You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy!
– Tony Montana Scarface
Once upon a time, I was married. I hated it. We were mismatched, ill-equipped and just flat-out wrong for one another. I left–without a clear-cut game plan. We were part a community that frowned on divorce. If there was no clear evidence of cheating you were, for lack of a better term, stuck. He knew this, and though I knew he was cheating, I didn’t know he was cheating, and guilt tripped myself into passivity. We remained married and added another kid into the mix. Ever the maverick and rebel, I chose being “a good girl” over being smart.* I can not stress to anyone how ridiculous it is for an individual to make major life altering decisions at 21. It was then that I realized, we weren’t together due to love and commitment. We were like two people in a public bathroom, waiting each other out for the chance to funk it up. So after the last bad scene in a string of bad scenes, I took the kids and we left.
It was rough, because where I suffered the marriage in silence, he was very vocal in suffering his embarrassment. On the surface, I left, so he had the high ground. He went to church, played Tank songs, and whenever he had the children, he made sure they looked dirty and pitiful. Poor urchins with their crazy mother who didn’t want to be married anymore. It didn’t matter that they were in my custody and I received no support; he was to be pitied. I had to stand the hard-line amidst ridicule, ostracism and ultimately threats to my personal safety.
At the end of the day, I’m not afraid to be the hammer. I believe that as much as it might burn, if something isn’t working, it just isn’t working. Rough times, yes, I believe that’s to be weathered. But there was nothing salvageable about that marriage. There are tons of relationships – even outside of the romantic spectrum – that are like that. Even if it’s a bad job, or a friendship that has become healthy or one-sided, no one wants to be the trigger man. It’s much easy to play the role of “He just stopped speaking to me,” or “She just gave her two weeks notice without any reason,” because the victim role is easy. Irrespective of the toxicity that precedes the leap into villainy, we have this compulsion to need to be the one wronged.
So I ask, why can’t we just decide that something is wrong for us and press on. Why does there have to be closure, and discussions, and all the other nonsensical rituals that allow us to be trapped in things that are wrong for us? This isn’t a call for chronic callousness and irresponsibility, and there are definitely some circumstances where discussion and discourse are needed. I didn’t walk away from my marriage and never speak to homie again. We still had two kids to care for, and custody and visitation to arrange. We spoke on that. However, the circumstances of divorce was something I refused to hash out, because we’d covered all of that before. Everyone has regrettable actions in their past, but I can say with certainty that I have never regretted removing the kids and myself from that situation.
I think, whenever something seems daunting, it would behoove us to have the balls to get up and make something happen. Just because I did this in this aspect of my life, it doesn’t mean I do it always. I think I just needed to remind myself that I could.
*No, being the good girl does not equate being dumb, but to disregard self-preservation in favor of the mere appearance of good is absolute insanity.