The Trap of “Potential”, Trauma, and Understanding Yourself as a Man

The following article is subject to updates if warranted, however, every event detailed has evidence accounting for them in the case of defamation of character. The statements included in this post are not associated with the #GameCargoFitness brand and is a personal editorial. The comment section will be left open for those with questions or related stories for the author.

First and foremost, Juju B of the podcast ‘Free Reverie’, otherwise known as Jaclyn Barker: Yes, I no longer see her. I ended the relationship in February this year, which comically enough, was one month after the eighth entry of the first ‘Black Grindhouse’ season, titled ‘Date Night Movies of the Decade’ (2010-2019)’. I never spoke too much about it simply because I didn’t care to give her any attention when I wanted to leave that particular situation buried in the past. I don’t dwell on what was anything but inevitable. With that said, I am going to address a few statements that were made to direct a flawed narrative in order to publicly insinuate that she was a victim and I was an abuser of sorts. Similar to what she has done with previous exes.

She is a mother, however, her son was not a problem at all nor a factor in my decisions such as being hesitant about giving her access into my abode or meeting my circle. Her behavior was. During the relationship, she would hit her child for acting out, which is absurd, because he is a two-year-old. I’ve commented on it and that did not go over well, so I distanced myself by not going over to her place when she had custody instead of the father of the child. Ultimately, I decided to return on scheduled days because of my concern for his well-being and he naturally grew an attachment to how I treated him. By doing what, you might ask? Acting fatherly, as I had an example set during my childhood to base my own conduct on. I assume she grew resentment due to this and that’s the primary reason for the projection that she’s displayed.

Regarding “the connection” that she mentioned, I do have firm boundaries that I make partners aware of in the beginning. Unfortunately, I did make the mistake of giving more chances than I should have. She would lightly slap me in the face and call it “tapping” after I told her before to stop disrespecting that area of my upper-body or pulling on my hair when I let it grow out. I was arrogantly met with resistance and spoke to as if I were exaggerating. There’s been an incident where I was yelled, screamed, and sworn at over stripping a screw when putting together her mattress frame. The hounding progressed to a point where I almost decided to pay for another after gathering my belongings with the intention of walking away permanently. I refused to engage and Jaclyn offered empty apologies. During an altercation initiated on her end, she admitted to emotional manipulation by “breaking up with me” once because I was preoccupied with cleaning my vehicle, and upon returning to work through the ordeal that occurred, I found her crying along with “vomiting” in the toilet.

I did not harm her physically or emotionally and while I will admit to lashing out near the end through blunt deconstruction after holding my tongue for the longest, it was in response to having blame placed on me for choices that she made. For instance, debt that she impulsively put herself into. I recollect two moments where I’ve pulled her to the side when I felt that she was spending too much. The first is 2019’s ‘Indy VegFest’ and the second is our trip to ‘After Dark’ (Yes, it’s an adult novelty shop). Frugality is a trait of my minimalist mindset, so everything I gifted her was that she needed or out of the kindness of my heart. This did not matter, nor did bringing over food when she vaguely expressed that she was going through hardship, because “I didn’t cook” as often as she would have liked me to. Other complaints included prioritizing my financial freedom and not being obsessed with the approval of her family as if we were teenagers.

Prior to being a couple, in 2018, we had a casual arrangement. After reluctantly giving exclusivity, since I was asked for quite some time, I learned that she tried using my presence to make her ex-partner jealous. Who, I heavily suspect, also became unsettled by her antics and left. She claims he cheated, but I have a feeling it may have been the other way around. I did not meet him officially because my suspicions were ultimately correct. As a Black man, I as well made the conscious effort not to feed negative energy between myself and another brother.

Although I took what I found to be necessary precautions, (that thankfully support my case in the event of slander or a lawsuit), such as recording phone conversations, saving text messages, and documenting the ongoings of the defunct relationship, I questioned why I stayed for so long, aside from wanting to protect the child as I understand what it’s like to have a volatile mother. I held the belief that people grow and change. That’s not always the case. There’s a clear pattern that seems to be consistent with BPD (abbreviation for Borderline Personality Disorder), from what I’ve researched, and I don’t doubt that it’s a possibility considering what she has told me during a moment of clarity in one of our last conversations. I paraphrase: “There is a reason why I told you about my past.” concerning actions one would deem “crazy”. Her original justification was completely different, but apparently, altering history also fits the criteria of the illness. It also doesn’t help that she mentioned not wanting to be on medication. Most likely due to stigma.

Even if I were to omit the label that would capsulize common habits of hers, for those familiar with it, I still had to contend with unnecessary jealousy on top of her seeking male validation, considering every trivial disagreement as an argument, reliance on alcohol consumption, poor attempts at lying, and anger management issues. I made a joke to my friend near the end of last year that I felt like I had to be a pseudo-father figure, lover, and psychic in the relationship. I honestly don’t believe that should be a normal dynamic, and the weight on my shoulders lifted the further that I detached from what I suspected to be very unusual. Hence why I allowed a cooldown period so that confusion did not cloud my judgment moving forward.

The reason why I have chosen to come forward is that had I known what I do now, I would have never given her the time of day because I value my peace, security, and future. Men must be aware of what’s at risk when we allow our complex to decide against our best interests. We cannot hope for potential to manifest itself at the expense of our sanity. Society was built off of the servitude of men that weren’t selfish, brainwashed into idealizing inherently manipulative beliefs, and died at young ages. That is not a life I wish on anyone. Once we identify our circumstances, we must change them for the better. It’s an obligation that we have to ourselves.

This may mean confronting our programming, which ranges from religious indoctrination, trauma that’s normally trans-generational, unreasonable expectations that take a toll on our well-being, to traditions that we bound ourselves to instead of challenging them and negative peer pressure that serves a close-minded purpose. It’s important to recognize what we are responsible for and what we aren’t. We are not responsible for the happiness of others. This is fundamental knowledge to master as men. Especially those without a father in their lives to turn to for guidance. Regardless of the difficulty that I experienced throughout my childhood, had my father not stayed, I would have turned out emotionally unstable. I can say that with absolute certainty.

I do not shy away from using my outlets as a form of therapy or blogging my thoughts when I need to vent. My nonchalant attitude towards judgment provides me an amount of indifference that enables my outspoken persona. In contrast to my younger days, the distinct ability I’ve acquired is being able to reflect and psychologically dissect to the best of my studies. I don’t seek to level the playing field because I’ve gained very little satisfaction doing so in the past. My drive has been coming more from within and I have meditation to thank for this. Not in the spiritual sense, but in the mental. The mind is what constructs the path that we take. Everything else needs to be appropriately filtered.

On that note, I do want to thank my friends, family, colleagues, and sweetheart for their encouragement on these upcoming projects. Make sure you tune in to the next couple of episodes of the ‘Black Grindhouse’ podcast as we wrap up our first season. We also have two insane animated shorts on the way and original music from artists who have worked with ‘Ultimate Mecha Radio’!

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl