A Seat At The Table And How I’ve Accepted My Fuckboi Riddled-Past

Late last Thursday, Solange Knowles, of the famous and formidable Knowles Clan, released her sophomore album A Seat At The Table. It’s another effort from an otherworldly talented artist that proves that, when talking about Solange and what she contributes as an artist, she should is to be mentioned in a separate context (and maybe even several paragraphs removed) from Beyonce. I can’t quite articulate the exact confluence of factors that brought it to the forefront of my mind and made it my constant obsession for days, but it was while listening to this album that I got a glimpse of how hard it is to be unapologetically female in America. I Yes, the album had focused more on the Black Woman’s perspective, but the themes and elements sat squarely on the shoulders of the fairer sex. Granted, I can only see this through the lens of a man so I can only refer to my experiences with women and how I’ve treated them. I don’t want to give the impression that I can detail the nuances and minutiae present in every day for a female, but I can give some glimpse into how your actions as a man can affect women who choose, despite all evidence to contrary, to love you. Or even just know you. And, like most things when I allow my mind to run with it like Lindsay Lohan at a jewelry store, I had to reflect on the poor choices I’ve made throughout my life. Poor decisions that could very well outnumber the good and serve as an indicator of the poor state of a man I can be. So, to make my mistakes immortal and to prove to myself that no amount of forward thinking can erase a nigga’s sorry past, I’ve decided to share some of my shitty rationale with whoever is interested in wasting a few minutes of their lives.

Once, in the halcyon days of Pre-K, I threw sand in the eyes of a girl whom I secretly had a crush on, but unfortunately, she was more fond of my best friend, Tyson. I finished my regrettably prescient exhibition of the fragile male ego by calling her Stink Butt. It took me 5 hours to find her Facebook information, manufacture some transparent but seemingly offhand reason for coming across her name and then messaging her after a solid 24 years of no contact, and apologize profusely. She seemed thoroughly confused but accepted my apology anyways. I suspect she thinks I’m unstable.

When I was in the 5th grade, I had managed to charm my way into the heart of someone then considered the finest redbone girl in class: Brenda. She was pretty because she’s mixed with East Indian and African American, so you know she had that good hair plus the cultural dexterity of an ethnically navigable Magellan. We remained together throughout the infancy of our relationship all the way through the honeymoon phase until we had finally emerged stronger than ever in the latter days of our relationship. (This was the 5th grade so keep in mind that all of this occurred within a weeks period. If you were still dating the same person come weekly spelling bee matches, then you guys were essentially husband and wife.) However, one fateful morning, she had seen me loan some other chick my mechanical pencil for an upcoming test and, according to the rules of elementary school, this was grounds for a breakup. Taken aback by the arbitrary nature in which I was dumped, I decided it would be well within my rights to lie and tell my friends that she had given sloppy hand jobs to three guys during the video cassette showing of Schindler’s List. So, in the naive yet quick to judge eyes of preteens, that was like a double whammy of anti-Semitism and slut-shaming. Consequently, she had taken a lot of heat and downright malicious behavior from those that found my unsubstantiated rumor mongering funny and though she went on to be academically successful throughout her tenure at our school, she was never as social as she once was and immediately transferred to another school the next town over after that year. There are honestly no words at my disposal to express the shame that I feel for putting her through that, and I can’t say I’ve found the confidence within myself to reach out to her and apologize.

More than a few years ago, I was in a long-term relationship with a woman we’ll call Tammy. Tammy was every bit as earnest and giving with her affections as I was naive and emotionally distanced due to some unfounded notion of masculinity. While we both had our longstanding issues that needed to be addressed before we had even considered holding hands much less start a relationship, the blame falls on me for its dissolution. I am not mincing words when I say that back then every fiber of my being was organically grown and harvested from the purest fuck boi fertilizer Chris Brown’s School of Agriculture had ever produced. I lied, hid significant aspects and parts of my life from the woman who was sharing my bed, and when those lies came to the fore and I was confronted with truths I so desperately tried to bury, I doubled down like a coke-addled gambler in Atlantic City and kept on lying. It got to the point where my Super Saiyan level fuckery got so intense that she had questioned things about herself that once should never feel the need to question, much less have that need originate from someone you loved. Her perception of events, who she was, and what her worth deemed she should tolerate. By the grace of Nia Long, she got her wits about herself and left me quicker than Iggy Azalea left cultural relevancy. It’s a bleak landscape of emotional agony when I think about what I had purposefully put the woman I had supposedly loved through, but it’s an agony completely of my own making, and I deserve every square inch of that pain. Seriously, this was truly a master class in self-sabotage, and if anyone’s interested, I may be inclined to write a 1000 page compendium on how to take a proverbial fire ant-covered dildo to your life and those of your loved ones. Check your Amazon Ebook notifications shortly for more details.

I share these stories from some of the lowest sediment of my shit encrusted soul, not as grounds for redemption or even public penance, but in the hopes of it being something inspirational. I believe that most men could save the world both single-handedly and with athlete’s foot if they simply invited their bullshit out to brunch at a nice, quiet bistro, conveyed that while the two of them have had a long and seemingly never-ending relationship it was time to party ways and move on to better things. There are so many obstacles in our way that have our fingerprints over every inch of its surface that it baffles the mind to think of what could be accomplished with just a bit of maturity and a few minutes of objective self-scrutiny. I understand that may seem like a paradox, but it can be done. Over a period of weeks, years, months, or, in my case, several listenings throughout repeated listening of A Seat At The Table. Maybe you should listen to the album as well if you haven’t already. Like me, you might have something more to take away from it than just the sanguine-like state of leisure that’s present on every track.

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