I feel inspired down to my red toenails right now, ya’ll. Celeb gossip isn’t exactly my wheelhouse, but I poke my head into other people’s business every once in a while. I am not above the petty. So color me amused at the attention La La Anthony has recently after the news of her separation from her husband, Carmelo Anthony. First off, let me get one thing straight: I root for Black couples’ success, without necessarily stanning or turning them to #RelationshipGoals. Marriage is hard AF. So I don’t get any joy out of watching someone’s marriage crumble.
So what tickled and inspired me about La La Anthony in the wake of her breakup? Her marriage may be ending, but her life is not. Dying relationships often have mourning periods. Even if you’re glad to leave the sorry SOB, maybe you’re grieving the high hopes you had at the beginning. Maybe she’s taking your favorite sweatshirt in the split and you’re going to miss it. I think that’s why people have focused so much on what La La is wearing these days. We expect people to walk around veiled in the grief they feel.
La La apparently didn’t get that memo.
She rolled up at the Met Gala in a sheer, all-black costume gown looking like she’s anything but in mourning. Alani Nicole Anthony did not come to PLAY. And of course, because she just separated from Melo, people are drawing conclusions that her glow is to spite him. Singer Mary J. Blige also came dressed to kill post-Kendu in the black bra all see-through. Auntie Mary showed some daring leg and torso and basically looked like she not gon’ cry, either. I wanted to stand up and applaud for both of them.
But at the same time, I remember: it’s easy to look like you aren’t falling apart when you have a team paid to put you together.
I don’t fool myself into believing La La’s flawless makeup and well-dressed curves reveal anything as to her true mental state. Her appearance at the Met Gala is a stunt in many senses. She’s stunting because she’s not holed away licking her wounds. She’s living her life. Even so, her camera-ready appearance at a fashionable event is a media stunt like many others. Perception isn’t always reality.
But let’s assume for a moment she’s as collected as her snatched waist underneath that Thai Nguyen Atelier gown. HO-NEY. This is how you sashay off into the sunset amid rumors your soon-to-be ex knocked up a stripper.
Step 1: Remind everybody (especially yourself) just who TF you are.
Now I am loathe, LOATHE, I TELL YOU, to assume that a woman looking snazzy after a breakup is solely to make her ex jealous. I’ve never been a fan of going out just to “make him miss you, girl!” during a split. It’s a waste of my energy. He don’t want me? I stop wanting him to want me. I know other folks feel differently; we all deal with heartbreak in our own way.
I always roll my eyes when a famous man cheats on his beautiful, famous-in-her-own-right wife and people say, “How could Melo cheat on La La? Does Jay-Z fricking see how gorgeous Bey is?” Beauty ain’t never prevented a woman from being cheated on. So I have a hard time thinking that exact same taken-for-granted beauty could spur regret in the unfaithful partner.
But sometimes you really do need to remind yourself–and others–exactly who you are. Dressing up isn’t the only way you do this, although we often focus on outward appearance. On her Instagram photo of her in That Dress, La La captioned just one word, “Unbreakable.” Her stunning attire, combined with that one-word message, leave little doubt as to her meaning. Her affirmation of her own strength still doesn’t even have to be about making her ex regret what he’s losing. I wonder if La La felt a surge of, “I still got it” as she slipped on that gown to go out without her husband. I wonder if his rumored infidelity made her question her attractiveness (as if!), her inherent worthiness as a woman. It could be that she dolled herself up to remember she is a prize with or without Melo.A woman's beauty has never spared her from being cheated on. Click To Tweet
Step 2: …but remember you have the right to rebuild how you see fit.
Another photo of La La circulated Twitter about a week or two ago. She wore a striped, ho-hum bodycon dress, with her hair in a messy topknot. No makeup. She’s always beautiful, but a preoccupied look rested on her face. People tweeted what she should’ve worn instead in this first candid public photo since the announcement.
My opinion: You don’t have to fake it til you make it. I don’t think every person needs to throw on shiny clothes and rock a red carpet to show they’re over an ex. I’m downright uncomfortable with that idea. We can’t demand people demonstrate they’re “fine” and over a newly broken relationship just for our personal satisfaction. It’s okay to feel pain. In fact, I don’t believe La La needs to be “over” Melo at all right now. They haven’t even divorced (yet); they still have an entire life to dismantle. Sometimes I think we rush to triumph before we can heal properly.
Movies often show the “Haagen Daaz and hurt” montage of women burying their heartbreak in a pint of ice cream. The guys go out and get drunk with their buddies. One of my favorite episode arcs of The Gilmore Girls shows Rory stubbornly busying herself to get over breaking up with her boyfriend. Her mother doesn’t trust her process and watches her work herself into a frenzy. Until, one night, Lorelai hands Rory a spoon and a pint of ice cream, and lets Rory cry into it.
I hate stereotypes but the idea has validity: we need time to heal in healthy ways. Ice cream might not be your poison. A good friend of mine once offered me a bottle of wine, her shoulder, and her couch for the long night after a breakup. Therapy post-relationship isn’t a bad idea.
Step 3: Get rid of the weight on your fourth finger, left hand.
Beyoncé said, “Always stay gracious; best revenge is your paper.” That doesn’t have to be true for everyone. Your best revenge might be traveling solo after you leave someone who grounded you because they were afraid to fly. Sometimes it’s getting in the best shape (physical or mental) of your life. Maybe the joy is just in finding new love, in building a life with someone worthy of you. And other times, solitude is the sweetest gift.
But if quietly petty is your best revenge, La La went to the Met Gala wearing a ring on every finger…except one. I. CACKLED. Message received!
If it seems like first the two steps contradict, they might. More than one path lies ahead when we heal from a broken heart. But any time a woman looks like a million bucks after leaving the man who treated her like she was worthless?
That’s worth a standing ovation.
Photo Credits: La La via Instagram; Mary J. Blige via Instagram