I have felt worthless and invisible. I have wallowed in barrels of self-pity and almost drowned in self-doubt and hatred. I have considered suicide because I couldn't stand the sight of anything vibrant. The colors were too bright. I feared they'd shine light...
Press play to the recording above as you read along with the poem below the article.
An Ode to Ruby and Every Other Husband Trainer
If you watch the new romantic dramedy, “Love Is…,” on the OWN Network, then you’re familiar with the cinematic tale of the courtship of real-life, Black Hollywood, power couple, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil. The characters, Nuri (Michele Weaver) who portrays Mara Brock Akil, and Yasir (Will Catlett) who channels Salim Akil, give us a window into their developing relationship. The show, set in Los Angeles in the early 90’s, makes those of us who were also dating during that time, or any time really, nostalgic about how the love we have now came to be.
For others of us, however, the show scrapes at the cicatrices of our past loves and losses. For anyone, male or female, that’s ever played the supportive lover, friend, partner, or spouse to an up-and-coming, aspiring anything, but never reaped the harvest of our labor of love, we can fully relate and empathize with the show’s character, Ruby, beautifully portrayed by Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing.
I was struck by the last episode, “Not Valentine’s Day” which first aired July 31st, when Ruby shared her frustrations with how much effort Yasir was putting into becoming a better man for his new love, but how he failed to match that or her effort in their relationship. She felt used, undesired and undesirable, bewildered, and heartbroken. We’ve all been there for one reason or another. While the show uses Ruby as a backdrop to help develop Yasir’s character, many of us see her in the forefront of our own reflection.
One of our avid BGS (Black Girl Speaks) readers and SPEAKers shared a tribute she wrote to all of the Rubys of the world. You all may remember the voice of “Muthafuck’n Rose” from our “Lemonade” series in 2016. Well, she’s back to share more of her gems and wit.
For Ruby’s Ass
I know girl. He wa’n’t shit when he was sleeping on your couch, Now, he got the nerve to let blame come out his mouth, ‘cause he found somebody that literally loves his dirty draws.
But, when he was yours, you washed them shits. Hung them shits to dry as much as you were, ‘cause he couldn’t even get it up or lay it down. Now, he going all night on the other side of town. But, you used to fold his shits, and put them away in your dresser draw’rs, all so he could have clean draws to lay on your couch in, while you went to work.
He making her balanced meals, and you got sympathy sandwiches at best on stale bread, all while you lookin’ like a whole ass snack. Now, you want him back, ‘cause he finally doing, showing, being the man YOU helped him become.
He keepin’ all his promises to her, but did nothing he said he’d do for you. You took care of him for months with no recompense. She has him for five days, and he trying to pay rent. He only come through for you out of pity and guilt ‘cause he finally see what lovin’ him has cost you. Yourself. Your whole self. Your whole ass self….literally, is gone because you chased his to Cali, believed in his pipe dreams, sacrificed and diminished your own, and this man is leaving messages from a pay phone to another woman,
who had the nerve
to come knocking on your door,
broke ass man.
So, listen dear, I’mma tell you what you don’t want to hear. This wa’n’t never your man. This was your project. He ain’t never acted like anything but, so if you chose to stay anyway, it’s ‘cause you also chose not to see it for what it was:
It’s like those fixer-upper houses in the hood, that you can somehow see the good in, ‘cause it’s got good bones and History. (That’s all y’all got is history.) And, it’s in the right place at the right time. But, you weren’t never meant to stay there. That was never home, It was just a temporary residence; a place to rest and get your strength as you were passing through. But, you, got too comfortable. Let the grass grow at your feet. Felt good about being needed. Thought that would be enough to keep him,
But that’s her house.
She likes those squeaky ass floors that drive you crazy. She wants that leaky faucet and broken window in the bathroom that never would stay open; had you feeling trapped inside. She wants the water damage from all the tears you cried. She gave it a fresh new coat of paint, But it only hides the cracks in the walls that you know would fall around you if you stayed.
It’s time to flip that house girl. Take the profit you earned and the lessons you learned, and get yourself an upgrade, that truthfully, some other Ruby made
Just for you.
Tune into OWN’s “Love Is….” every Tuesday night at 10/9c.