This weekend an old friend from my neighborhood called me. She wanted to let me know that she had finally read my book and absolutely loved it. She admitted that she had initially got her copy as a way to show me some support---after all it's not everyday a girl from the neighborhood gets her very first book published. But she says she didn;t read it becasue at the time she didn't "need" to. She was happily married raising her two teenage children and all was right with the world. Until...her husband told her he was not happy and needed some space so he moved out. She later discovered he had moved in with another woman! She said all of this came as a total shock to her and she has been suffering and searching for sources of comfort and inspiration---so she finally reached for my book.
Well, I was sorry to hear about her marriage trouble and especially the fact that her husband had moved in with another woman. But what I was most sorry to hear was the guilt, disillusionment and despair I heard in my old fr end's voice. She was wracked with guilt but not about the failing marriage but her inability to "get over it". I had to tell her--don;t beat yourself up!! You have two children with this man, he is your husband. Of course you are going to be hurt. It's understandable that you have pain. But she insisted that since the marriage had already seen it's share of troubles, her husband was obviously a man with little integrity--a liar!!- she should be able to just let it go get over it already. She never pictured herself as a "needy" woman who would "die" without her man but this experience is showing her a new side of herself. She is sad and depressed and confessed she has even considered suicide. She is finding it hard to be a "strong Black woman" and I told her--good!! Don't be! Be weak and feel your pain and get the help you need. Stop thinking that just because you are Black and strong you are not supposed to feel any pain or if you do feel pain you have to grunt and bear it all alone.
I referred her to chapter 5 in my book "You Are Not Alone" so she can be reminded that woman have suffered and survived breakups since the beginning of time. She thanked me for taking time to listen to her story and promised to reach out again to me or to a pastor or a therapist if she continued to have self-destructive thoughts. I was glad I was there on the other end of the phone for her and sincerely wished her the best, thanking her for reminding me that although my book was published almost two years ago, people are still finding it powerful, useful and timely. It made me realize though that sometimes people just need someone to talk to and maybe I should make myself available for phone sessions. Hmmm.....more to come!