It's a phrase well known in hip hop, quoted best by rapper Notorious B.I.G. If you didn't know then, you know now. So thereâs no excuse for ignorance because you have been educated on the matter.
I really disliked my ex-fiance for a long time after our breakup. I thought he was stupid, foolish, irresponsible, all the names you could think ofâhe was it. Before you defend him, he did so much in our relationship to tear it apart, and by the time I reached my breaking point, I never thought I could respect him for anything.
One day out of the blue, my ex-fiance called me to deliver the news of his newborn son. My reaction to his junior was pretty monotone ("Um ... OK. Congrats."). I had spoken to him a couple of months prior to the holidays, and I heard no hint of any babies-to-be. When I curiously inquired why he didnât tell me beforehand, he began to stutter. "W ... well, I didn't know he was mine at first, but when we got a DNA test for him, that's when I knew."
Um ... OK.
You see, his whole attitude toward this child did a 180 when he realized it was truly his own flesh and blood. Personally, I feel the fool should've been smart enough to figure this out before the water broke ... or at least figure out what type of woman he was with before playing the guessing game. But I digress. The point is that he knows now.
I don't play a part in his life anymore, but his situation did cast a light on my own ignorance. My ancestry is connected to the church, all the way back to slavery. For whatever reason, my generation lost that connection, and I grew up putting the pieces of the spiritual puzzle together by my lonesome. For many years, I was both fascinated and repulsed by pretty much all religions, attempting to educate myself about them and criticize them at the same time. I was ignorant. And Iâm still ignorant. However, going to different churches and Bible studies on a somewhat regular basis, along with praying on the sneak tip, I've started to gain a little more knowledge on Christianity (by choice) and I'm developing a more spiritual path.
I will never be a man, and I will never know the stress of guessing if a child belongs to me or not. But I think the anxiety my ex had toward knowing the truth about his kid is the same anxiety I have toward wanting to know the truth about God. The difference between him and me? Whether he delighted in his new discovery or not, he still was able to relieve himself of the ignorance that consumed him for nine months; whereas my ignorance still stands ... in almost a similar stance it held years ago. I never thought I'd see the day when a man I once loathed would inspire such a self-analysis.
My former love could've decided to opt out of the DNA testing and reject or accept the baby with no further education. I don't think either decision would've been very smart. But looking in the mirror, I see that I ride the fence in a manner that I would normally disfavor when it comes to other people's lives. I'm waiting for the day when I can gain enough confidence to get my own testing done, to see where I need to be.
But out of all this I did realize one thing: I think I do have something to respect my ex for.
In Raleigh's Moore Square and around Main Street in Durham, we ignore people who we assume don't have housing. Rocky and those like him go to Love Wins or the Maurin House to find eye contact, to hear a "good morning," to be a part of their cities.