The first time I consciously ignored my intuition was my senior year in high school. I had my first car, an eleven year old Toyota Corolla. My spirit told me to drive my usual route home, but I chose to go a different way because my normal route had a steep hill I would have to descend & the car shook whenever I applied the brakes coming down. Needless to say, I took the alternate route. Ten minutes into my commute, I was hit by another car.
I would have many other opportunities to defy my gut; instincts; God's voice; or whatever you may choose to call it, but the most expensive price I would pay for second guessing myself was three years ago.
I was at a birthday party in Atlanta. I caught eyes with a guy that was with some people I know, so I inquired. I learned he was visiting from Nashville, Tennessee and was allegedly married. Immediately I knew I wouldn't act on it because I "felt" we were in two different places, especially if he really was married and attending a gay party.
Two months passed, and the mutual friend called to tell me "he" was in town visiting & asked about me. In fact, he had asked about me several times since the party, but was informed I wouldn’t be interested because I was about to start rehearsing the cast for “A Day in the Life”. Not to mention, he was married! I found out during that phone call he was no longer married and he wanted to invite me to see Alvin Ailey. I really had intentions of seeing the performance, so I caved & decided to take him up on the offer. He wasn’t married I told myself.
For several months he made trips to Atlanta to stay with friends, and visit me. Eventually, he would stay at my place on his trips. Little by little, I knew he was troubled by his religious beliefs. He had married because he thought it would save him from being gay. It came out during conversation that he was left without a place of his own or a car. He had been renting cars every week to visit me. I urged him to focus on stabilizing, not a relationship. His response was always tied to the bible or God. He often quoted bible verses or ranted about how good God was to him leaving onlookers believing he was a “man of God”.
I did my best to affirm him as a person that God would love in spite of the feelings he couldn’t control. I often challenged everything he (we) had been taught by family, religion & society as it relates to sexuality. Slowly, reluctantly he abandoned enough doubt that two men could be in a relationship & decided he wanted to make it work with me. I was hesitant & skeptical for obvious reasons. Furthermore, I wasn’t interested in a relationship with anyone at that point. My focus was my show & I told him that regularly. He decided he was going to change my mind, so, he began making plans to move to Atlanta.
Once he relocated, I was able to piece together things I couldn’t when he was living in Nashville. He was leaning on friends & family financially, quite manipulative, but more importantly he wasn’t as spiritual as he pretended to be. He had convinced his mom he was in graduate school, when in fact he was not. He convinced her to cosign for a car, which happened to be the exact same model & color I was driving. He wanted to be me. He had no identity of his own. He was a fraud. I took steps to sever ties completely, but he always managed to talk me back into the situation. Eventually, I cut him off indefinitely.
It was the middle of January when he retaliated. He entered my place & stole a great deal of my winter clothes.
Naturally, I went after him. I hunted him down one night at a club. When I caught up with him, he was wearing a shirt he had stolen from me. I had a car jack in tote. He ran. I chased him & found myself in a domestic dispute in downtown Atlanta. The police got involved & threatened to arrest me for disturbing the peace.
For two weeks I would wake up in a sweat from a nightmare. In the dream I caught him & bludgeoned him to death. I realized I was allowing him to make me something I’m not; violent. I was giving him the power. He wanted me to feed into him; instead, I prayed & asked God to remove the disdain I had towards him because it was no longer about the things he stole. For me, it was getting back at him so he wouldn’t think he had gotten over on me. When I released that, I was able to let go of the anger. I never ran into him once in three years. The first time I saw him face to face was yesterday at another birthday party. I didn’t make eye contact once despite his attention grabbing efforts.
This story isn’t about him or how he stole from me. This is how I overlooked the signs because I was too busy to slow down to see what was there all along. I ignored God’s voice, the first time He spoke to me.
It was an expensive lesson, but worth every bit of wisdom I pulled from it…
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