Most of us know the song, or at least remember the clever video of Beyonce and her uncanny resemblance of then boyfriend, now husband Jay Z dancing, singing, and sashaying to the catchy beat of the 2006 smash hit Upgrade U. The video was cinemagraphically crisp. The horns, the whistles, and the drums of the beat were sick…in the best possible way. But the words were what rang a bell to me. Not to, at all, infringe on any copyright regulations I won’t post the lyrics, no matter how tempting, but will say the gist is that Bey was asking Jay to let her upgrade him. She did that!
A conversation amongst friends on the topic of, guess what, women upgrading men made me reflect on my many trysts with “upgradation”. (Yes, I did just make up a word.) Some who’ve walked this journey called life with me reminded me of the, shall we say, “impact” I’ve had on the lives of the men I’ve come in contact. From introducing a wiser style of menswear to one person in particular who had a love/hate relationship with suits not at all well-suited, to “being patient with” the young love without enough money to buy a $.35 hot pepper at the Gadsden KFC, to introducing others to cultural, family relational and spiritual insights they’d previously not been privy to, I’ve put in work on the “work with you committee” for some years now.
Now, the 20-something or 30-something-year-old me might have been pouting like a child when her last lollipop from the bank fell to the floor at the thought of working to make men better for other women, or other levels in life. And she did. No, ma’am, not this almost 43-year-old though. I know, accept and welcome that that’s what a girl, woman, friend, or wife is supposed to do. (Men carry this charge too, but this particular post right here isn’t directed toward men.) I’ve learned that any investment we make in the lives of others pays off for both parties whether directly or indirectly, and that’s good enough, especially if the Lord says so. This is true whether it be in a relationship, on a job, at a ministry, or with a group. This applies whether things last or not. We should want to always leave it, them, they or that better, and not desiring anything but God’s best for them. This is so regarding marriage. Why? Because the Bible says so. Don’t believe me? Check out Proverbs 18:22. This is especially so if love or loyalty is involved. Why? Because that’s the right thing to do. Why else? Because if we look closely, and really closely if we have to, we should also be able to see how we’ve been made better, whether it worked out the way we thought, hoped, wanted or not. Talk about an upgrade!
So as I shimmy in my seat with that sick Bey beat still in my head, giggling at some of the other comments made about the “upgradation” my friends and I participated in I’m grateful that I can clearly look back, and thanks to social media, not have to look too hard to see that the lives of those who shared some part of the lives with me are indeed better. That makes me want to humbly take a bow and pat myself on the back at the same time. (LOL!) I can then whip my Bobbi Boss blunt, bob tresses around in the mirror (and love who looks back at me) knowing that because of the lives of those who shared some part of their life with me I am better. And that, to me is what matters most. Sure, our outcomes might be different, but an upgrade is an upgrade no matter how you spin it. I have amazing wisdom that money couldn’t afford to buy. I have memories the history books (or comedy stages) would NOT believe. I know new places to dine, travel, and shop that I didn’t have to come up with or pay for. (Thanks, guys). I have SUPER friends that wouldn’t have been had it not been for “what’s his name”. I’ve had a life about as rich as a hearty bowl of New Orleans gumbo sold straight off the street. I have gifts and talents, influence and amazing stories to tell because of spending time with people who were a part of my pit stop (not in a negative way) to the ultimate upgrade. And that, my darlings, deserves a song of its own! #singalongwithme #letmeupgradeyou