SongVersations: “Do What I Gotta Do” By Ralph Tresvant

Do you remember this timeless classic ballad,”Do What I Gotta Do” sung by the iconic and legendary lead singer of New Edition. Mr. Ralph Tresvant.

Breakups, they can get messy. How do you tell someone who you love and care for, that you want to be alone?

It’s not easy letting someone go, no matter how much you love them. It’s something you debate over and over in your mind. Should I? Shouldn’t I?

But deep down inside, you know you gotta do what you gotta do. What’s the best way to let someone down gently. Truth is there is no way to let them down gently. Either way it’s going to hurt you or the other person and no one likes to break someone else’s heart especially when they  still care.

When this song first came out, I remember the first time I heard it. It was May 11th 1991. I looked at the clock and it turned 5:16. My mom was in the kitchen cooking. She had the radio on 98.7. I heard this beautiful harmony coming from the radio and I just stood there…wondering who was that?

I turned the volume up and got lost in the music. I said is that Ralph Tresvant but wasn’t sure, until it went off and they announced his name. I had to have that album right then and there. Which my mom got for me. I thought it was a beautiful sad love song.

I knew it was a song about heart-break and understood the lyrics, I just thought it was beautifully put into song. I immediately got a visual and wanted to see the video. I didn’t really know the significance of the song until I was in my teens and into my adulthood. Thats when the lyrics really resonated.

In “Do What I Gotta Do” Ralph is in turmoil over ending his relationship with his lover. He doesn’t want to break her heart, but his heart and soul is breaking because, he needs to figure some things out and he needs to be alone. Sometimes the person you are in a relationship with doesn’t understand that. When he sings this note. “I’ve been feeling lately like being single or just alone, to get into myself.”

He feels like his woman, is playing games and he has to change the rules and look out for himself. When You are creative person, you need space to create. Unfortunately, the one you’re with can feel neglected, even though that’s not your intention.

img_1453Some of us are there right now. Feeling stuck. We need help letting go. We need to figure out who am I? Rediscover our passions. Figure out what do I want and need out of life. Instead of this whole ‘We or Us thing’.

We’re with someone and we don’t feel the same anymore. The chemistry is gone, we fell out of love or we’ve outgrown the relationship and we are in a war between our heart and our mind. We know deep down in our soul, that we gotta do what we gotta do. You try to find the right words because although it’s hard, you don’t want to continue living a lie.

It kills you deep inside that it has to come this. Because although you love the person you’ve known. You know the best thing is for you two to be apart. Breakups are not easy this is why some people ghost. They don’t have the courage to tell you it’s over in your face or give you closure. What I love about this song is that towards the end.

Ralph is letting her know that even though he loves her, that the best things is for them to be apart and continue to be friends. Why continue to be in a relationship you’re not happy in. Which will lead to nothing but a spiritual death and regret. He still wants to be her friend and be there for her.

He just can’t continue breaking his own heart and being unhappy anymore for the sake of someone else. No matter how much he loves her. I know to many people who stay in relationships way past their expiration date. Knowing they should have left a long time ago.. we’ve all been there.

Trying to work things out because of the time we put in and because we truly care. But it gets to a point that if you don’t end things you are going to go mad. In my last relationship, one day my ex came home. As soon as he walked through the door. I got up went to the bathroom and closed the door. I had this song playing in my ear. I just sat on the bathroom floor and wept.

I was so unhappy. He knew I was unhappy but didn’t care as long as he had a roof over his head and what he wanted. My bed was cold. There was no love or affection. Just him needing me all the time. I fell out of love and I just wanted to be alone. I never wanted to live with him. It was hard telling him to move out of my place. But I had to or else it would have continued and it would have been my fault.

He would have continued living off of me. We have to take responsibility for what we allow to continue in a relationship. Set limits because takers don’t. When I cried, I was mourning the lost of myself. My dreams and my passions. I needed him to be there for me, the same way I was there for him. He wanted me to put my life on hold to support his dreams, which he said in so many way without saying it. That was not happening.

I never had his support and I got tired of the games or feeling like there was a love triangle going on. I realized he never really knew me. My needing to grow and wanting space was a threat to him. Space and discovering myself meant, I wanted better or that I would find someone else who could love me better, which was not my focus and the last thing on my mind.

I wanted a relationship with myself again. I wanted to love myself again. So I prayed and ended it. He didn’t want to be the man I needed. He didn’t want to add to my life just take from it. He only wanted the lifestyle I provided and my money. It wasn’t all bad… the relationship in the beginning, but I was TIRED. I wasn’t the same. My needs and wants since I was approaching my 30s were different from my 20s.

He never expected me to grow and change. He thought I would always be around and took my love, the things I did and how I held him down for granted. I wasn’t being supported in any way. Me wanting help with basic simple things was meant with resistance and arguing. There was no peace in my home. I tried to remember the friendship we shared, that’s the only reason why I let him stay, so he could get himself together.

But he didn’t want to get himself together. I found out his scheme to live with me and have me take care of him was planned. When I ended it, I felt revived. I felt like I found myself again. I was born again. I started smiling, laughing, being happy again. Listening to music, especially love songs again with out anyone turning it off., music was one thing we should have not been arguing about.

I started dancing and writing again. I dropped weight both mentally and physically. I started doing things I used to do before we met and before my mom passed. For so long it was about other people from when I was 14. In a relationship its hard to hear your own voice. It’s even harder to hear Gods voice too. With constant noise and be ‘ON’ all the time, with the wants and needs of another.

Sometimes you can’t be there for everybody. You can’t save everyone. You can’t make everyone happy at your own expense. Being single can be a great thing. It strengthens you. Relationships can be great when there is genuine love and a common ground and two people are supporting each other. It shouldn’t feel like a job you hate because eventually you’ll quit.

It can’t be one-sided and its unfortunate that that’s what some people want. They want to use you for the own selfish gain. I know there were lessons I needed to learn and I learned them. I know that I will never go through that again. Every time I feel like a man is trying to trap me, on purpose or move to quick. I just do what I gotta do and let them go, because life is meant to be lived and I will not exist in someones shadow.