Yes, this post is about a Madea skit!
I love Broadway shows and musicals. I also love stand up comedy and modern plays. In the modern play category, Tyler Perry’s, Madea Goes to Jail (the play, not the movie) has a scene that I always find myself thinking about or referencing on a yearly basis.
Let Em' Go, is a scene that talks about people and relationships as seasons. And within the seasons analogy, talks about relationships as parts of a tree. There are four lessons in it that I think are fantastic. I break them down like this:
Lesson #1: Learn to 'BE' By Yourself
I love being by myself. Somewhere, in my mid-twenties, I shifted from feeling like I had to be out and seen with people to feeling perfectly fine being by myself. I was living in West Hollywood at the time and I decided to walk to have lunch at Le Pain Quotidien (my favorite spot) that day.
I took my time with my sandwich, watching the people come and go, lightly listening to their conversations. I even had a moment where the paparazzi followed someone (I think it was Madeleine Stowe) in taking pictures voraciously. That day marked the first of many meals, adventures, and trips taken by myself. As Madea says:
“If you don’t know how to be by yourself, how can you be with someone else?”
Being “with” someone is yet another societal pressure that so many people subscribe to and aspire to constantly have. But ask yourself, “How can you show up for another person, if you can’t show up for yourself first?”
There’s nothing wrong with being the woman that’s happy “in a corner with a puppy and goldfish” (in my case, several puppies and horse), all by herself In learning to be comfortable by yourself, with yourself, you’re often able to figure out what you want in all types of relationships (works, friends, family, romantic), and not compromise what you need.
Lesson #2: Let Them Go - It’ll Get Easier
Lesson #1 leads to Lesson #2. When a relationship ends, it is okay to mourn it and feel the loss. But it’s important that you “go on with your life” and that you “don't stay there (in sorrow) too long.” As Madea says, “some people come into your life for a lifetime, and some come for a season. You have to know which is which.” That’s where the analogy of the tree comes into play:
- Leaves - Most of the people that come into your life are like leaves. They are there to take, and as soon as you need them, then are gone because they’re taken what they need from you, there is no reciprocity. And that’s not something that is inherently good or bad, it just is.
- Branches - People that you consider brands are more stable than the leaves, they provide something to you, but when deep, emotional situations happen, they leave. Once again, it’s not something that’s inherently good or bad. But these individuals are there for you to learn something from, the relationship has a breaking point and is meant to end when the lesson is finished. Staying past the learning time is often what people do because they don’t realize the lesson is over.
- Roots - These people are the ones that ground you, and they are what hold you up even in the worst of it. These relationships run deep, and these people never leave you. People in your life may not even know who these people are, but you do. Roots last a lifetime.
Letting go gets easier when you learn to love yourself.
Lesson #3: Don’t Throw People Away, Unless They Can’t Respect Your Needs
Madea goes say, “I’ve never thrown someone away,” which ties the idea of people being in your life for a season or a lifetime to setting boundaries. If someone in your life is doing something that hurts you, you tell them they are hurting you, and they don’t respect the request to stop, they don’t respect you. They need to go. That may seem hard, especially when it comes to a life that might be really entangled with someone else, “No matter how much it hurts, let them go.”
Lesson #4: The Two Places You Have Peace
There are only “two places you have peace – the grave and your house.” So why spend your living years with someone in your “house” (life) that takes away from your peace? The grave is the end destination, it shouldn’t be the only place you find it.
Be mindful of who’s in your life and why they’re there. Just like you edit your closets, inbox, and possession, editing relationships is just as important.
Nothing is worth your mental peace.