I dug my nails into his back as if I was holding on for dear life. I do not remember holding onto a man so tight…ever before. It had been two months of fighting and not seeing each other so when he surprised me by saying he was ten minutes away…I did not know how I would feel. Upon his arrival, I clung to him…like I was clinging to a life boat. Wherever he was going, I was coming with him. He wasn’t leaving without me. We are one. He and I were one. It took me seven years to figure this all out…and really the biggest revelations occurred in the last three weeks. It’s like I had lost my mind. Cursing him out more and more…even when not provoked. Then came the day when I told him he was free to leave. During that time, I met the handsome stranger on my flight back from Vegas and my first love, Julio, made a plea for my heart (and my eggs?) again! That’s when it finally dawned on me where the tears and frustration were coming from…EGO. I’m embarrassed because I’m choosing the life I live. A woman as strong as myself should get everything she wants…exactly how she wants! And here I was choosing to settle for less! Well that’s one way to look at it…that’s the ego version. Then another version emerged as I clung to him…the humbled version…and I thank God for giving us this moment! ?? He held me for hours and it was then that it occurred to me that…this man that had tried to break me (unbeknownst to him)…was most likely the love of my life and I was choosing him! REVELATION 1! I am choosing him and I don’t want to live a day without him! REVELATION 2! I too had tried to break him down! That’s right….I’m not innocent! ? When a Jamaican woman says she’s been “dipping under” somebody…that means she’s cuss that person out so bad she even took the time to curse past and future generations! ? Yet as I dip under the Ex Factor…he never loses his cool. And I am no easy storm! Let me repeat that one again…I AM NO EASY STORM! ?? Breathe Kingston…breathe because we are onto one of the greatest revelations of our lives. I am choosing the Ex Factor! Everyday I choose him…for better or for worse! We have just been knee deep in the worse! REVELATION 3! More importantly, I reminded myself that I am still in charge of my own happiness! ?? So why am I making myself sad on days where no sadness needs to exist?! Perhaps it’s because I’m punishing myself for choosing him instead of moving on to someone better. But what makes another man better? His resume? His treatment of me? His ability to commit? What most women won’t say is that many of us were forced to leave our situations because the men moved on first or because we could no longer take the embarrassment of things not being picture perfect! Many of us would have sat there and stayed if the winds of time did not force change! Even the strongest woman puts up with bullshit whether she admits it or not! Humans are flawed by definition! So even the strongest woman will admit that she AND her mate are flawed. ?? Now I know you are rolling your eyes at me right now but hear me out. I’m definitely not saying stay where you are unhappy and settle…I am actually asking you to consider what is making you unhappy? Is it because you don’t have what your friends and people on Facebook portray? Cause everyone has battles! And no they are not all uploaded on social media! Did you catch the “Black Love Documentary” on OWN? It was inspirational and groundbreaking! Married couples discussing what it took to get where they are while dealing with anything from affairs to deaths of children! Sweet baby Jesus! I cannot even imagine it! Most folks will say that those people are married so they should be in it for the births and tragedies! But if the current divorce rate says much…it says that a large amount of people do not believe that! Marriage is a huge commitment but it’s a falsity to think that your ability to withstand storms is only born in your marriage! But I digress…back to what I learned as a Single woman. Absent of abuse, you can stay planted where you want to. People (and they mean well) may say leave but be ware of where you are running to. Every time I left the Ex Factor, I dated ugly men with money (that’s who came after me) and some of them had some deep rooted issues and secrets! I was lucky to leave one with my damn life! No joke. Resume was better. Ability to commit was there but no love lived there. Worst of all…no truth lived there. But to the world, I was doing better because I was no longer with the Ex Factor. Now that may not be your story…you may just bump into the love of your life after leaving your ex. But even with the new love of your life…realize that love and commitment take work! There will still be dark days! Still be moments of tears and disappointments! Anyone who sells perfection in their relationship “has not begun to deal with the underlining issues.” That’s one of the lessons that I got from the “Black Love Documentary.” Besides this blog, I only talk to my immediate family and a small group of married friends about the real details of the Ex Factor and I. I also do leave a lot out in this blog! I know it doesn’t seem like it but I do keep some things private. However, if it is something ugly that has helped me to grow…I share it because it may help someone else out there! ? Sometimes I wish I never wrote a single “I hate you” blog but I learned so much from them (and certainly can’t promise there won’t be more lol). Also, without securing me and making me feel loved at all times, the Ex Factor did earn some of those blogs! ?? But I cannot control him…I can only control myself! And I am responsible for my own happiness! Not only that…as a woman who claims to love…I need to rise above some of the mess and be the bigger person. REVELATION 4! When Julio and I split, I had been so good to him. He knew he was walking away from a woman who truly loved him to the best of her ability! And maybe that’s why he regrets leaving! Though it makes me sad to think that if that time came with the Ex Factor and I…he could not say the same. ? How he loves or does not love is on him. The strength and forgiveness of my love…tells my own personal truths! So I can continue walking around and complaining about the love I’m not getting or I can focus in on the love I’m giving positively! Is he easy to love? Hell no! But I’m choosing him. It’s time I not be angry about that anymore. I…am…choosing…him! Not over myself…but over all the other guys out there. I had a moment where I wondered what a day without knowing him would be like. It would be a sad day…and you know how I know? Because I’ve already lived those days. We suffered through them until we could come back to each other…again and again! We are like the lyrics to my favorite Isley Brother’s song…“Voyage To Atlantis.” To the Ex Factor I say…“I will always come back to you…Atlantis.” ~KJM getting deep on Hump Day! No one knows how the story ends but every day with him is better than a day without him. Not because I can’t be alone because I can…it’s really because I think I will always choose him. So I clung to him…dug my nails into him…whispering…I am choosing you in this moment and time…with my entire heart. It is yours…Atlantis?