“I don’t think it’s meant to be, be/But she loves her work more than she does me/And honestly, at twenty-three/I would probably love my work more than I did she”-Sean Carter
The second verse to Jay Z’s “Lost Ones” summed up a relationship I had perfectly. Technically it wasn’t really a relationship; but it was. I don’t believe that the titles girlfriend or boyfriend are what make relationships official. Often they put restrictions, limitations, expectations which all result in disappointment. If there is a dynamic, give and take, tons of fighting over miscommunication, and when things go awry a need to make amends–that is in fact a relationship.
Anyways, in said relationship, this verse was our dynamic. I was on my phone scrolling through Instagram one night and someone I followed had posted part of this verse on my timeline. It was on the tip of my tongue but I couldn’t quite place what song it came from. As soon as I realized it was Jay Z’s ‘Lost Ones,’I listened to it over and over again. One afternoon I listened to it during the hour-long train ride from Long Island to Harlem, another forty minutes from Harlem to Brooklyn, from Brooklyn back to Midtown Manhattan, and the forty-two minute train ride back home (I traveled a lot that day). In a moment of reflection, Mr. Carter said everything I wanted to say to my significant other. He even started it with what I would constantly say to myself: I don’t think it’s meant to be. Given her busy schedule and how hectic my life is, this was, and is it.
“So we, ain’t we/It’s me, and her/’Cause what she prefers over me, is work/And that’s, where we, differ/So I have to give her free, time, even if it hurts”
I think drive and ambition are attractive qualities. This woman’s desire to make her dreams come true is one of her best ones. I think it’s sexy. Her pursuit of her aspirations made me want to push even harder to make mine happen. I wanted to make almost anything she wanted to happen come true. I appreciated that. Her work ethic made me want to work harder. Even if things were to work out one day, she would never know how much of an influence she’d been on me.
Everything happens in the right season. When you truly love someone you put their needs before yours. At a very low period in my life, I needed something more than she could give: time. Normally I’m not picky on how that time can be given. However, at this particular point I let it be known that more or less I was in dire straits and required a break from my stress. Even if it was just for an hour or two. I was never expecting the world from her. Even the strongest people have moments when they need a soft place to lay their head. I had been through a lot over since 2010 and I really needed a hug and encouraging word. Everyone needs to feel loved and it coming from her would have meant everything. I got to a point where I realized that this just wasn’t going to happen. I told her in a very blunt fashion how I felt and needless to say she didn’t receive it well. I stopped asking because I felt that her space to process things was more important than my need to get away from the stresses of my own life. It hurt like hell; but love is all about sacrificing one’s self.
“So breathe, mami, it’s deserved/You’ve been put on this earth to be/All you can be, like the reserves/And me? My time in the army, it’s served/So I have to allow she, her, time to serve”
I feel like I have paid a good portion of my dues in life. There will always be adversity and people are constantly evolving. After all I had been through, by the time she and I had started hanging out I was self-actualized and aware of whom Chad Milner was. The twenties are almost all about finding one’s identity and well, selfish. It’s the time when we are first learning how to make things happen on our own, make mistakes where they aren’t very costly, really figure out who we are, and what we want. I know all of these things about myself. I still am a piece of work but I do know what works for me and what doesn’t. She still needs this time to do so. She in fact deserves to get on her feet and make herself the best person that she can be. That way she’ll be able to properly serve whoever has the good fortune that she has chosen them as her husband.
“The time’s now for her/In time she’ll mature/And maybe we, can be, we, again like we were”
If you love something enough, you have to let it go. Sometimes it comes back. Jay Z said all of this as a way of saying: We all need time to grow up. It’s the “I’ll put this in my back pocket until things work out” philosophy. Me? I am the kind of person that makes things happen. She is the kind of person that would rather wait for things to happen organically. My friend Kofi said our dispute over this matter was about “Finding middle ground [so that] things would be beautiful.” That in itself is something that takes time. I wouldn’t want to be like we were; I’d want to be better. In June of 2013 I was leaving her place and I had my arms around her. I had just finished reading some of her work that had detailed failed relationships and she said with a coy smile on her face “I’m going to have to write about you one day.” In a moment of reassurance I told her that I wasn’t going anywhere….I still meant that even if I do for a minute. I was saying without saying it that even on the bad days I will always find a reason to keep coming back.
No matter how much we clashed we would always be there for each other. Going back to the day I was blunt, and we got into a fight; she had to catch a flight to Atlanta right after work. We calmed down after a few hours and attempted to talk out some of our issues. That night I was about to break down. Cydney was crying and yelling in my ear for hours. I couldn’t take it anymore. I yelled at Cydney “What do you want?!” I immediately felt bad that I had snapped and I could see it in Cydney’s face that she was hurt. I sent a long series of text messages to a couple of my friends who were single parents. I wasn’t sure if I was going to forward it to my girl because things had been heated between us all day. However, something inside of me said “do it.” I turned my phone off and slept until about 1 pm the next day.
When I powered my phone back on I saw text messages from my friends I had reached out to. They asked if I was alright. They said that as single parents they’ve been there before. My friend Morgan even asked me if I’d reached out to my girl. While everyone else sent text messages, my girl called, left a voicemail saying she’d try again, called two more times, then left a text saying she’d been trying to reach me. Like I said, even if I’m going away I’m not going anywhere…
“Finally, my time’s too short to share/And to ask her now, it ain’t fair/So yeah, she lost one”
I too am a busy person. However, I’m never too busy to make time. Conflicting schedules and lifestyles require a lot of giving. We both did what we could. Everyone has needs and more often than not, having them met requires the other to give in a way that they don’t think they currently have the capacity for. Arguments would ensue often because while we were doing the best that we could, it wasn’t enough or what the other person wanted. What we really needed was to spend more time together. Her work life is hectic and so is my home life. However, it wasn’t wrong to ask for more but it wasn’t fair to expect more. We would often stew in our own thoughts thinking that we were doing the other a favor by not saying what was really on our minds. It got frustrating. When we would be at the brink of being at each other’s throats we would both back off– we cared too much to say something hurtful [yet]. In an effort to be fair we both needed to just breathe for a moment.
…She didn’t lose one and neither did I. We’re still friendswho argue a lot. The truth is that’s more important than anything.