Destiny’s Child’s second album, The Writing’s On The Wall, meant the same to me as a 12-year-old with preconceived notions about relationships and as it does to my adulthood.
This is the seminal album that represented my pre-teen boy-related angst. Like, it set me up to have that love/hate relationship with boys that I couldn’t crack until my 30s. “Bills, Bills, Bills” had absolutely no way of speaking to 11-year-old me but dammit, I felt it. FELT it. I just knew that I wasn’t going to let Andre use my allowance money to buy anything. He can’t con me out of my hard-earned cash, no way. He’d better “Say My Name” around that basic-ass Keshia from 3rd period Chemistry too, best believe it.
As I listen to it as a 30-year-old womanchild, I find that I relate to it more than ever. I had been in pretty much every scenario harmonized by Beyonce and company that it makes me cringe. I know “If You Leave”, a tale about conspired cheating, way better than I should. “Say My Name” became a tale of dealing with men with commitment issues. Commitment issues that you thought your presence would solve. “Bug A Boo” is about thirst and I know thirst. Thirst that I confused with love but was really based on lust.
When you come from a time laced with a soundtrack that set you up to believe that nothing good was to come from a man; into a time when your self-worth was measured by whether or not a boy even liked you, you can’t help to be confused. And left wondering what was, or even still is, wrong with you.
But when you start to relate to that no-nothing-less after going through relationships and situations with men who you probably regret sharing oxygen with, doesn’t that mean that the cycle is complete? The mission accomplished. You told yourself that you weren’t going to be that stupid but yet that inevitable stupidity made you the wisest you could ever be when it came to men. Wasn’t it all worth it? Was the destruction of your self-esteem all you needed to see the light at the end of the man tunnel? Maybe.
And at 12, I knew all of this was coming. What a clairvoyant.