Half, All, or Nothing at All
Zachary M.C. Harris
Saturday, March 16, 2013
It’s funny that in writing this, I have to preface things with the fact that my goomba, Chef Al Paris, calls me the connector. Wherever we have gone, if one of us don’t know someone, I just need no more than five minutes to start to make a new friend. Now, onto the show.
On Sunday, I was going through old emails in order to find one friend’s email so that I could send her the ebook, as well as links for everything else related to the new release of When a Black Man Loves. Well, I couldn’t find her email, but what I did start to find were the email addresses of people whom I have known in the past, whether or not we were finally able to meet in person. These emails go back to at least 2001. Now, I opened up a couple of them, one of which was from Karen, a women whom it was love at first sight for me, and she and I wound up dealing with each other several times over most of a decade at different points in our lives. We would be lovers at times where we both needed someone, but after the first go ‘round, she would never get the same man that she had access to the first time around. In fact, when my life was a lot less than what it is now, I wound up calling her to ask a question of why women wanted to deal with me while I didn’t have certain things in my life. Weirdly enough, she was on her second marriage and was separated and we started dating again. This email was a funny one which joking said that I hadn’t been giving her enough loving, enough though I wanted to be her sex slave (and the loving was good). It’s kind of interesting, because it was at the time that I had met someone else, and this someone was the writer of the second email.
This second woman is named Sharon – yes, that infamous Sharon – who is a woman that I probably loved more than anyone else, and whom I went through some hellish times with but also some phenomenal times with. She is also the reason for me writing the second book. There are women who have been in my life, whether platonic friends, intimate friends or all out lovers, who want to meet her and not only find out what is it about her that had me so enthralled, but also to either curse her out or slap her silly for ending it with me. And even the female friends of mine who think that I am sometimes too hard on women even admitted that she was a no-win situation for me, or for any man for that matter who was strong of mind, body and character. The best things about her was how she treated me, how she made me feel and how she was not the person that was a drain on your spirit or your finances… but then again, she does have a dark side. We used to joke that she was Sharon “5 of 5”, line the character on “Star Trek: Voyager” because there were four Sharons in my life before her, and really I didn’t see anyone in my life after her.
Note: she is also the reason why many women just didn’t have a fighting chance with me, because it wasn’t necessarily her I was looking for in a woman, but her best qualities which would make any man happy. And those qualities appear to be very rare in women these days.
Anyway, this email was written almost a week after we met, and it really said something about her, her passion and her heart. And just reading through the email hit me to the core, because I actually still extended something to her in regards to a new romance after all of these years. I actually went out for drinks with her last year after we “reconnected” several years ago after some interesting circumstances. You see, after we broke up, I still pursued her, and we gave it another shot, but it wasn’t the same, and it ended again. And then I would send her an email later on that year and we connected again once more, but in her joking about something, she incurred my anger, which for those that know me well can result in a dressing down worthy of the greatest drill instructor or the most venomous woman; oh, it hits to the core. And while I regretted the impact of what I said, I didn’t regret saying it because she was way out of line and it needed to be addressed and checked.
Flash several years forward and I would see her while I was at the Black Caucus, and she just wasn’t looking her best. And for the guy who had been dumped, I was elated and I bought lots of drinks that night. My buddy George asked me if it was “the Sharon” to which I said yes. Now, in hindsight, I felt bad and emailed her what I did and how I felt, and that I wished her the best and that this was not who she was, or where she should be in her life. I didn’t expect a reply and I got none.
Now, for all of the women I have ever loved and who have broken my heart, she was one whom I could not ever shed a tear for, and that isn’t for lack of trying. She was something anchored into my heart and soul that I could not get rid of and would eternally be drowned in my emotions over. Vestiges of her haunted me relentlessly, and then I would hear a song by one of my favorite artists that would finally open my emotional floodgates, “All for Love” by Adriana Evans off the album El Camino. Man, this thing hit me like a lightning bolt, and I played it again and again to let it all flow. And you know the most fucked up thing spiritually, she friended me on Facebook that very night!
Flash forward, and we had drinks last year when a relationship with a woman I though I would marry had ended. And we met, and despite her substantial gain in weight, which she said started and she and I ended, I still saw the woman inside, the beautiful goddess that stole my heart a decade earlier. I knew that I was willing to put in the time and walk with her through it all until her full glory was restored. But you know, that didn’t happen at all.
Several weeks ago, I was in the Chick-Fil-A on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia and while joking with the cashier, an assistant manager chimed in, and he and I had a great joking conversation, and he said something that was so deep that it struck a chord. You see, he told me that while most people believe relationships are 50/50, it really is giving 100% from each party (note: right now, I have “You” by Raheem DeVaughn playing). And you know, I never expected this nebbish white guy to say something that formed the basis for any and all great relationships.
Now, this also makes me think of the whole concept of “for better and for worse” and what it really means. And if I look back at my past, and I look at my present and my future, it poses the question of whether you are willing to give one hundred percent when your partner is not in the position to give anything at all. You see, I have seen the relationship when love carried everything, and it took years for the other person to snap back and get to a good position, and I respect both of those people very much. And I have been in a relationship in which I had more than the other person, and I put my money and whatever else I could to see them achieve some of their dreams. And I also never wanted to get married until I had all of my things paid off and business was moving forward like I wanted.
And then there is the nothing, meaning when you want give anything to a person because you don’t look at them as being capable of doing anything at all (see my piece on Emotional Honesty).
There are three concepts here that really need their own discussions, which are: fighting with someone; fighting for someone; and, fighting alongside someone. Every day that we are given is another day to do things better than the day before. And I luckily was blessed with people in my life who saw something so special in me that they fought for me and helped me along.
And I wanted to talk about Chester Carlson, who is heroic in certain ways to me (oh, don’t think that this whole piece is going to flow seamlessly; it’s not). Chester Carlson is the guy who invented xerography which is the process of copying something from one sheet of paper and outputting it onto another sheet of paper using a glass plate (platen) and photostatic forces. This dude was turned down fifty-nine times, including by every company or agency that should have recognized the genius of what he invented. To wit, he was a law student who didn’t see the purpose of all of the mimeograph machines – for those of you born after 1980, you have no fucking idea what I am even talking about – and he pioneered another process.
Sidebar: I met a dynamic sister whom I thought could be the queen for me. However, in our first conversation, she said four things that showed that she really didn’t know what she was talking about in regards to my industry. Additionally, her post-graduate degrees threw up red flags to me, as I properly analyzed that her indoctrination would lead her to be more fool then visionary.
Now, I wonder what Chester’s life was like, because I know what it means to be an entrepreneur, a trend-setter and an individual. When you have presented your ideas to the entities that should understand the relevant impact of them but turn you down, not all women will back you. And while some still will, do you think that one woman would back you through all fifty-nine times? Oh, I think of Al Bundy with all of his ideas and Peg ragging him. You know what is hilarious and ironic, the fact that when he came up with a shoe from God, that the same design has been selling like hotcakes for the past three years on the market.
And then, there is that other concept that is in the back of my mind (oh, I am drinking a lovely Bordeaux style blend while I write this), and this is of the fact that once you move on, someone starts to become the person that you wanted all along. I have seen it happen with friends of mine, and I have seen it happen in my life. Once I am done, you decide to get your ass in the gym, start wearing makeup, and looking like the person I wanted all along.
Okay, scratch that last paragraph.
So, the question is what are you willing to give, and whom do you find worthy?
Oh, and I would be willing to really give it another chance.