Fear of Love

The idea of falling in love is one that has been romanticized for years. For some it has turned into a goal in which they wish to achieve. Being happily in love gets some people excited, creating a sense of expectancy. While some people are patiently waiting for the day to experience this thing called love, there are others who find themselves filled with anxiety at the thought of it. Society talks about love like it is something everyone is supposed to look forward to. In movies, shows and books love is made to be this thing that everyone is happily seeking. The truth of the matter is, some of us are actually petrified at the thought of what love may bring. The very thought of love brings an exacerbated paranoia that perpetuates our very fear of it. There are of ton of reasons why someone may fear falling in love but I’ll highlight the few I think play a big part in it.

 

You’ve been hurt before…..

I know it’s cliché but let’s be honest, heart break is one of the worst things to experience. How do you explain hurt without any physical pain? Experiencing a horrendous heart break can deter anybody from wanting to give love a try again. We forget that falling in love is a risk. No matter how much a person may love you back. So to expect people to want to volunteer at the chance to be hurt again is not really fair. We have to learn to be patient with people as they heal from those wounds because everyone heals differently. Now this doesn’t mean stay broken and hurt forever. At some point you have to let go of that past pain. It is understandable though why this keeps people from wanting to try again.

 

You’re afraid of what you may find out about yourself…..

Love is one of those things that will have you acting all out of your character. I’m talking doing things that you swore you would never do. Sometimes people are afraid of what they may realize about themselves through love. The other side of this is that falling in love has a way of showing you things about yourself that you never realized were a problem. It has a tendency to dig up all of those insecurities you thought you had dealt with or didn’t even know you had. The idea of having to face all of the things you have tried to bury before has kept many people in fear about love. The key though is to embrace this process. One cannot grow without self-awareness and love will make you VERY aware of yourself. Self-awareness though is scary in itself and that is probably why people tend to fear both.

 

You get comfortable in the search…..

Sometimes in the search for a mate, we find ourselves becoming complacent in the search. We find every reason to discredit every person that enters into our lives because we know if they are indeed “the one,” then we are now leaving unfamiliar territory. When you have been single for a long time, you become comfortable in the very thing you say you want to get out of. You get so used to searching that when the search is over you want to find a reason to keep searching. People fall in love with the search which makes them afraid to fall in love with the person. The other part of becoming comfortable with the search is that it keeps us from having to show ourselves approved. In meeting a good person we know we have to now put into place all the things we’ve been quote on quote “preparing for.” We have to show that we can actually apply all that we’ve learned in the time we’ve been searching. We know it’s not just enough to read every popular book on love and relationships but never put any of that knowledge into action. If we never allow ourselves to love though, we free ourselves from the pressure of having to show we have changed.

 

You don’t understand it…..

Due to the misconceptions society has placed on the subject, many people have a misunderstanding of what love is. History has shown us that people fear what they do not understand. People either equate love with a fairy tale or with tragedy. It can be both but love is deeper than either of those concepts. So many people are afraid of the complex enigmatic properties of love. It is so specific yet so vague. Although there are thousands of books on it there is no true manual. The idea that we just have to jump in and figure it out with the hopes of it working is scary for most. If you do not know what you are doing it makes the chances of failing higher, which ultimately is the root of the fear of love, failure.

What it all boils down to is the idea of love is a scary thing. Yes it is beautiful and has its great moments but you have to get over the initial fear to enjoy the fruits that it bears. Now listen, I am not making excuses for people who are simply using their fear as a crutch to keep from falling in love. I’m just trying to make all you hopeless romantics out there aware that there is a group of people who run from love. The biggest thing is to know these aren’t bad people. They have just been through things that makes love a little less exciting of a concept. The best thing to do is to just be patient with them and validate their feelings while showing them that love isn’t so bad after all.