Lemonade is a visual telling of love lost, love found, and love redeemed.
A lot of people questioned my sanity when they read the message in my very first Ravishly article. They told me I didn't deserve to have a vagina, because no self-respecting vagina-haver would ever agree with the stance I took in that piece.
The stance in question? If my man cheats, don’t tell me. And if I see your man (woman, partner, whoever) cheating, I probably won’t tell you.
There were a lot of reasons listed for not wanting to know and not telling: Mainly that I’ve had the heartbreak to last 10 generations of women after me, and quite simply, I neither want nor think I can bear anymore.
Also, the notion that the man I love so deeply could turn and be a man I no longer recognize? Well, thanks, but I’ll pass.
But... What if it happened and somehow I found out about it (because you know that as women, we always know). How would I react? What would my feelings be? What would I say?
Beyoncé's surprise visual album Lemonade is the exact answer to those questions for me, and for what I’m willing to bet is a million other women who have run the gamut of heartbreak and survived. We’ve stayed out of jail behind our heartbreak — but maybe not without breaking a thing or two... or 20.
Lower those eyebrows, Judging Amy. Heartbreak is heartbreak and healing is healing, and you don’t get to judge it.
It’s that moment when we first find out that we feel lost in the thickness of it. We desperately try to find our way to the clearing where everything makes sense again, only to find ourselves standing on the precipice of our own mortality, because betrayal stings like death. We look around in our hopelessness, aching, screaming, begging for a savior — until finally we beg the one who drove us to the ledge to catch us as we fall.
This surrender is the beginning of the sting of betrayal, and hatred, and a heart that has been shattered. Perhaps they catch us, our saviors. Perhaps they don’t let us hit the bottom and break into a million shards, like shrapnel of a love that was whole and now isn't. Grateful for the temporary saving, we then pour all of ourselves into them via gratitude and hope, until we are literally drowning in our efforts.
We inhale everything in which we are enveloped because we can’t escape it. The lies and the betrayal, the desperate need to fix things, the hope that masquerades as the belief that we can (and will) make everything right again. We are steeped in it.
How do we escape it? How do we move around it? How do we keep it from becoming one with every pore that covers our being?
We don’t. We do what we think we need to do to keep the peace. We do what we think we need to do to keep our partners. We do what we think we need to do to be whole again.
And then, we have an awakening. An epiphany. A hot-damn-come-to-Jesus moment. And we get pissed. We throw things. We break things. We light things on fire. We scream and we cry and then we give way to the notion of unpredictability.
You know that old adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? We make good on that.
And then… We tell our girls.
We go through it all. Utter sadness, despair, hopelessness, rage, blind fury, searching of history and generations. All in the hopes of finding the pattern, tracing the line, and eating the bread crumbs on our way back to sanity so that we may never find ourselves back in that place.
Until finally, if we truly desire to, we put it all down. We let loose the wooden beams of our backs and replace them with tension rods that able to absorb the hurt to make room for the love. We find our way back to forgiveness, freedom, redemption, love.
We cry our way back. We scream our way back. We humble our way back. We love our way back.
With this visual answer to the question I (and so many of us) have contemplated at some point in relationships, Beyoncé reminds us that she is as real a woman as the rest of us. She is a strong woman, yet made even stronger in her ability to start anew.
We all have lemons. We all have to make lemonade at some point. The question is how tart are we going to allow it to be.