I, along with millions of viewers watched Oprah strip back layers of makeup, styling, fly haircuts, raucous lyrics with a sassy island accent to reveal the real Rihanna. A sensitive young woman- so real, that when she drives by in a drop top Isuzu on her native island of the Barbados, pedestrians yell out her government name, “Hey Robin.”
I was riveted to my television, as I saw myself in the eyes of a young woman who loves a man so much that it almost has an odor, possesses an actual shade that can only be found in the 128 crayon box. I’ve never been in a domestic violence situation, but my world- my love was changed suddenly like the pop star recounted, hers one night in a Lamborghini, mine in a 1-bedroom apartment.
I had totally devoted myself to this relationship early on in my young adulthood. My friends commented on how great we were for each other. I used words like Rihanna used about Chris, “love of my life” “best friend” and I was just as protective over him as she is.
So, as I watched her literally gush about her undying love while wearing a cute little sundress, I became worried. You see my “happy ever after” optimism that I try to take with me throughout life, the attitude that had me sure that she would be back with Chris Brown by Christmas, I even tweeted so much, had faded. When I woke up this morning, like oftentimes happens, love’s hangover had worn off and my experience in this very situation took over and told me that she should beware.
Not for the reason you may be thinking, I’m not worried that Chris will hit her again, though statistics suggest that once someone hits you in a relationship chances are they will do it again. No, my worry was that Rihanna is in love with a memory, not Chris Brown.
Here me out, after a very painful breakup from the “love of my life”, we reconnected several years later and I quickly realized that the young man that I was so head over heels in love with was….different. The difference was life. Some unfortunate instances happened that literally took the light out of his eyes, removed the comedy from his laugh, sucked the light out of his spirit, and I fear that same thing has happened to Chris Brown.
In the three years since that fateful night in Los Angeles, that made Rihanna “lose her best friend” as she confessed to Oprah, has changed him. Having taken the brunt of resentment, unkind words, scorn and disappointment from…well, everybody and deservingly so, has in my opinion made him a different, maybe even a jaded individual.
Mind you, I am just an observer and I’m no psychiatrist, but I’m not blind either. The experience I had with my ex, the look I saw on his face is the same look that I see Chris carry.
Chris has worked to change himself physically in the last three years, almost completely covering himself with tattoos, maybe an armor of sorts for the prying public and scathing press and papparazzi?
When I see pictures of Rihanna and Chris pre-incident, you can see the love emanating from him for her, there was almost a protective bubble that surrounded them. When I see pictures of Chris and his current girlfriend, I don’t get that same feeling, as a matter of fact look at the picture above, his expression and the fact that she’s walking BEHIND him says a lot to me.
The lightness of his spirit and the hope in his eyes in that “Run It” video, is all but gone. When he dances now, (don’t get me wrong, he still can dance,) that freedom is not there, there’s almost a pain to the steps that he takes, a deep frantic like pattern of a man dancing for his life or dancing not to lose his mind.
I quickly learned that my “love of my life” too was different, that life had hardened him and I had feelings for what we used to have and not what we currently had. I caution Rihanna that if she does decide to go back down the relationship road with Chris Brown that she take into consideration that he has changed, as I am sure she has. I would encourage her, from one sister to the next to get to know him for who he is today, not who he was three years ago. If that new man still makes her stomach drop like she said on the Oprah interview, then and only then should she proceed with a relationship.
I wish them both well, whether it’s with each other or with different partners.