by Stefanie Fuentes-Kumnipa
Via the ‘old school’ way of communication, ‘the grapevine,’ aka bochinche, I was informed that my ex, who also happens to be my former domestic violence partner (allegedly) is now a doting father and a loving, ‘I now keep my hands to myself,’ husband. I’d be lying to you through your screen if I said that I believed any of this or was initially happy for him, her, or the children. I immediately sucked my teeth, rolled my eyes into the back of my head and dramatically began to compose a PSA to the world, detailing his shortcomings.
Yes, my humanity had been activated.
I can admit that I was jealous, and my first thought was to assassinate his character to anyone who was willing to listen or view it when I posted it on online.
“Why do you even care, Stefanie? So many years have passed; you’ve moved on, you’re happy, married to another man, you’ve healed, grown and evolved. You watch Super Soul Sunday with mother Oprah every week; you meditate; you don’t drink the entire bottle of wine anymore….most of the time; and you are now a boujee New York socialite (in your head). So why are you so mad?”
Why was the thought of him being a better person so hard for me to comprehend? Was it hard to believe, or is it that I felt no other women deserved what I fought (literally and figuratively) to get and never did?
I allowed my ego and emotions to have their moment in the spotlight and finish their tantrum. Then, my compassion, maturity, wisdom and logic finally made an appearance. “If I’m not the same person I was when we were together many moons ago and had grown, why couldn’t he?” If my husband isn’t currently in a relationship with the wounded, hot-headed, young lady with daddy issues and little to no self-esteem that my ex then knew, could it be that his wife isn’t in a relationship with the damaged, abusive, borderline alcoholic, immature young man he once was?
My deep level of thinking temporarily stumped me, but it didn’t stop there.
“Would it make you happy if you found out he was gay instead of him loving another woman the way you feel he should have loved you? And why aren’t you thrilled that another woman was being treated well – and loved?”
BOOM! Mind blown.
After two glasses of wine, a failed attempt at journaling, some Mary J Blige (because MJB is necessary) and another glass of wine, it became apparent that my vexation was about my role as ‘opening act.’ An ‘opening act,’ as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is a “warm-up act, or supporting act is an entertainment act (musical, comedic, or otherwise), that performs before the featured act, or “headliner.” All the rehearsal and practice, the performance’s, the sweat, tears and sometimes blood I put into waiting for this man to show up as grown up, all for this new broad to receive the VIP benefits of the headliner. HELL NO! I don’t deserve that. I put up with all of his Bullshit and his families too.
Where is the guy that had all the excuses, who told all the lies, and defined love as control and force? The nerve of someone growing up and becoming an adult after being so immature, reckless and damaging with and to me. Don’t get me started on the rudeness of the new Mrs., for not seeking me out and sending me a thank you card for molding and shaping her new beloved into a man of substance for her. “I deserve a reward for being his emotional and physical punching bag, so she didn’t have to,” my ego yelled to me over and over again. Cue Meghan Trainor’s ‘Credit.’
I wish growth and reaching this altitude of understanding were as fun and simple as listening to the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, sipping (or gulping) wine, and temporary breakdowns. I wish it was as easy as how it works out in the movies, like what happened with Steve and Miranda on Sex and The City, The Movie. They were headed for divorce and, heeding the advice of their therapist, took some time apart to evaluate their relationship. If the two were interested in staying married, they had to meet on The Brooklyn Bridge on a set date and time. While Miranda was filling her legal pad with the many reasons why Steve wasn’t worthy of her boss lady presence, she, too, had an ‘A-HA moment’ – she had also broken her vows in various ways.
Though Miranda is a fictional character and doesn’t share my storyline, watching her take self-inventory and ownership of her thoughts, actions and the role she played in the breakdown of her marriage (and choosing forgiveness) inspired me to do the same.
Will watching a movie help you find the closure you’re craving? Maybe. Maybe not. This level of emotional freedom requires much more than a flick. What can help guide you to happy is being open to receiving understanding and being aware of the gifts that are delivered in unexpected packages. Our growth is immediately paralyzed when we focus on the past pain we allowed and participated in, instead of celebrating the possible evaluation of others along with our own. Dissecting your feelings until you understand the reasoning behind those feelings can shift some of the anger, hurt and disappointment. Acknowledging your truth can help you celebrate the growth that came at your emotional, physical spiritual and mental expense.
Because everyone has the right and ability to change.
Everyone should have their progress respected and acknowledged. And everyone is someone’s ‘Opening Act,’ except a select few, who fell in deep love early on and stayed there. We’ll set the stage and embrace the boo’s until the main act rushes in and reaps the rewards of our warm up. It’s annoying as fuck. It hurts. It’s not easy. It doesn’t seem fair. But it is life – and it’s OKAY! The next woman is someone’s daughter, sister, friend, and mother, and she deserves happiness too. You contributed to her happiness and sanity in some way. Just think about how many women may have possibly contributed to your happiness by being your boyfriend or husbands opening act. How many edible arrangements and flower bouquets should we all be sending out?
My ego and I are no longer jealous; we now laugh at the thought of wasting any mental space because someone picked up what we once threw away. Because of my presence, someone on this planet is experiencing happiness. And that woman deserves and has every right to focus on who her husband is now, in the present, and not who he was with me yesterday, who I was yesterday – the opening act who allowed herself to start the show without a contract and little to no fee.