Giving You the Best That I Got

I often think (and respond) in song lyrics. Am I the only one? I mean I really pray no one at work ever says “it’s getting hot in here” because I’m liable to shout out “SO TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES”!!!….and then I’ll be looking for new employment. *Kanye shrug* I watch TV shows and low key analyze the song that is played in the background for a given scene. If I like it, I’ll Google it and add it to my Tidal playlist. Yes, it’s that serious. So now that you know THAT about me, it should come as no surprise that when, at the end of a long day of homeschooling and teleworking, helping my husband with his business and fielding calls from every bored co-quarantine-er on the east coast…at the end of THAT kind of day when one more person asked me for me for one more thing to add to my already full plate, I responded — “I’m tapped out — I’VE GIVEN YOU THE BEST THAT I GOT!!!” *insert puzzled look on the face of the recipient of that response*

As women we often give “the best that we got” to our spouse, our children, our parents, our girlfriends, our churches, our organizations….to everyone…!! (except ourselves) Even with our new-found “Self Care Sundays” and our meditation and our me-time…and as we “live our best lives”, these things often come at the end of a long day, after we have nothing left to give, after we are beat down and exhausted, after we have taken all that we can take and THEN we say enough already, I need a break!!!! Rarely do we self care just because. My deepest moments of meditation come after my children have called my name so many times that I wonder why I was in a rush for them to learn to talk….it’s THEN that I retreat to a quiet place, queue up my meditation app, and clear my head. After stress, exhaustion, and anxiety kick in, I book a room and have a staycation where I can just relax and write, or read a book, order room service, and unwind. After my husband and my son have tap danced on my last nerve by battling each other on the fart app *insert eye roll* or after I’m ‘all cried out‘, I lace up my sneakers, throw on my sweats and my headphones, and let the breeze, the sun, and the pavement beat the stress out of me. Sadly, for many of us, it’s not until we’ve come to the ‘end of the road‘, that self care becomes a priority.

Here’s your aha moment for the day boys and girls. If you are giving everyone else the ‘best that you got’, then you are giving yourself sloppy seconds. Hell, you might be giving yourself thin thirds or feeble fourths. Let that sink in. You can’t give everyone your best and still have your best available to feed YOUR mind, YOUR body, YOUR spirit, and YOUR dreams. Think for a moment, what if we gave our best to our “side hustle” or our dream business instead of our 9 to 5? What if we made our self-cation or our stay-cation a regularly reoccurring event instead of a last ditch escape when we’re stressed? Girls trips, yoga, meditation, daily self care — all a priority. Giving ourselves our best and then bestowing that best upon those we choose, at our discretion.

There’s no time like the present to start being good to yourself FIRST. We are all in trying times….and while some people would say that you should use this time to be ‘thinking of a master plan‘, the truth is you should be using this time to take better care of yourself — whatever that looks like for you. Maybe the quarantine has given you all kinds of newfound time and you use it to finally write that screenplay you’ve always wanted to write. Maybe the stress and anxiety of the unknown makes it hard for you to focus on much of anything. Whether you are working from home or the quarantine has left you unemployed. Whether you are wondering how you can drop your kids off at their teacher’s house, or whether you have binge watched everything Netflix ever created…. Wherever you are personally in these times AND even once things return back to whatever-comes-after-normal…begin transitioning to a mindset of giving your best to yourself. Be your ‘number one, two, three, four, and five‘ for a while, and then share with the world what you will.


No, those aren’t filters or special effects. On August 8, 2019 a woman tried to spit on me. She pulled in front of me and slammed on breaks repeatedly and wouldn’t allow me to pass. She cursed at me. Called me bald headed and ugly. Threatened to whoop my ass. Threatened to follow me to my job. Then, in one last heroic feat of anger, tried to pepper spray me from her moving vehicle. Why, you ask…because she said I cut her off in traffic. Look, I won’t get into a back and forth about whether I did or did not cut her off… Of course I don’t think I did and she (obviously) felt very strongly that I did… What I WILL discuss here are the conflicting and contradictory feelings this “incident” brought to the surface and the burden I carried in deciding between justice and, ummm…just-us?

After that incident occurred, I drove to work and sat in the parking lot shaking. I was fuming….angry…livid! I was stuck somewhere between being proud of myself for not responding in kind and pissed at myself for not cursing her the f*$k out!! Stuck somewhere between proud of my calmness under pressure, and feeling like a straight up pu$$y. Unsure of whether to admire my restraint, or question my lack of passion. My yin and yang weren’t meshing. I called for back-up. I sent the video (yes there was a whole video of these shenanigans) to my “circle”. Within minutes I had a myriad of responses….everything from “you should have whooped her a$$” to “you did the right thing” to “she better be glad I wasn’t there”. It seemed my circle had differing opinions on the proper course of action as well. But, as God often does, He sent back up.


me – hello?

My BFF – Girl, are you okay?!?!?

I sat in the parking lot and rehashed the whole thing with her. At the end she said, you did the right thing. She suggested I call the non-emergency police number and report the incident in case she truly did follow me to work to whoop my a$$. I did. I explained the incident and, at their request, provided the video. What happened next was a lesson in criminal justice that I won’t soon forget.

Time passed and that day was in my rear view. Oh blah dee oh blah da life goes on…and then, a letter. I came home to a letter in my mailbox and a subpoena taped to my door. I was subpoenaed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to testify for the state against (let’s just call her) Spitty. I immediately got a sinking feeling in my stomach — one that would occur again the day I arrived in court.

“Justice should not be contingent upon you having enough money to pay a lawyer who cares.”

I was asked to arrive early to meet with the Prosecutor, which I did. She asked me to provide my side of the story. I did. Then, she pulled out a compact disc (yes….a compact disc…lol), inserted it into her computer, and began playing the video from that day. Seeing it again brought back the same rush of feelings….AGAIN. As the video ended she turned to me rather matter-of-factly and asked “what would you like to see happen?”. My silence and blank stare must have tipped her off that I wasn’t really sure what she was asking of me, so she stated, “she has been charged with simple assault which carries a sentence of up to a year in jail, and a $2,500 fine..based on this video we can push for that sentence or we can pursue other options if you wish. Whatever you decide, I will present to her public defender.” Public defender? Jail time? Trials? Fines? Oh my… At that moment, my eyes began to leak involuntarily… I don’t know why (or maybe I do), but in that moment I was brought to tears. I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my responsible-looking-for-court sweater and I looked up at the (black like me) prosecutor and I said, ” I don’t want to send her to jail”. We discussed other options (I’ll spare you the details) and came up with an offer to present to her public defender. After some discussion and a counter offer, an agreement was reached.

The final details of Spitty’s “punishment” aren’t important other than to note that it didn’t involve any jail time. In fact, if Spitty does all that was asked of her in the agreement, she could actually avoid this incident being placed in her criminal record. To me, that’s just-us. As I sat in the prosecutor’s office and looked at the mile high stack of cases she would have to try today, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the defendants looked like me. While some (read – not people of color) can take a look at the case and make a decision on how to proceed based solely on the crime that was done to them, I somehow felt that I had a greater responsibility. I asked the prosecutor if Spitty had a prior criminal record. I asked if Spitty was convicted, would it hinder her chances of finding employment in the future. I asked what would happen if she couldn’t pay the fine. To me, these things were important in deciding how to proceed. What if I did proceed with asking for a conviction? What if she lost her job while sitting in jail? What if she couldn’t pay the fine? I personally didn’t want to be responsible for contribute to putting Spitty into the prison cycle — a cycle that won’t let you go easily once you’re in — not for THIS crime. As I watched Spitty’s public defender arrive 5 minutes before court began, with an even larger stack of manila folders than the prosecutor, I couldn’t help but think about how public defenders often get very little time to prepare for the cases that they defend on any given day. The person who argues for your freedom may have only known of you for 10 minutes before they have to defend you. Justice should not be contingent upon you having enough money to pay a lawyer who cares. Even Spitty deserves better than that. We all do.

Some may say I’m stupid for not pursuing a worse punishment for Spitty. I have indeed heard “I would have sent her azz to jail” a few times today. Some say that she had no regard for me on the day she spit at me and threatened to follow me and whoop my a$$. Perhaps. Maybe my decision was less than smart….who knows….? I suppose time will tell. What I DO know is that on this day I made a choice. I chose to believe that Spitty deserved another chance to get it right. I chose to believe that August 8th was a fluke for her and that she shouldn’t be ‘too harshly’ judged for her behavior on what may have been her worst day. I chose to believe that something else was driving (no pun intended) her treatment of me that day. Had she just lost her dog? Her job? Her man? Maybe her Christmas was cancelled. Maybe her fresh cornrows were too tight. Whatever the reason, I chose to believe that what I experienced was her worst behavior on her worst day, and that she didn’t deserve to be entered into a vicious cycle because of it. I am hoping Spitty received the lesson and will think twice about how she reacts out of anger going forward. Whether she does, or does not, “it’s above me now”… I just know that a woman who looks like me got a second chance today, and to me, that’s just-us.