Sunday. June 9, 2019:
I was supposed to get married today. Instead, four months ago, I found out the truth and ended the engagement. And for four months, I’ve felt the worst grief, pain, devastation and betrayal that I’ve ever known. My entire world changed and I questioned everything I thought was real. Every day I hope that the lows don’t get lower.
Despite my suffering, I know for a fact that this is for the best. I know that there’s nothing more true than when people say I dodged a bullet, even though I had to take one to the heart to dodge the one coming for my head. And I thank God that I found out before the wedding, before kids, before anything legally binding me to this person. But when someone breaks you, and you’re shattered into a million pieces, the feelings can seem stronger than the facts.
I let him run the narrative of my life and our relationship publicly because I trusted him, as my best friend and partner. I silenced myself to let him shine, and he used me to create content for his public image, the character of Jozen Cummings. I know he will have another story to tell, he’ll turn this into an on-brand and right-on-time post about vulnerability, making mistakes, going to therapy, going to church, mental health, facing his issues, learning from it; and it will be partially true, but not authentic. He’s a masterful and manipulative storyteller. He does nothing better than make you feel exactly how he wants you to feel about him. I went back to some of his blog posts and it made me want to take a highlighter to my screen and annotate all the misogyny, delusion, all the half-truths he used to cover up much deeper lies about himself.
It makes me sick, now that I know the truth, to see him out here on dates just days before he was supposed to get married, or smiling and laughing at media events he has no actual reason to attend. After everything I’ve learned and how intimately I knew him over the course of five years, that a man can carry such demons deep, deep down in his psyche and not realize how much they have manifested themselves into his life, it’s sociopathic and terrifying.
I don’t want to dive into all of his issues that, in retrospect, I should have seen more clearly. Red flags I should not have dismissed just because he was waving them in front of me, daring me to look, pretending he was aware of his true faults. Now I know what’s fake, and how deep it goes, how wide it spreads, how incestuous and unhealthy so many of his close relations are, what he hides on social media (even though it looks like he shares everything, the digital persona is highly curated), how unqualified he is for so many platforms he has access to. Trust me when I say the last two things on this earth he should have authority to speak on are relationships - at least successful ones - or anything on behalf of black men.
So here’s my little blog post: I Almost Got Married - the truth serum, the antidote to the narcissist’s narrative, exposing the toxic Until I Get Married myth and the fraud tactics of the man behind it.
I’m finally ready to start sharing my story. Here is some of what I learned on the day I canceled the wedding and kicked him out of our home. For all of us who thought Jozen was a good guy living honestly and openly sharing with the world, for anyone who supported our relationship and was rooting for us, for anyone who thought this was the perfect start to creating a life with someone, you were wrong. He’s been lying to all of us.
Saturday. February 9, 2019:
We both went out the night before separately, and both came home around 2am. I let myself sleep in. He comes in around 10 am to cheerfully jump on the bed and kiss me awake. Meanwhile, he’s been texting all morning with the woman he had sex with the night before.
In the texts below, he’s gently encouraging her to take a Plan B. He also tells her that we’re separated and that he wants to see her again while I’m away for work next week. He had also sent texts to a different woman to meet up with her the next day.
It’s 130 days until the wedding.
Sleep peacefully for as long as you need, but get up in the morning. On time.
Check in with yourself. How do you feel? Welcome your feelings, let them pass through. Sadness, loneliness, anger, pain, anxiety, adrenaline, weakness, woundedness. Sit with them next to you, acknowledge their presence.
Meditate. Breathe. Body scan. Buddha smile.
Make your space sacred, it‘s yours. Take care of it, keep it clean and comfortable.
Exercise. A run, a dance class, yoga, boxing, weight lifting, basketball, a bike ride, a walk.
Let people who care about you know how to take care of you - dinner, drinks, dancing, distractions. Netflix and wine on your couch, or theirs. A last minute beach vacation. A phone call about anything but you. A group chat of jokes. A twerk session. A check in call in between meetings or late at night or first thing in the morning. Someone to help you change your kitchen light bulb. A cleaner for your apartment. Someone to buy groceries with. Someone to cook with. Someone to eat with. Someone to sit quietly with. A forum to vent, talk, process.
Recognize the people who show up for you, especially the ones who do it without you asking.
Learn something new. Listen to a podcast or sermon. Read Tara Brach, Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle, Esther Perel, bell hooks, your daily devotional.
Consume whatever inspires you and uplifts you and brings you closer to yourself and your truth.
Say no when you need to. Your time is your currency, spend it wisely. Your boundaries are yours to set. Find out where you need them to be.
Find a therapist you trust and connect with, with experience, who you can afford in the long term. Make weekly appointments and keep them. Talk to friends who go to therapy about their experience. De-stigmatize it.
Find a financial planner or accountability partner to make sure you can take care of everything you need now and in the future. Self care ain’t cheap. Use your emergency fund, and build it back up.
Go to the doctor, all of them. Primary, dental, vision, OBGYN.
And if it helps - an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a spa, a sauna, the nail salon, reiki , soundbaths, a retreat, psychic mediums, get a facial, a blowout, go shopping, redecorate. Do all of these with a friend if you can.
Sit in the discomfort of your feelings of the unknown, the chaos, the change. Everything is temporary. Live through it all.
Give yourself many outlets. Keep yourself company. Be kind to yourself. Act intentionally in a way that serves you and makes you better. Put one foot in front of the other.
Men cheat, so what?
The other women weren’t innocent
Women are crazy and emotional,
they cheat too.
Everyone is broken
Broken people break people
Just like hurt people hurt people
Get used to it.
What’s his side of the story?
The story isn’t complete until he speaks;
his is the more important story.
He admitted it, at least some of it
That in itself is repentance
You’re asking for too much
if you want anything more.
He’s got issues
He’s going to therapy
Isn’t that a beautiful thing?
Aren’t you proud?
He deserves praise for such
Lies? We all lie.
We need them
to protect us.