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So it’s been almost a month since Jay-Z released his thirteenth, critically acclaimed studio recording. As a person who only briefly wandered through a phase of listening to rap and hip-hop, I love 4:44 from beginning to end and back again. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about all the dust that was kicked surrounding the allusions to infidelity…the uproar that ensued over the topic of trials and tribulations that women often endure in relationships, and last but not least the pains of breaking up. Soooo…it’s about 11:59pm and I think the dust has settled. This post is about 4:43.

At the end of the day, my question is (well my questions are, rather): Regrets…HOW MANY OF US HAVE THEM? Why can so many of us (women especially) relate to 4:43? Why do we invest SO much heart, time, body, and soul into men? Where are the timelines, i.e. how long is too long to be with someone before realizing we’re giving more than we will EVER get out of them? Most importantly, what can we do to change this narrative?

I have been through the heartache of break-ups, and yes breaking up is HARD to do. But after going through the rinse and repeat rigmarole of recycled relationships, I will speak for myself when I say this: it’s ok to kick and cry a little once it’s over, but eventually, you gotta get over that sh…STUFF! Did it hurt to see the man that I longed for so deeply propose to someone else? Uhhh duh. Did I feel inadequate and unworthy? Sho ’nuff. However, sometimes things just don’t work out. And sometimes, that’s because they aren’t supposed to. There are usually (not always, but usually) signs that we are out of pocket.  We can’t plant our seeds of love, time, and energy into bad soil and expect a healthy tree to grow.  At this point in my life, I will NOT complain about any of the time that I can’t get back. Essentially, it was time, love, and energy that I CHOSE to give. I was HAPPY to give it, KNOWING that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t get to reap the “benefits” of it later. Time is one of the few gifts that comes with no gift receipts. Why aren’t we more selective in who we are giving our “all” to? ‘They” say we should never lend what we can’t afford to lose. “They” are usually referring to money, but the same applies with love.

I think sometimes we romanticize and make an idol of time. We aren’t even in love with the person so much as we are with the idea that we’ve already invested so much time and energy in them. It’s the comfort of familiarity, and I get that. It’s also the resentment of putting in work, just for that man to use what you taught him elsewhere. Above all that though, I’m a hopeless romantic that knows that if I didn’t get a full ROI from my past relationships, I’m certainly going to get my due just from somewhere else. Just like he did 🙂 We don’t always reap where we sow. I spent so much time harboring bitterness over a bad harvest, and I could have been using that energy to prepare myself for a better crop. Well, now I know.

I spent many years, on and off, investing in a fixer-upper thinking: “I’ve already invested this much time, I’m not letting go now. Next time, will be the best time, will be the right time.” Was it worth it? Yes and no. I think we both left with something of value. Yet and still, I’ve since declared that I’m not here for anymore project n****s. Come correct, or not at all. I’m willing to work with you, but you gotta give me something to work with. There is a difference between “anything worth having is worth fighting for” and “fighting futile fights for the sake of time already spent”. Like with any and every other important life altering decision, it takes the wisdom to know what that difference is. For me, I had to take many blinding elements out of the equation to clear my bank of discernment. We can’t do things our own way, resting on our own laurels, and then get mad at the results of our choice. Love is a choice. Love is not selfish.  So if you’re CHOOSING to love someone, it should be without selfish ambition. You can wallow in whatever once was, and all that it will never be. Or you can glow the eff up and receive all the greatness that’s coming for you thanks to the bullet you dodged with that other person. And finally, love is a gamble. We have to accept that. Or, not lol. It’s really up to you.

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