The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Sunday Guardian
of July 20
It was the Whisperer’s birthday last Tuesday and as some of those who loved him gathered and celebrated, he had cause to reflect on the many paths he has walked on, the many things he has seen and the many places he has been in.
The Whisperer, over the years, has crossed many bridges into unchartered territory and like many others who have gone before him, has wondered whether it is appropriate to burn the bridges he has crossed. Let’s get the analogy right. When soldiers go to war, there are times they are compelled by their commanding officers to cross bridges as they retreat or advance to occupy new places and to burn these bridges down after crossing them. This burning might serve several purposes; prevent the enemy from following them into the new place or prevent the men who have themselves crossed the bridge from deserting and running back across the bridge in the face of a fierce attack. It is an order that tells the men involved they have no options; they must stay and fight for the land they occupy, and sometimes to the death. The situation can be the same in relationships. Often, we enter into new relationships and it seems it is the most beautiful thing in the world, the best place to be, yet for some reason, we are unable to burn our bridges completely and give our total commitment to the ‘new land’ we have found.
We do not cut ties with former ‘soul mates’, aspiring suitors, ‘close friends’. We save them for a rainy day, for who knows what might lie across the bridge and the bridge is left intact for the day we might need to race across it in retreat. Sometimes people leave their bridges unscathed without even realizing it, but it is left whole, nonetheless. In this matter, it means the person who has refused to destroy bridges is either leaving an escape route (meaning he or she will not fight too hard for the new place) or is subtly permitting all his or her old ties to cross over when those ties finally make up their minds they want to do so.
The bridge that is left intact is in itself a message to whatever or whoever might have existed in the past that a chance still exists for enemy activity. It doesn’t matter whether this is physical betrayal or an emotional one. Sometimes, betrayal is betrayal.
The problem that occurs in the matter of the bridges left intact is that a subliminal message is passed to all those who were once important in the life of the person in question. The message is that there is still room. It is a message that also indicates your respect for your partner is not total and predators, new and old ones will cross the bridge when the time comes, throwing your relationship into disarray.
The Whisperer speaks today. If you notice the existence of a bridge in the life of your partner (some of them build mighty bridges with suspensions that divide so ships can pass under and then come together again), bring it to his or her attention and make it clear there is a problem that needs resolving. I’m not talking about bridges made of straw that cannot bear the weight of a man; the ones in issue here are those built so firmly by structural engineers that earthquakes cannot shake. Calmly point out the complications the existence of this bridge might cause in your lives, making clear that a person who does not let go of the shore will never see new horizons. If this person refuses to blow up the bridge, you cross that bridge yourself and burn it down behind you so that this disrespectful partner may never be able to cross over again to you.
Drastic remedy, you may say? Yes, there are no apologies for this recommendation, drastic situations require drastic remedies and the stakes are high- your heart. If your true love still says the company of a former partner is where he or she needs to go to find rest, it’s time you did a rethink. Regard yourself with the respect you should have and move on.
Some would ask- ‘What if I burn my bridges and I find out too late that it is a bad place I am in and there is no way to get out?’ The mark of adulthood is that you pause to reflect before you step into any situation. It’s your life and you cannot hold another responsible for the position you are in. Look carefully across the bridge before you cross over, and when you finally decide to walk across it, make up your mind it is coming down. For a relationship to work there can be no alternatives, no options.
So it’s the Whisperer’s birth-week and as he sits and reflects on the many bridges blown up behind him and as he contemplates the smouldering ruins of entire cities obliterated so as to make a new life for himself, he remembers people he has come across and who have become great friends.
Today, the Whisperer salutes two of these beautiful people, Nwando also known as dscr?be, and aramide whose other name is mona. The world would be a much better place if it had more of this sort. Birthdays are for reminiscing and for resolving matters. May the future be joyous for all those who love the Whisperer. For those who might not love him, well... they must look elsewhere for prayers.