Love Found Me

  By: Melanie

The past two years of my life I've been fiercely committed to honesty, and realness. I've been working to place those that I love at the center of all that I do, in hopes of achieving better relationships with them, a better understanding of them, and life as a whole. I have also been doing some, "cleaning of my closet," for lack of a better phrase, lately. I've realized more and more in the past year that there have been some things that I desperately needed to change to get my life on a better track. A track that I would be proud of. Early last spring I began cutting off a layer of people that did nothing positive for my life. This was not hard, because I realized that there were young men and women that I kept around me to utilize for my nonproductive ways. These were the people that I would call to "shoot the shit with," smoke weed, watch TV, and go out from time to time. Nothing healthy, important, or productive was coming from our supposed relationships. Thus, I began cutting them off. Some of them I just stopped texting, and sadly that was enough to have some people drop out of my life altogether. Unbeknownst to others, there was another motive behind me cutting individuals out of my life for good.

   When I met him I didn't think much of him, today he is my best friend, partner in "crime," business, artistry, and life. He is the father of my unborn child and future children that are dreams to me. He is my fiance, and the love of my life. He was seemingly just an average man who, I could tell, worked hard and long with his hands all day. He had an athletic build, but seemed small for his stature. He was six foot two, and as dark as a rich Mahogany wood. He was a stern, solemn looking young man, and looked to be about late twenties. I later learned he was going on 33 years old, but his wisdom put him far beyond his years.

I met Jamall in September of 2014, and by February of 2015 not only did I realize I was madly in love with him, but I realized that I was not ready for the relationship that I knew him and I were destined to nurture. I not only had to make internal changes, but I had to make the changes that life had been begging me to make for the past year or so. I let go of the things that no longer was worth my time nor energy. Not because he made me, not because he gave me an ultimatum. 

Did he even know of all these changes I was making to prepare for him? To prepare for our lifetime together? At the time, no. Little did I know, he was working to do the same.

   Now, as a young black woman it is important to note that a lot of people want to be "friends" with you, in order to further their own hidden agendas. In my case men, specifically, wanted my company in the hopes that I would entertain them sexually. They would shower me with compliments, figure out my strengths and weaknesses, and what things interested me, and use that to get close to me.  These 'friends' would probably tell the story differently, but here in my space, this is my story to tell. When taking a young, impressionable woman "out for drinks," "out to eat," or just "out," you have to realize what this may or may not imply. You have to realize that your own intentions may not be evident to the people you allow in your life so it's imperative that you say what you mean off rip!  

   The first person in my purge was a former friend who lived with me for almost 6 months, rent free. He gave me a couple dollars here and there, and shared his food stamps from time to time, and he always seemed to scrounge up money for weed. I guess to him that was enough to pay for his stay. Well, he left sometime in the early months of 2015 and I was evicted in May. I remember the day they changed the locks. Jamall was coming to sleep over my apartment and my keys would not work in my bedroom door, nor in the front door of the apartment. I would have been embarrassed, and lost about what to do but Jamall was kind and helped me through the whole ordeal. I wasn't even ashamed in the slightest. I did have the money to pay the back rent I owed, but the management company had refused to take it at that point, they just wanted me out of the apartment immediately. I left, and by the grace of God I knew a lady with extra space in a home she rented for activism purposes, and she allowed me to stay there for a couple of months during the summer. I started searching for a place to stay, and Jamall finally asked me to move in with him. To find a place for us to move into together.

I said no at first, skeptical at the idea of having to depend on another person, especially a man, to help me make ends meet.

   Plus, was this really it? Was this the man I wanted to marry? (Now I know, I know, he didn't propose. But I was serious about this. I figured the next man I fall for was either a potential husband or nothing, to me.) I told him that I didn't think it would be a good idea. He said, "okay", and we left it at that. He didn't ask me to explain myself or anything. I lost my part time job, due to a loss of funding at the non-profit, soon after my eviction. I had a couple thousand dollars saved up so I knew I could at least pay first and last months rent plus a security deposit. The rest I was hoping to just figure out as time went by. A few weeks of unsuccessful apartment hunting went by and Jamall asked me again. This time, after my 'this isn't a good idea' spiel, he calmly asked me, "and why not?"

I calmly said, " Look, I've played house before, and it didn't go well."  Nightmares from my drawn out 'relationship' from last year resurfaced. 

He then said, "we aren't playing...are you?" He then followed that up with, "there's nothing play play about this, when it comes to you I'm for real. Are you playing?"

At this point i'm thinking, God please do not steer me wrong, I understand everything is meant to be a lesson, and boy have I learned from last years experiences! And I told Jamall, "no I am not playing, I am in love with you."

From there he was like, "okay then, let's do it", and I said "okay", and we haven't looked back since.

   Around the time I met Jamall, I broke out of this cocoon I'd built around me for three years and began taking risks. There were so many uncertainties but I thought, if I can't follow my own heart, who can I lead? I decided I would talk to Jamall, and get to know his story, and his struggles. He seemed open, willing, and patient, so I figured why not? Never did I imagine that he would end up being the love of my life.