I moved to New York on a whim. The individual who invited me to live with her I had known for approximately 13 years. I was young, in my early 20s and needed an escape from my current life. And, out of the blue, like a beacon of hope, she said the exact words, “Move here next week. I will not let you fall. I will not let you fail”. Those are the words I needed to hear. Those are the words I clearly remember. I, again, felt like I had hope. When you feel as if you are in pure desperation, you remember exact words. They are tattooed to you for life, especially if people go against their word.
But upon arriving in nyc (pre-cell phone days), I felt word was bond. When she said she would be home at 2pm, the time I told her I would arrive, I expected that to be true. Instead I was greeted with 6 hours of driving around, using pay phones to call her and going back to her apartment and ringing the buzzer. It was just me and all the belongings in my car, driving around for 6 hours, trying to contact her after my 9-hour drive.
But she said, “I will not let you fall. I will not let you fail”! But she lied. I was let down.
She soon answered the phone and invited me in and I discovered she had a drug-fueled night and just woke up. She broke her promise already. There were no apologies, just odd looks and side comments as to why I shouldn’t be upset.
I didn’t know that her house was a drug den. I didn’t know that she’d have around-the-clock individuals delivering drugs to her home. I didn’t realize that she was fucking not just her fiance, but her roommate, her boss, her boss’ wife, her landlord, and who knows who else. She told me this. Her roommates told me this. It wasn’t a secret. Also, I didn’t know that she was going on vacation the next day and I was left there without knowing how to even use the subway or where things were. I was left alone, in that apartment with roommates I didn’t know.
She was letting me fall. She was letting me fail. From Day 1.
Before she returned from her week-long vacation, I moved from that house and found my own place about 25 minutes from hers. Still with no job and no potential leads for one, she told me many times that it was a bad decision and then said it was too far and she needed her friends in a particular radius or she wouldn’t make an effort to see them. I recall saying to her that I didn’t want to see her and that she wasn’t invited over. With my bluntness, she probably assumed I was joking. But she was dismissed. She was kicked out of my tribe. She wasn’t the same person I knew growing up and I felt she had no moral compass.
This is what life is about–finding people with the same moral compass. This is why individuals find and go to churches. For the most part, you have the same values. This is why people join group organizations and events and clubs–you have the same interests. And, sometimes, for whatever reasons, our interests can change, our morals can change based on life’s experiences. And, that’s okay. But the important item is to understand where exactly you stand on issues and circle yourself with those individuals who will help promote your mental and spiritual well being, not try to damage it.
I’ve been in situations where adults with professional jobs have zero qualms with participating in illegal substances. When I seriously mention, “If shit goes down, I’d be the first one the cops would look at”, they laugh and tell me to quit joking. But it’s true. If someone were to smell marijuana down an apartment complex hallway, and you see a room of white Americans and a few black Americans–more often than not, the black american would be the one to blame for this. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard stories. I’m a tad more in tune with racial strife and discrimination than others. But again, in situations like this–I felt that these individuals did not respect my opinion or value my career where (I mentioned before) I would probably be drug-tested by my clients. They assumed I was joking or they truly didn’t care. When one does not have the same values or respect yours, you must ask yourself if you are damaging your own career, life, and/or image by associating with them.
Post-Hurricane Maria, I checked in on a few people I had exiled. People who, I once was close to and then was betrayed. You truly know your stance in others lives when you give people confidential information about you and they, the moment upset with you, use it as leverage. But still yet I was genuinely concerned about them. I walked to their homes, called their names, knocked on doors and exchanged hellos. I gave them supplies and asked if they needed anything else. But that was it. I didn’t want my sense of humanity to be misconstrued as welcoming back into my life. That wasn’t the case. Once I knew they were okay, I went back to my to my world, to my private life, and continued to worry about my own needs.
I’ve a long history of exiling people from my tribe. It’s a way of self preservation. It allows me to give them a moment of reflection, and if they don’t understand their ways and change, then they can’t be invited back into my tribe; if they have no moral compass though, they wouldn’t be able to find their ways back into my tribe anyway.
My tribe is small and exclusive. I pride myself in that. I have morals based on my 40-plus years of experience. My experiences are unique, just as everyone else’s. I know what I will stand for and what I deem inappropriate and, again, have no qualms speaking against it and standing up for it.