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Systems of Support.


by La Vonda R. Staples

Sometimes I don?t think I took enough time to think why someone selected me to be their friend, lover, or associate.? I should have.? It seems as if I was always just happy to be wanted or needed that I never questioned why.? Once in a circle, or assigned to a role, for some reason, I was determined to stay ?on the job.?? I was so afraid of failure that I didn?t mind losing.? Today,? I examine opportunities and it seems as if the things freely given are those which have the greatest cost in the long run.? Play now, pay later.? Today I honour my time.? I don?t have to grab onto the first piece of little ol? nothing that comes along.? I am a prize and I do believe that it?s a great thing to have me around.? I?m not talking about conceit.? This is a lesson I had to learn about settling.

To be settled is not a bad thing.? My granma always taught me to be suspicious of folks who are always at somebody else?s house.? ?What you payin? a mortgage for if you cain?t stay at yo? own residence??? Gotta be something wrong in that home.?? Unh hunh, my granma was a prodigious clocker of human behavior.? She had to be.? She was first lady of the church (the pastor?s wife) and she had to know how to balance the two stories she heard into the one story which might faintly resemble the truth.

I?ve heard so many girls say to me, ?ooh, my man don?t mind my weight? and ?he loves me big? and ?He say he don?t care about all these hours I?m working.? My man can?t stand a lazy woman.? ?Yeah. But the skinny girl I saw him with last week only works part-time.? There?s a reason why we get picked for certain jobs and there?s a reason why we shut our eyes to the truth.? You have to wonder why an educated and more than gainfully employed would allow some recently turned 21 year old man with a criminal record to sleep on her couch and eat her food.? Why wouldn?t she at least try to bring him up?? I see and I don?t see.? I hear and I don?t hear.? I try to think that folks ways and means are altruistic.? But every time I see one of my physically fit Nubian kings running around with a girl who?s tipping the scales at three and fo? hunnud I have to shake the negative thoughts out of my head.? I re-place it with two things.? 1.? It?s none of my business.? 2.? They love each other.? I say this while I mentally give my negative common sense a few lashes with my whip.

I had to realize that sometimes I got picked to be on someone?s team because my love was free.? It came without conditions or standards. ?I had to realize that I was in this situation or that situation because I had given master classes in just how to mistreat me.? I have had the experience of going out with someone for years and getting a phone call one day, ?Baby, I can?t see you anymore.? I?m getting married.?? Before you call me stupid know this:? it was in the days before cell phones and I called him and he called me.? We were at a point where I went to his house without calling first.? And we were VERY intimate.? I spent a long time thinking I was stupid and feeling sorry for myself.? I was basically the reason he could present himself as a gentleman to that poor girl he married.? But come on nah, game recognize game, and you know he didn?t stop that pattern once he got married.? He stopped seeing me but he did get in touch with me many years later to apologize.? And oh yeah, to ask me if I could meet him somewhere.? I declined.

I have to tell you something.? You don?t have to spend your time with anyone who makes you feel bad, is toxic, or just is a plain old Debbie Downer or a Negative Nate.? You don?t.? You don?t owe anyone your time on this Earth.? Black folks in America, we get conditioned to say, ?that?s still yo momma? and ?that?s still yo daddy.?? Hell, what if your mama?s sitting ?round the house smoking crack and selling children into slavery?? She might be your mama but you don?t owe her your time (and the same applies for all of you out there who are getting hit up for casino money).? And your fathers who never gave you the time of day?? Make a relationship if it does no harm.? Stress kills.? Animosity kills.? Negativity saps the life and creativity of the strongest creature.? Why take yourself into the darkness for no good reason?

I had to examine why I had two phones constantly ringing.? I had to examine why I got invited to every party even though I?d end up drunk and not remembering what happened.? I had to examine why they called my name when I stepped into the club.? I was entertainment.? A thing.? No one called to ask how I was doing.? And the same guy who I thought I was so close to?? If I would have had an ounce of self-respect I would have dropped him long before that phone call.? You see I got down on my luck and I had three small children.? I asked him to pick up a gallon of milk for me.? He said, ?call they daddy.?? The same man who would have put anything I wanted? which would have hurt me in my hand flatly refused to buy my three children a 2.50 gallon of milk (this was a long time ago).? And later, I would realize, the same girlfriends who would call me and tell me how beautiful and smart I was wouldn?t even vouch for me to get a minimum wage job.? Even though they had done the same thing and more for strangers.? I had to realize my roles in the lives of these people.? I was a source they came and took from and never made a deposit back in the back.? Today, I don?t have a cell phone.? And my land line rings only for those who truly care about me (or the student loan people).

A whole lot of living has gone into these words I write to you.? A lot of time which on this day, I cannot say has been wasted.? I have strength and courage to enjoy my own self by myself.? I have gained wisdom throughout my existence and I would be so wrong not to reveal to you the lessons of my life.? Be well.? And always examine the support you provide.? What role you play.? And if there is a deposit commensurate with the withdrawals of your life, love and time.


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