“Can’t turn a bad girl good but once a good girl’s gone bad; she’s gone forever, I’ll mourn forever, got to live with the fact I did you wrong forever”
That was the realest shit I ever heard. I was only like 13 tho. Even into my early 20s, “Song Cry” was my heartbreak remedy. I didn’t need begging R&B records, Uncle Hov said aye sometimes things break bad, you just got to accept the L and move on. There wasn’t much personal accountability, it was I KNOW I’m flawed, but you were the best part of us, but now you’re as messed up as me. How disappointing…welp. New steak, who this. (issa callback). Sometimes the villain wins, so yada yada yada Jay ends up with the biggest superstar in the world, lord knows what happened to the Song Cry jawn. Fast forward to 2017, Jay is once again making the song cry… Except he is crying, and apologizing to himself, to his wife, to his kids, to his sister in law, to the nigga he stabbed, (not to Kanye, Dame, Foxy, or Beanie tho ) and even to me, the youth who fell in love with Jay Z. “Forever macking” Jigga was long gone, this was full blown Uncle Hov, humbled. Of course, we get older we mature (And sure it took until he was the same age Barack Obama was when he was elected, but hey.) but ultimately, Jay was humbled by what humbles many men, heartbreak and fatherhood. And sure being beat up in an elevator and being branded a cheater in front of the whole world helps too.
The humility of heartbreak, actual heartbreak, not you gave your situationship an ultimatum only to learn you didn’t matter that much or your #WCW just doesn’t look at you that way, makes you take a hard look at yourself. Someone who you thought would love you forever is done with you. Heartbreak that “Song Cry” or a trip out of town for a few days can’t fix. I’ve “loved” and lost, went through the motions of someone with a broken heart but in hindsight, my ego was just bruised. I don’t date exes as a general policy, but maybe I just didn’t love them enough to really earn them back. Far as I was concerned, they just went bad. I’ve loved and lost, and it gets to me sometimes. Not just the humbling of being heartbroken but the humbling of being so wrong that I had to teach myself how to trust myself again. That good girls weren’t just going bad, they were just over me. Still wondering if it’s even possible to love me forever, am I always just going to burn hot and quick like a supernova. It took Jay damn near 5 decades to figure out his flaws, what if I’m still blind to mine? Jay and Bey got a happy ending, but they’re the exception, not the rule.
The humility of fatherhood, of which I can only speak on as a spectator. Jay Z who coming up was as chauvinist as he was clever is now close to breaking at the thought of having to explain himself to his children one day. Most men have a fear their child will grow up and learn they ain’t shit. Kids are unfiltered too, they go to school and tell all their friends you ain’t got no job and 3 roommates. I think about my brother, who spent his last on my niece’s gift because *redacted family business* was worth not disappointing her. I see my cousin at a cookout, someone who one day *more redacted family business* and now is giving instructions on watching his daughter when all he was doing was going upstairs to shower for 30 minutes. They are probably more daughter dads as their kids are daddy’s girls. They make them want to be better men.
The irony in a girl being born with the burden of a man’s emotional maturity; from her father to the ones she love to the son she may have. It’s how Jay can say with a straight face that woman 12 years his junior matured faster than him, Kanye’s mother has been gone for a decade and we still blame her for not being around to check him. Women are simply held to a higher standard, expected to take on a project and just hold on for dear life and hope it works out.
I’m not in the clear myself, the man I’ve become and continue to be also came on the backs of the women in my pasts’ emotional labor. I’ve toyed with emotions, kept people around, tested the limits of their patience. There was a time that’s where I got my confidence from; being loved, being wanted, even if I didn’t feel the same. I’m still learning, still growing and I think I can figure it out before I’m 47. Maybe 30. 33? Okay, at least before I’m somebody’s husband or father.