Tonight, for the second time I watched Crazy Rich Asians…and for the first time it struck me in a way I hadn’t expected.
The love story is beautiful of course, but it’s a tale as old as time…for me Astrid’s story was far more interesting, and far more important.
Do me a favor, and before I’m even done, share this post if you have ever made yourself feel “less” to impress those around you.
Leave a comment if those people you’ve tried to impress by being less of yourself, were male.
I do that a lot, which is interesting when I consider the fact that not only am I a proud Black woman, I used to be a Confident Proud Black Woman.
For the last year of my life I’ve found myself conforming and confirming to every idea that some very toxic people had of me.
I lost weight – more than eighty pounds in less than six months, largely because I was smoking weed, mixed with crystal weed and not eating, not realizing what it was I was putting into my body.
Largely because I believed that smoking weed would help me with my anxiety, which is interesting because until 2018, I didn’t have a lot of anxiety.
Not until the memories of my past childhood, teenage and early adult started to haunt me…not until I started to think about this boy that I used to love.
He hated my weight, and he hated that I wore a pentacle, he loathed that I didn’t always have my nails done, and I wasn’t always wearing sexy clothing with heels. I didn’t care back then, but this past year with everything going on, I started to realize that I was forming myself into someone he might finally approve of, because with all the chaos I wanted the comfort of something I knew how to do.
Be someone I wasn’t.
I have in my past hung out with Sex Workers, Drug Dealers and some of the worst kinds of humans the world has to offer, and 2018 was spent more than not, trying to find a way to return to that world, largely because it was all I knew, for far too long.
I forgot that entering that world hadn’t really been by choice, it wasn’t because I thought to myself “Drug dealers are so cool I want to spend all my time with them,” I ended up in that world because I was mourning the life I should have had, with a man who died years after we got to spend exactly thirteen minutes with him.
I ended up in that life, because I was abused as a child, and I was then thrown through the cracks by teachers and adults who largely didn’t care about me, and then I found a boy who I remembered and loved from my past, who had turned into a cold, calculating manipulative man, and try as I did, I was still never good enough for him.
We have a habit of doing that, returning to things that are comfortable when we’ve been abused, especially when we are stressed or anxious, because being around what we know feels safe…even if “safe” is really just a twisted version of something incredibly dangerous.
There was a part of me when I was watching Surviving R Kelly, that reminded me of how even when things were at the worst, I still felt safe around him, comfortable and happy in his presence, and yet he’s the most awful kind of human, because he knew that and took advantage of it, because he could.
For no other reason, then the fact that he could.
One of the last things he said to me when we saw each other more than three or four years ago was “don’t get fat”, and all I could think this year is “I love him and if I lose weight maybe he’ll notice.”
Who the fuck does that?
Minds that are not healthy, because your focusing on someone else as if he’s suddenly going to change and be the romantic charming guy everyone thinks he is, even though he’s a pompous ponce who only ever cares about what people think, instead of being his true self.
I’m over it.
I am so over it. I don’t nor have I ever been the kind of person who cared about what people thought about me, but I was so stressed out and anxious last year, that all I wanted was something that felt comfortable, something that I was used to.
If I could be accepted back in that world, I could find my balance again, I could find a way to exist and deal with all my shit…largely by getting drunk and letting the boys do the ritual all over again, because that’s what would have happened.
Today Puff Daddy, or Diddy or whatever the hell his name is, I don’t follow him really, said “Evolve or Repeat.”
Interestingly those are the most profound words I’ve heard in a very long time. I remember those days in my life, I remember how awful and miserable I felt every night watching the girls critique the women on stage. I remember sitting beside my love, wishing he’d notice me, watching him treat the women around him like arm candy, largely because he was well liked, largely because he insulted every single one of them to his face.
Largely because he never did that to me…except once. “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” he asked me once, I laughed, seriously, “I don’t know, who am I talking to?” he’d never been stern, rude or angry with me before, and I didn’t quite like it, and I let him know he wasn’t going to push me around.
That was when things started to crumble…when I was no longer the doting friend who insulted his sister, and trashed the girls he didn’t like, when I no longer kissed his ass and told him how great I thought he was, suddenly I wasn’t worthy of being in his presence any more.
That’s not just the behavior of a narcissist, it’s the behavior of a child, and I’m not interested in being a mother for a man whose well into his thirties or forties, who should be trying to do more with his life then sitting in an almost always strip club selling fake or cheap dope to whichever dumbass is stupid enough to put baking soda up their noses.
I’m no longer interested in a man whose only focus is making as much money as possible while treating people like they are beneath him because he is “Roma” and there for can do whatever he wants, because no one will ever call him on his shit.
My mother used to say she was always proud of me largely because I never needed a man to survive, the ironic thing is that I’ve spent my entire life trying to find “the one”, meanwhile the jackass is sitting in front of my face, or down on his knees and I can’t notice because I’m too busy trying to swim through the river of bullshit that is “Roma Tradition.”
Roma Tradition sucks.
We women in the Roma world aren’t expected to go to school or have dreams, especially if we’re dark skinned. We’re supposed to want to get married, have babies, stay at home and let our men do whatever and whoever they want no matter how it makes us feel because “women folk”.
However, as a Loud Mouth Brown Girl, I can honestly tell you, that’s not only so not my style, it’s also a waste of my fucking life.
I’ve spent my entire life being exactly what my grandfather, what my people wanted me to be, because I wasn’t strong enough to say “fuck off” cut the strings and walk away, and whats worse is I have literally nothing to show for it.
I do not have a vast inheritance, I do not have a house or hell even a job, my bank account has a negative balance, and all I can think is…what exactly did I do to deserve this?
Oh right, I agreed to stand by my man, and protect him, even when he was obviously not ready to be the husband I was promised, and certainly not man enough to let his balls drop and get a real life, I let myself become less “me”, to lift him up, for what?
What a stinking waste of time…except for one thing.
In Roma households, in fact in Krisya we have another tradition, it’s called simply “The Challenge,” if you win your challenge you can ask the universe and your family for anything in the world.
Some girls get to go off and become singers, others get to travel the world, some get huge fat bank accounts and the man of their dreams.
All I wanted was the freedom to marry the man I want to marry without needing permission, well…I won my challenge.
My challenge was to survive this stupid ass challenge, and I did that. I spent years being less of myself, letting people walk all over me just to prove that no matter how many times I was cut, burned, raped, beaten, drugged or tortured I would survive.
Guess what fuck nuts? I’m still here and much like Astrid I am done pretending to be less of myself in order to satisfy some stupid ass Roma tradition that says I have to marry a man whose basically my cousin, just because he was the stupid ass dumb enough to kiss me in front of the entire family.
My entire “family” saw what he did to me, saw what he put me through, sat back and waited to see if I would do what I promised to do…which was to protect them, I did that.
I let myself be beaten, raped, tortured again, and I kept the secret of our connection, of how we were related and why I loved him so much, I kept his name completely off this website and as far as the world knows he does not exist in my circle.
I am now finished with my challenge, and at the ripe old age of 35 I am officially free to marry the person I love, IF and when “I” choose, on MY terms, on THEIR terms, without the former aforementioned person having any say in it what so ever.
The rules that other Roma girls have to follow do not any longer apply to me. I won, they lost, and here’s what they’ve lost Johnny.
The chance to be a part of my life, much like Astrid I’m walking out on my “husband” and I refuse to look back, if only because I spent twenty-two years waiting for him to grow up and I am officially done.
I have to end this post by saying that I have found, or well, been found, by a particular amazingly awesome person, who some of you may know, others may not have heard of…if you’re living under a fucking rock, and this person is pretty damned awesome.
They are the kind of person that appreciate me, baggage and all, they don’t care what color my nails are, or whether or not my hair is straight or curly, they don’t care if I dress perfectly all the time, or ….okay they hate my smoking, but that’s fine, I can live with that because I WILL be quitting that too…eventually.
The point is, that you and I, all of us, need to stop looking backward because it’s comfortable, and start doing all the things that terrify us. Because why wouldn’t you be free if you could be?
After everything we’ve been through, don’t you think that we deserve to decide who gets to be in our life, instead of letting everyone and anyone in our lives because we’re told that’s what “family” does?
I don’t have a huge amount of experience with family, but if I learned anything from Crazy Rich Asians, it’s this: Family isn’t about who has the most money, or the best clothes, it’s about letting people into your world who accept you as you are, regardless of what others think about them.
If you don’t want me in your family, there’s a pretty damned good chance, that I’m not interested in being in your family.
So with that all being said, you can officially start calling me the “Balls to the Walls, Crazy Loud Mouth Brown Girl Bitch,” I’ll take that title proudly Brandon, if it means I never again have to listen to you tell me how you wish things had been different.
I wish they’d been different too, but my “family” made their choice and now I’m making mine. If you want to be in my family from here on out? Earn your place. You’re the Goje’s now and I’m the Krisya.
Peace and love y’all,
Devon J Hall