Be My Guest: Tanisha L. Alston



Last week, I got an interesting email in my inbox. Tanisha, a dear reader of this blog, sent along something she’d written, just for herself.

It’s the kind of therapeutic writing you do to get through a difficult moment. It was something personal, raw and private.

When she read my post about freaking out over tree fungus, she thought about how writing makes us brave. And she shared her essay with me. For no other reason except that it needed to be shared.

And I asked her to share it with us.

For no other reason except that it needs to be shared.



The End: By Tanisha L. Alston

Four days ago I lost the ten year friendship of one of my closest friends.

My husband of four years, eleven months and one day moved out.

For four days, I’ve been alone in a house we bought together. I’ve been sleeping alone on our queen-sized pillow topped mattress we used part of our income tax to buy last year.  His car hasn’t pulled in behind mine in our driveway. Whiskers from his twice a week shave haven’t sprinkled the bathroom sink in days. He isn’t coming back.

Things between us have peaked and plummeted consistently for the past three years. It began with infidelity that continued and seeped mistrust into our relationship. Things started to crumble when neither of us could move past it. The end arrived on Sunday night when I came to the realization that I never would.

The first person I told was my mother. I had her get on speakerphone with my step-father, so I could deliver the news to both with no repeat. I was ready to release. I took a deep breath. Finally, I could speak what I’d already been feeling for months.

“I have endured. I’m done.”

I filled them in with the latest details that pushed me into knowing that it was time to stop fighting for us. It was time to put my hands up and surrender before things got ugly.  This time, things need to be official.

I made more calls to a few close friends to let them know it was time. I could tell by their responses, my news wasn’t a surprise. Like real homies do, all came through with their own unique ‘we got your back’ responses.

“You deserve better” said Stephanie, my always-believing-in-love girlfriend of nearly two decades. “I just want you to be happy.”

Regina, who puts a positive spin on everything said, “Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. You strong girl. You gonna be alright.”

“Girl, you need me to come over there?” That was Andrea, my hilarious former neighbor who spoke frenzied patois when she was pissed.

Ten minutes later Andrea and I were sitting at my dining room table.  We talked about how relationships can simply fall apart. Why people hurt the ones they vow to love for life.  Would we ever get this love thing right?  I didn’t have any answers. My thoughts floated in and out of my Andrea’s words until she asked me why I seemed so calm.

Finally, a question I could answer.

I told Andrea that a while back I had already made choices about how I was going to attempt to handle the dismantling of my union.  I had no intentions on bottling up my feelings.

I knew how I might feel waking up in the morning and looking at the closet.  I knew I would cry when I saw that his clothes weren’t there.  There was the time I accidentally pressed two on my phone and seeing my husband’s face come up on my screen brought immediate tears. I was pretty sure I would only be able to sleep on one side of the bed for a minute. There was no way I could front.

I’m going to be going through it.

I told Andrea that I knew I was going to have moments that I mourn the loss of our dream. It’s only natural.  I also know that I can’t let the loss of our dreams put a damper on any dreams that I have for myself. I’ve still got a life to live.

I know I’m not going to take the ending of my marriage and spend time internalizing it in negative ways.  I’m going to think about all we accomplished as a couple. I’m going to think about how he encouraged me as a writer. I’ll remember how he embraced my child as if she were his own. I’ll always love him for those things and more. Those memories make our ending bittersweet.

I don’t think Andrea really believed me until I told her my real secret weapon. The mantra I’ve used for years.  The one I never thought  would apply to what happened four days ago.

What’s meant for me will be mine. What’s not shall be removed.

Saying these words has always calmed me in my disappointments and elevated my joy when things are going well. Right now, I’m in the middle of both, but I know I’m going to be alright.

What’s meant for me will be mine. What’s not shall be removed.


Tanisha Alston is a freelance writer living outside of Philly. Her work has been in/on, and The Philadelphia City Paper. She reviews CD’s and concerts for the Philadelphia Inquirer and was recently hired as a freelancer for the Inquirer’s weekend section. She’s working on a novel and an Hip Hop-themed anthology with Gangstarr Girl.


Dear readers: I’ve been thinking about those lines ever since I read Tanisha’s essay: What’s meant for me will be mine. What’s not shall be removed.

What do those lines mean to you? Are there areas in your life in which those words can relate?

Tanisha and I would love to hear from you…

13 Responses to “Be My Guest: Tanisha L. Alston”

  1. Kenesha Says:

    Wow. I say this because I’ve just come through some marital drama of my own although with a different outcome. Luckily, there was no infidelity in our issues, just two different people trying to do the best they could do and losing touch with one another in the process. I also say wow, because her mantra is close to mine, which is “What God has for me is for ME!” (you must put the exclamation on it…LOL). I will start adding her mantra to mine though because it bears repeating, in fact it’s a great life mantra. A much better way to channel life’s disappointments than sitting and ruminating on them until they and you in turn, become sour on life.

    Bravo Tanisha for your faith in your life and not giving up on your dreams. :)

  2. cherryl252 was here Says:

    yes. YES! get it out there. i love your words, your strength. you’re awesome and whatever is in store for you, you’re on the right path.

  3. Mignon Says:

    My grandmother always told me that sometimes the very things God is trying to tear us away from are the things we hold onto the tightest. Sometimes its necessary to let things go. I always remember the words my grandmother said when I’m faced with things I want to hold onto. Even now, I have to ask myself — Are they there because they should be, or because I want them to be? I think Tanisha’s mantra is one that can be applied to EVERY life. It’s oftentimes easy to accept those things that are meant to be yours. Its so much harder to release those things that must be removed.

    Keep the faith Tanisha and by all means reach for your dreams. Know through your bravery, you’ve inspired so many to simply let some things go.

  4. Eunique Says:

    This phrase definitely applies to my life currently. I am entering my third year of college in DC and here at Howard you have to quickly learn that what’s meant to be yours shall be and what is not will be gone. I jokingly tell my friends that all things that I want are fleeting, but I know my blessing is coming.

    Tanihsa, keep the faith. Your writing is so beautiful and I know everything will work out for the best.

  5. bombdigz Says:

    Tanisha* my apologies for the fumble.

  6. GP Says:

    WHAT GOD HAS FOR ME IS FOR ME… Going through a similar situation with basically the same out come. I wish that I could of grasp that concept a lot sooner. But as my faith in God increased I’ve learned not to hold on to people that didn’t want to hold on to me through this journey of life. I’ve waste a lot of time(which you can’t get back) on wanting people to treat me like I wanted to be treated. So with the Lord as my guide and by my side I have not lost my faith in Marriage/Relationships, because WHAT GOD HAS FOR ME IS FOR ME!

  7. Yolonda Says:

    Tanisha, WOW!!! Your mantra is uplifting even as I read it. I live by similiar mantra but yors adds a positive spin on it. Thanks for sharing and keep your head up.

  8. ebwriter Says:

    This is so heart felt. Nicely written. I can relate on so many levels to this situation. Stay strong. Positive thoughts promote a positive outcome.

  9. Jackie H. Says:

    That’s a heartbreaking story…I’m glad you have decided to feel all of your feelings and not act like it doesn’t hurt…As far as your words…

    What’s meant for me will be mine. What’s not shall be removed.

    I believe in that principle, but only if I’m getting directed by God…otherwise, I don’t trust it…

  10. Jecquea Says:

    I can relate to every word she is saying. I’ve been trying desperately to break into entertainment journalism for three years. I’ve had some accomplishments, but nothing on a national level. I was beginning to doubt myself as a writer. Reading her story, especially the line, “What’s meant for me will be mine. What’s not shall be removed,” has given me a new drive and will to keep on trying. Just now I’ve realized that all the other jobs I had applied for obviously weren’t for me, but there’s one around the corner that’s mine. Thank you so much for the letter because it was needed!

  11. mamajanna Says:

    Wow, that’s something. I love that mantra, and I would take if a step further. I let my self feel the hurt or the anger or whatever the emotion (sometimes I even call it to me), and then I use self-hypnosis to remove it from my psyche. It reallyworks! You can actually file things away in your brain and then take it out when you need to to see if the pain is still fresh. If it is, you just file it back. There comes a time when you can take it out, examine it and discover it no longer owns you. Sometimes, they just dissolve and you can no longer pull them out intact. That’s the best!

  12. BerryBerry Says:

    In one way or the other I agree with all the comments above. I love mantras and quotes. I use mantras often and that is a great mantra you mentioned and can apply to everything in life.

    Write it out girl… healing is a process and we all go through that process in our own time and of our own accord.

    You are fabulous!

  13. Jamie Fleming Says:

    I know I’m all late, but I had to reply when I saw those lines because it definitely has applied to my life for the past year- since I graduated from college.

    I had an…interesting internship to say the least. I was led to believe it would turn into a job, but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, I applied for several jobs in print and online media and could find nothing. I don’t know what the issue was, but I decided to try freelancing along with my part-time job in an unrelated field. And even though my career is not exactly where I want it to be, I feel like this is for me.

    Anyway, Tanisha, I wish you the best in everything, chica!

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