Old Habits Die Hard

 I was talking to one of my best friends the other day and we were gossiping about everything (translation: our other friends who weren’t there) and  nothing (Kim K & Taylor Swift’s Famousgate) when she just randomly, in the middle of the conversation, drops the bombshell to end all bombshells.

“I am taking Luther back.”

“Which Luther?”

“Luther Luther.”

“Sheila no, you cannot be serious! Why?”

“I have my reasons.”

I looked at this beautiful intelligent woman and mentally shook my head. Taking back a man that had not only cheated on her multiple times but publicly humiliated her as well as emotionally & psychologically abused her! Yeah, that made sense. I didn’t even know they were on speaking terms again! You think you know someone. Oh well.

The heart is a fickle thing.  Selena Gomez did say it wants what it wants & she would know, wouldn’t she? She took Justin Bieber back many more times than Michael Jackson had plastic surgery.

Therein lies the age old question though.

Why is it so easy to fall back into old habits? Why do we do this dance ad nauseum? Even when we know it’s not good for anybody: not for you, not for him or anybody you else involved? Why do we take them back only for everything to implode even worse than before? Why do we search for happiness from the very people that stole it to begin with? What makes us give so much power to the people that hurt us over & over again? How do we not recognise a lost cause when we see one acting, quacking & walking like one?

I can only guess at this because even though I am a perennial victim of giving second, third, fourth & fifth chances; I am still as clueless as a football player on a basketball court. Notwithstanding my ignorance, here are my three guesses.

My first guess; stupidity. When it comes to the game of love, we are all a little stupid. Matter of fact, we are idiots. We can barely see straight through the haze of euphoric blindness that enshrouds us.  It’s a utopia of sorts. So when we get a rude awakening that snaps us out of our land of roses, ice cream & rainbows; it’s tantamount to a blow to the head. Or to hit nearer the mark, a blow to the heart. It’s painful, shameful & unbelievable.

We wake-up, cry, yell, deny, accuse, ask how-why-&-where, insult, regret, cry some more & at some point not far down the road, we take them back. Even when the excuse they give is up there with the ‘dog ate my homework.’ Now tell me that is not stupidity personifed.

For my second guess, I am going with a selective memory. They say; follow your heart & your head but when in doubt, follow the head. What they don’t tell you, is that the head too can be fooled. With absence making the heart grow fonder, you start missing your ex & whenever you think of him you see only the times that made you smile. You disregard the bad & ugly in favour of the good.

That one time he said you have a Beyoncé smile and that other one when he whispered, “I love you,” for the very first time. These memories stick out like a fair-skinned person in South Sudan and you find yourself  sometimes smiling at nothing. Why do these memories remain clearer than the dark ones? Probably because the human mind chooses to cling to the good more than the bad in order to retain its sanity. You’d be better off asking an expert though,  I am after all just an average black girl.

Finally, the Messiah complex. We convince ourselves that we can save them. We tell ourselves it’s not their fault. That they would love us as much as we do them if they could. If only the previous girl hadn’t been so cold or had they been raised right or had they better friends or had their job not been so demanding et cetera et cetera. The list goes on.

We make these excuses, convince ourselves & eventually we take them back tolerating all they inflict upon us in the hope that we can mend them. Ripping ourselves into pieces to keep others whole. How sad.

If I were a fancy psychologist I’d have an even fancier explanation for this. But I am not. So I’ll keep it simple.

The time for being the good woman he crawls back to when he’s done playing around is long past. Refuse to be the help: the one that cleans up & picks up the pieces when he’s made a mess of himself. Do not let the words, “I miss you,” be the password to your panties. Have some pride.

And keep in mind that old habits die hard but they do die.