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So starts one of the songs closest to my heart. On “Ex Factor,” Lauyrn spelled out in stunning honesty what every woman, man and not quite there yet tween could understand. And I like a fool with hairbrush in hand sang along with every line.

Now that I have gained more understanding on the matter, I see that “Ex-Factor” spelled out much of what 20 something relationships are. I also see that romantic ones weren’t the boundary for what they should be applied to. In fact, lately romantic relationships have been eerily calm. It’s the other relationships that are challenging me the most.

The beauty of Lauryn’s ode to strung out relationships was that love that strong could make you question leaving every time your heart told you to leave. But what about when romantic love isn’t what is holding you from going, what about when it’s safety of a thankless job, the comfort of a toxic friendship, the normalcy of a life you’ve outgrown? What then?

We don’t often say it but truth is, sometimes walking away form complacency is harder than walking away from a big love. And as we would with the latter situation instead of making it simple, we’d rather make it hard. There’s no sane explanation why. We love the ups and try like hell to forget the downs.

Probably more so than love, complacency is a luring thing. Love asks us to give leaps and bounds, it needs us to grow and adapt and change. Complacency asks for nothing in return- just sit there and say nothing that’s on your mind. Just stand there and don’t contribute. Just keep quiet and things will be fine. But there hardly ever are. In fact, for all the moments of safety complacency provides, there are risks we forget to consider. Not “am I going to lose out”- that is the easiest risk to consider. But the ones we don’t like “what could I be gaining” are far more important because in them lies the impetus for us to let go and move on to the next stage.

Sometimes I think that for all our scoffing on head over heels blind lovers, we don’t have the right to be so smug. After all, we can be just as tied but less passionate because of the same fear of being without the net we’ve come acquainted to falling back to. It takes a lot of strength to leave behind a place we’ve come to know, but there is so much more in store for us when we set out towards where we’re destined to be.

Today, choose the simpler path your heart knows it should choose. Leave behind a life of complacency for a lifetime of better loves.

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  • Jess

    Thanks so much for this post! It came at the right time for me. Yesterday I was listening to a song about a lost and lonely woman involved in an empty relationship, that I have identified with for years. Then I realized that the song came out in 2004, but like an idiot I stayed in my lost, empty marriage for 5 more years!! Too afraid to start over, make changes. Changes that needed to happen for my happiness and well being. Five years of my life wasted, waiting for someone to be something he was not—could not be, waiting for something to change. Complacency. I so love my life now, even through the hard times, the unknown.

  • Amen.

    This song has always meant a lot to me. You know how it is when you feel like the artist created it JUST for you, smh.

    As old as this song is, unfortunately, for me that is, its still relevant!

    *shrugs shoulders*