Malcolm, Marie & The Purpose of Relationships

“Told you about givin' him chances on chances on chances He's not holdin' you down, he's holdin' you back right now" - Drake




If I'm being honest, this is one letter that was hard to write. I kept pushing it down on my to-do list and then procrastinated when it was time. But the more resistance you encounter towards something, the more important it is for you to do it. So here it is. If you ever meet me, you would think that I was the sweetest person ever. I am always upbeat and smiling no matter what is going on inside. But if you were to ever be in a relationship with me, let's say I'm a muthafucka. I have trust issues, needy, and my mouth keeps in me trouble. In the moment of anger, I will say things to cut my partner down. Then I feel like shit minutes later.

I never realized it until I watched Malcolm & Marie, but I thrived on the drama. I thought that the yelling, fighting, and make-up sex was just the cycle of love. But once I saw this movie, I was disgusted by myself and ashamed of my behavior. Looking back on it now, I see how living in chaos was my default setting and toxicity was my norm. Malcolm & Marie is a film about a couple after the night of a movie premiere. Malcolm is the director who's having the night of his life, and Marie is his lovely girlfriend raining down on his parade.


I found myself hating Malcolm, talking to the television, and questioning Marie. I knew without researching this was based on a real argument because it felt real. Malcolm didn't have to raise his hands, and Marie didn't have to throw anything- but these two managed to destroy each other emotionally. I could feel Marie's pain of loving and supporting someone, but they not truly seeing your worth and who you are trying to become. While also understand Malcolm's frustration with someone trying to argue with them on the biggest nights of their life.

I felt the pain of Marie being taken advantage of and feeling like she gave too much of herself away. While also understand the complicated and grey area that Malcolm found himself in, you know the one where two people lean on each other so much that they become one? I could easily understand how Marie got to a place where she forgot her dreams because she believes in her man greatness. While also understanding the confusion of self-sabotaging behavior.


One day at the nail shop, we started talking about Malcolm & Marie. It was me, two girls around my age and an older woman. The older woman, let’s call her Linda, bragged about being well over fifty, but she didn’t look a day over thirty. It was something about Linda I liked and automatically respected. When we all admitted that we were "shocked," Marie didn't call Malcolm a bitch. Linda only shook her head, laughed, then told us her number one rule in her relationship: no profanity during arguments. Her exact words were: “I don’t’ even play like that because after a “bitch” slip, here comes the muthafucka. Why would you want a man who would talk to you like that?”

Being the Mother that she is, Linda followed up her statement by reminding us that she was older and had to learn the hard way. I admitted I was trying to accept my toxic ways. In which she told me: “Sweetie, that’s simply a part of life. That is what you call growing up.” In the 1950s, Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby created this thing called "attachment theory." They believed that a person's attachment style (i.e., how you relate with others in relationships) starts when you are an infant (0 to 1 years old). Meaning that if your parents were busy, neglectful, or unable to emotionally connect with you as a baby, it has affected your ability to connect with others throughout your life. But what it truly means is that your idea of love is formed before you turned four years old.


So if you grew up in a chaotic and toxic environment, nine times out of ten, you would end up in a toxic and messy relationship because it’s your default settings. When I first met Sincere, I wanted to be saved. Despite all the academic and professional success, I was lost spiritually and mentally. So I got in a relationship with this person who mirrored all these parts of myself that I lost. I bragged about how he "saved" and changed me. But the truth is I saved myself. I learn to stand on my own because I felt alone within the relationship. Sometimes, often, God uses a person to get you to the one. If you look at every relationship as “ the one," you are setting yourself up for failure. But we are not taught to look at relationships this way.

We are taught to be a "rider" and be "loyal." We are fed since birth that "love is hard." So instead of taking the universal hints, we take it as a personal challenge of endurance. See, for a long time, I hated myself for not hating Sincere. I hated that after he walked out on me, I still wanted and craved him. I didn’t understand how we could have all this chemistry and it not work. But sometimes that is the lesson: How much do you truly love yourself? So many of us are unhappy in our life and instead of figuring out why we feel that way:


We get in a relationship with another to validate our existence. Each time we are setting ourselves up for failure because we're asking this person to complete this part of yourself that you don’t even know. The truth is you can only become whole from within. What attracted me to Sincere was the very things I had in myself. His presence in my life reminded me of that and nothing more, which is much better than a kid or ring if you ask me. It reminds me of the famous Oprah Winfrey line: Instead of asking why it’s happening? We should be asking what is this situation trying to teach us? The same can be said for Malcolm & Marie.

Did Malcolm use Marie? Was he right, or was she wrong? The answer to that question, like life, is not black and white. It lives in shades of grey. But I also don't think that was the purpose of this movie. I couldn’t help but think about how pivotal that night was for them. Maybe they needed to have this argument so Marie could speak her truth. Perhaps God has been leading Marie to this very moment, for her to realize that she does want to be an artist. Maybe this fight happened for her to take control of her life. See, I believe a lot of us are like Marie. Looking for someone to save us, make us feel better, and God send us a person.


This person is sent to trigger us by making us feel comfortable in our dysfunction. They are a mirror of our shadow self. Not because that’s what we deserve, but to awaken us to our greater purpose in life. While on the surface, this movie is about a petty fight, it's really about what happens when we try to be "saved" by another person. In turn, we end up putting our faith in another instead of ourselves. So in actuality, God sent Malcolm to Marie to wake her the fuck up. That night she was presented with the choice: Do you want to live the life your trauma created, or do you want something more?

The worst person to betray is yourself. Yet, the number one rule we learn about relationships is to “compromise." People are self-sabotaging and refusing to be vulnerable in relationships because they don’t believe in love. While others have been taken advantage of and beaten down in the "name" of love. So many of us are loving people with one foot out the door. Even in the spiritual community, people will trust the universe to manifest everything in their life but love. That's not the universe or God's fault. That's on us. In life, we get what we believe is possible for our life. A few years ago, I went to the Zen Center in Hamtramck.


This man asked the monk, “how do you find a “spiritual teacher”? She said that your spiritual teacher should be your life partner or the person you intend to marry. It should be someone that challenges you and helps you grow into the best person possible". Why are we not taught this? We're taught to get in marriages with a man who can provide or some other superficial bullshit. The hardest pill for me to swallow was that I accepted what Sincere gave me. Once I realize that it was me and my beliefs that were holding me back, everything shifted, and walking away from Sincere wasn't that scary.

When you make decisions based on fear, you leave no room for God or miracles to occur in your life. My God isn’t limited in his ways to bless me. His love, reach, and capabilities are beyond measure. Malcolm & Marie revealed what happens when you forget your life is yours and yours alone. Only you can save you. I am happy that I finally realized that and became whole—all on my own.


-AM


JOURNAL PROMPTS:

  • How was your childhood? How does it mirror your current circumstances?

  • What are your five core beliefs?

  • Do you believe in love?

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