Try A Little Tenderness

It’s been nine months since my husband and I separated. In that time I have printed and filled out divorce papers twice, with the full intent to file. I went through an entire emotional process: blocking his contact information (social media, cell phone, work number, emails), deleted all photographical remnants of our time together; like an electronic saging, listened to a carefully crafted playlist of songs that co-signed my emotions so that I could cry my very last tear. Songs on this list include Beyonce’s Me, Myself & I, Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor, and an absolute breakup classic, Bust Your Windows by Jazmine Sullivan. Our story isn’t unlike any other. We met and fell in love QUICK, like hello, how are you, let’s get married next Thursday quick.

I was asked during a marriage counseling session what drew me to my husband. My answer, his eagerness, willingness and ability to take care of my sons. The day after we became official, my car, Eb’ny, broke down on the side of 195. I called everyone in my contacts list for assistance. I called him, on his day off, and he came; armed with jumper cables and a gallon of water. My car stayed on the road, he, in. A very Olivia Pope manner, made calls to his people to get it handled. He was my ride. Toting my sons and I to for school and work, then back to Killeen. He was so unfazed at this level of chaos and constant go that was my life. He went to my son’s well check appointments, the next day after my car had to be left on the side of the highway. He picked us up, drove to Austin, walked into the doctor’s office. My baby boy was a nervous wreck about the impending shots he was getting. My then-boyfriend beard hugged him and gave him so much assurance, wiped his tears. My son gripped onto him. I captured that sweet, sincere moment. That was the first time since my teenage sons and I had someone there at these well checks. I usually am sitting in a chair balancing the paperwork, my camera, my purse and snacks, referring a disagreement between the boys. But that day I didn’t have too. He gave me comfort while comforting my baby boy. The doctor even referred to him as “dad”. We all exchange a look and laughed it off quietly. That day, I fell in love with him. It was seeing all that he needed to be for my son in that moment, coupled with him having his life inconveniently disrupted and him being unfazed. As if he had read the book of Talia, and was cool about all the peak and valleys that exist within me.

We took a marital time out. It was tough, but necessary. Of all the realizations I came to, an important one is I don’t want to know life without my husband. We have such a natural rhythm. It’s comforting. I can be my absolute self around him, and he accepts it. All of it. He doesn’t make any quiet suggestions on ways I need to change, cause he likes me just as I am. And damnit that’s dope. That’s some Beyonce’ Flaws And All stuff. Getting dressed is the best part of my day. My husband become a bit like Tim Gunn helping me go through my creative process of crafting the look of the day then turns total Flava Flav and hypes me up. Takes pics for my social media posts. But not just snaps and says “looks good babe”, he sets the scene, adds props, suggests poses. We have dance beaks ANYWHERE. We’ve pulled off the side of parking lots when our song, Anthony Hamilton’s Best of Me, and danced the entire song through. Crowd watching, picture taking, but we stayed in tune with each other. That’s literally how he dropped me off at work one day. The next aha from my marital timeout was the acknowledgement of designing a marriage suitable for us and being okay with what works for won’t be agreeable to others. There is blame abandon hurt on both sides of our marriage. There is also forgiveness and reconciliation. I value who my husband is and what he brings to my life. What we put one another through broke us but not beyond repair. We are finding was of communication that work best for us, finding way of intimacy that suit our life, working on co-parenting that is effective for our family. It’s our marriage and we are responsible for making it work for us. I reflect on the union of the Smith’s (Will and Jada) and amidst all the controversy, public scrutiny and discussion, they have designed their marriage in a way that works for them, public opinion be damned. #BadMarriageForLife

We are at a better place. Not where we were in the beginning, I don’t want to go back there. I missed my best friend and I have him back now. I walk with ease and grace, tempering myself in those heated moments. I am prayerful for our marriage and for others. Marriage is by far the hardest thing in life yet it has the greater reward.

Cinco de Married. My husband and I on our wedding day May 5th at the Big Top Candy Shop.

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