Jay-Z Wants You To Trust Your Heart
“Red or green pill, you live and you learn…” — Jay-Z “Excuse Me Miss”
Looks like we are riding off to the sunset… want to thank everyone who has read their column and shared their love for it on the interwebs. For now, the weekly Medium column “What Would Hov Do?,”, written by me, Joel Leon, will be on hiatus. I’ll still be on here writing and sharing my thoughts and words, but in a different, more personal way, so stay tuned!
For those who may be stopping by for the first time, the format has been fairly simple: you share with me something that you’re going through or that is troubling you, and I help you get through it, with a little assistance from jay-Z’s catalog. While the column may be on pause (for now) you can still feel free to drop your question here. Who knows, this column may show itself in another lifetime.
Anyhoot, for our last edition, I think it’s important we tackle a topic raised by someone we’ll just call “Returning Lover”. Returning lovers asks:
I recently left a toxic relationship that we could not fix together. Now a few months passed, and we have both made healthy and positive changes to improve ourselves. We have admitted our still strong love for one another…Would it be a good idea to reconcile, or would the toxic cycle just repeat itself again?
Wheeew…I know we’ve all been here at one point in time or another, myself included. The questions we have about a former flame can easily linger for weeks, months, years. In that period of time, we go through the motions of what could have been, should have been, or potentially could be. We keep low-key tabs one another, create burner accounts, we ask through mutuals about so-and-so, what they’re up to. We may even check-in from time to time…we watch their Stories, we scroll their Twitter feeds. All in an effort to see if the love is still real, if it’s still there, hoping maybe that they haven’t moved on. This happens whether the ending was amicable or not, or whether the love was healthy, or empty, or draining. Or, toxic.
A toxic love will leave you questioning your heart as a compass. You’ll ask why you allowed that kind of force to enter your space. Or, if you are a part of the toxicity, what led you down the road of harming the one you love — what ego work have you yet dealt with that would have created room for the causation of the pain you may have inflicted on your partner (or friends, family member, etc.) It’s easy to look back and judge and feel shame for our actions. It also becomes even easier to feel these things if others watched the spiraling of said relationship. And, if you feel inclined to not only want that old thing back, but possibly revisit it, those feelings of shame and guilt can oftentimes resurface.
The line from Jay-Z’s “Excuse Me Miss” off of the probably way too long of an album Blueprint 2 boils these feelings down in a nutshell: you live and learn. Like in his reference to The Matrix film, we have two choices in life and we won’t know how these choices play out until after the fact. The moral of the story: live your life. If you have found yourself wanting to revisit a love that at one time felt harmful, but feel there is space for reconciliation considering you both have been and are continuing to do the necessary work on yourselves, then why not? We only have one life, and that life was meant to be lived to its fullest. We get to explore old loves, new loves, big loves, any and all of the loves that will help guide us and lead us as we continue on the journey of not only learning and loving ourselves, but bettering ourselves in the process.
Ideally, the persons we decide to love, whether romantically or platonically, will make us better by being in our lives. Our pasts get to stay in the past, as long as we are holding space for both accountability and forgiveness.
The ghosts of our pasts do not have to control how we move towards our collective futures.
We are living in extraordinary times. It is up to us to stay open, diligent, and fluid in our search for the true purpose of our hearts: to love. To live and to learn means we get to trust the inclinations of our heart, as long as they are guided by love, and a willingness to grow from whatever has happened and is happening to us, in us, and around us. One look no further than Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s relationship, which survived an infidelity scandal and the elevator video seen ‘round the world, two albums that discussed from both sides the hurt that Jay brought to the the relationship. Their reconciliation was their attempt to revisit a love that felt deserving of the work it would require to be healthy enough to sustain it.
Jay-Z would want you to trust your heart when it comes to love. And so would I.