Dear Editor: Copy, Cut, Paste, Delete….Writing my Own Story


Funny thing about¬†introspection: it’s just so damn personal! ¬†You see, I had a post all ready written about the perils, trials, and tribulations of dating for highly educated Black women in the DMV. ¬† It was witty, charming, and beautifully constructed. ¬†Trust me. ¬† However, my inner voice suggested that the content was not entirely accurate or perhaps it was simply to simplistic. ¬†I was regurgitating a narrative that I have heard from women like me who are looking for love in seemingly all the wrong places. It was a story of rejection, heartbreak, loneliness, and even shame‚ÄĒalbeit¬†not without its light moments. ¬†Yet, it was a story framed from the point of view of a victim. ¬†I am not a victim, though it occurs to me I have operated as one for way too long.

In thinking of matters of love and life, I am resigned to be the editor of my life.  In this role, I have the power to decide who stays and who shall go.   I can write a better story, by way of smart choices based  first and foremost around loving myself and consequently not based on the fleeting opinion of others.  Within this paradigm, I determine my self worth from a higher truth: I am a person in progress, but I am worthy of  pure and genuine love.  As editor, I can redefine the storyline as I go along, being confident not to settle and faithful enough to take a risk in pursuit of my dreams.  However, this is much easier said than done.

I am the kind of girl that thrives on male attention. There I’ve said it. ¬†For as long as I can remember, it was very important to me that boys and men found me attractive and worthy of love. ¬†I ¬†had a boyfriend pretty consistently since the second grade and let me tell you the melodrama of that puppy love affair could rival that of any daytime soap opera. ¬†I kept boyfriends through middle and high school, and married in my early twenties to ¬†further solidify a pattern of serial monogamy sprinkled in with a few regrets. ¬† Divorced by twenty-eight, I was devastated, angry, bitter, and sad. ¬†The man who was supposed to support me, love me unconditionally, and protect me‚ÄĒlet me down. ¬†Yet in retrospect, I had let myself down. I am my own editor.

A little armchair psychology will easily connect my “boy issues”, as ¬†I call them to my relationship with my father who loved and spoiled me incessantly, but was limited in his ability to provide the real guidance, nurturing, time, and wisdom I craved. ¬†You see my parents were divorced when I was still a little baby and my father¬†remarried raising a family outside the one he created with my mom. ¬†I do not begrudge him any happiness his choices may have brought to his life; I am just realistic about how they colored my experiences in love and relationships.

I also watched my mom move through a series of boyfriends‚ÄĒnone of which¬†ever really¬†deserved her. I know she did this in a failed effort to bring a father figure into my life ¬†as well as to provide the love and security she wanted and deserved. ¬† Yet, as I see this pattern repeating in my life: ¬†toxic relationships, broken homes, anxiety, and depression; I am making an active choice to stop it right here. ¬†The call on my life is too big not to; ¬†I am my own editor.

God is my north star and I always felt very¬†attuned¬†to the universe and what it wanted for me. ¬†I know that I was given a voice, talent, and a passion for living that is worthy of the kind of love that will last a lifetime. ¬†Accordingly, it is not worth it for me to waste the energy and time investing into thin relationships based on my own insecurities, fears, or simply a desire to get the love that has alluded me, thus far. ¬†Yet to say that it alluded me would be somewhat of a misstatement. ¬†I have had great guys‚ÄĒthough flawed‚ÄĒlove me in healthy and nourishing ways. ¬†However, I am learning that I need to come into a place mentally, physically,¬†spiritually, and emotionally where I am able to first recognize and then form healthy romantic relationships.

Ladies: ¬†I ardently¬†urge you to do a mirror check. ¬†For all the complaining we do about the foibles, fumbles, and general fuck ups the men in our life enact upon us, it is important that we don’t lose sight of how we are contributing to our own destiny. Of course this not to say that the guys out there don’t require¬†their fair share of¬†introspection, healing, and calls for accountability. They surely do. ¬†The relationships between Black women and Black men are ¬†plagued by historical consequences and cultural baggage. ¬†Accordingly, it is that much more important that we become more¬†intentional about recognizing and valuing the love within ourselves and others.

I say all this to say, I am taking a break to be with myself. ¬† That is right folks‚ÄĒyou heard it here first. I am pulling myself out of the game. ¬†I am sure that with this bold proclamation that every guy I ever wanted will come knocking down my door‚ÄĒthe universe is not without a sense of humor. ¬†However, my dating¬†sabbatical¬†isn’t about self-denial, but more about self-actualization. ¬†I am taking sometime to embrace the skin I’m in and to learn to love myself fully‚ÄĒflaws and all. ¬†I am taking some time to know the God within me, to tap into my full¬†potential, heal a few wounds, jump over a few hurdles, knock down some road blocks, and most importantly write my own happy ending. I am the editor of my life. ¬†More to come…stay tuned.

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The Happily Ever After Myth ‚Äď Comparative Analysis of the Speidi and Gore Marital Separations


Last week, the nation was collectively stunned when news broke that the Al and Tipper Gore were separating after 40 years of marriage.¬† Media commentary and the response on the blogosphere largely focused on the changing nature of marriage in society, and especially within the baby boomer set.¬† Apparently, till death do us part takes on a whole different connotation when Americans are living longer more complex lives.¬† Accordingly, pundits are interrogating the institution of marriage with renewed vigor.¬† When the culture is dominated by messages of personal fulfillment and happiness as an end game, can traditional conventions of marriage still work and what does “work” really mean?

While¬†news of the Gore’s break-up dominated headlines, they were not the only famous couple announcing a marital separation last week.¬†¬†Perhaps more infamous than famous, Heidi Montag¬†and Spencer Pratt collectively and nauseatingly known as Speidi announced their separation, after only one year of marriage.¬† Unlike the news of the Gore break-up, the imminent¬†demise of the reality couple was first¬†met with delight and then immediate¬†skepticism.¬† With the¬†fame hungry couples’ reality show‚ÄĒThe¬†Hills‚ÄĒ slated¬†to end, ¬†much of the entertainment¬†media is reporting the separation¬†as a hoax.¬† While it may very well be a publicity stunt for Montag’s¬†upcoming ¬†reality show, the Gore and the Speidi¬†separations represent why this is a unique cultural moment for the institution of marriage.

The Gores¬†lived as man and wife¬†for forty years.¬†¬†While the public face suggested they were the quintessential happy couple, there is no way for us to know the extent of the joys and pains,¬†¬†dreams¬†fulfilled and promises broken that this couple would have¬†no doubt experienced.¬† Unlike Speidi, the Gores ¬†private lives were not being documented for a reality TV show.¬† Accordingly, we can only conjecture¬†that after raising children and pursing individual ambitions,¬†they simply grew apart.¬†¬† I believe that there is authenticity and dignity in the way they handled this very ¬†private matter and¬†I’m sure they are shocked that their personal choice has resulted in a public outcry on the state of baby boomer marriage.

In contrast, Heidi and Spencer, who bear¬†a striking resemblance to¬†The¬†Flowers in the Attic, have after one year¬† separated in a calculated move to remain¬†relevant¬†in this cultural moment.¬† Blogs are calling the split as fake as Heidi’s surgically enhanced mammaries.¬† Yet, I would argue the couple is doing “marriage as spectacle”.¬† It is a uniquely American proposition that marriage and love go hand and hand.¬†¬† Marriage is an economic contract, as much as it is a partnership based on myths of often fleeting emotions.¬† Therefore, what Heidi and Spencer are doing, as they play with the conception of marriage, may be more representative of marriage throughout most of history: an economic partnership about survival, more than any kind of romantic notion.¬† As they seek to enrich themselves by being obnoxious, blithely stupid, and most importantly ubiquitously present, their marriage simply becomes another means of production.¬† We can only¬†hope these two don’t decide to procreate, in an effort to¬†commodify¬†parenthood ala the Octomom¬†and the Gosselins.

I was only married for a little less than five years, before I cried uncle‚ÄĒbut I can tell you unequivocally¬†that it is probably the most challenging and selfless endeavors one can make next to parenthood and¬†say monasticism.¬† And despite the brevity of my first¬†marriage, I still believe in the convention and I consider my¬†“failed”¬†marriage successful because it taught me the beauty of¬†resilience.

Marriage is a religious, civil, and yes economic arrangement between a couple that will become characteristics of which will evolve¬† in our increasingly¬†complex world.¬† How we “do marriage” is representative of our time in history and the larger culture?¬†So what represents a successful marriage to you? Is longevity the only metric?¬† It is a civil or¬†religious arrangement, or could it be both?

Discuss.

I’m A Highly Educated Single Black Woman and No I’m Not Lonely


I should be depressed.¬†¬†¬†Why? I’m newly single and everywhere I turn I keep reading, hearing, and seeing so-called consensus couched as definitive evidence that¬†as a¬†highly educated black woman,¬†I may be that way from here until eternity.¬†¬† The lonely black girl narrative is being embraced with very little interrogation in this cultural moment and I for one am ready to put the Kabosh on it.¬† So, here it goes:

I AM YOUNG, BLACK, HIGHLY EDUCATED and NOT THE LEAST BIT LONELY.  I’M SINGLE AND HAPPY!

I mean sure, I would like to go to Applebees and have some nice conversation with a gentleman suitor, as much as the next girl; but I am not the least bit desperate or disillusioned at the prospect of not marrying again.  I’m leaving that  aspect of my life up to God’s providence, which means not settling, accommodating, rationalizing, or rearranging to fit into someone else’s context.  No sir. Imma be me.

Any questions? 

However, I digress.¬† I can certainly acknowledge that the startling statistics on the state of the Black marriages and the overall decline of the Black family are culturally and economically significant, if not a sign of the Black apocalypse. ¬†¬†Hence, why I found a recent article sent to me by a sistah friend worth sharing. Found in April‚Äôs Economist Magazine‚ÄĒthe latest mainstream media outlet to foray into the now well tread ground of the lonely black girl narrative‚ÄĒthe article entitled How the Mass Incarceration of Black Men Hurts Black Women takes a look at how the mass numbers of homies on lock down results in declining marriages in our community.

I encourage¬†you to check out the article in detail.¬† It has all the oft quoted statistics on single motherhood, black male incarnation, disproportionate educational levels etc. etc.¬†¬† We know this story.¬† We live it every day.¬† We live it when our dentist girlfriend gives the blue collar¬†brother a chance, even though they have next to nothing in common, aside from melanin; or when our aunt, the professor, settles for being the other woman, ‚Äújust to have somebody‚ÄĚ.¬† Accordingly, the part of the article that stood out to me is captured below:

‚ÄúI thought I was a catch,‚ÄĚ sighs an attractive black female doctor at a hospital in Washington, DC.¬† Black men with good jobs know they are ‚Äúa hot commodity‚ÄĚ, she observes. When there are six women chasing one man, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like, what are you going to do extra, to get his attention?‚ÄĚ

Bing. Bam. Boom and preach. As a native Washingtonian and current DMV resident, I can testify that this woman is speaking nothing but the God’s honest truth.  I haven’t dated in the last really ten years and I can tell you that it is viscous out there.   There are many successful, Ivy-educated, community service doing, church-going, peach cobbler baking, supermodel good looking women in this area and accordingly  it’s a man’s paradise.

Therefore, while being single does not sadden me, seeing my sistahs compromise in the name of love does.  The competition is so fierce that you have Rhodes Scholars dressing like cocktail waitresses to get attention. I’ve found black women are losing the unique expressions of our beauty, becoming carbon copies of this video model aesthetic with mythic long weaves, skin-tight ultra-short spandex dresses, and stripper platform heels.

I do recognize that men are visual and you have to show a little skin to bring the boys to the yard, but as of recent the hemlines and push-bras are getting out of control, not to mention the butt pads and felatio classes.

I for one refuse to play.  I’m almost thirty.  I don’t have the energy or desire to compete for a man who probably won’t even take the time to call me anyway.  I’ve learned they only text now. I’ve been out of the game a while.

Perhaps I’m content in my singleness because I’ve been there and done that with the whole marriage thing and realize that once the gardenias are wilted, the marital union is probably the most challenging endeavor one will take next to raising and child and battling a terminal illness.  It is more important in this life who you are becoming not who you have.  I believe when you tap into that; the right person will be revealed, regardless of race.

I am not a marriage hater; I‚Äôm just a singledum embracer.¬† The guys get it.¬† The 25 ‚Äď 35 years old men I know do not seem to be¬†rushing to jump the broom.¬† Most are keenly focused on reaching their professional goals and dreams, chillin with the boys, traveling, partying, and when and if they have time, they may get up with you. Maybe.

So where does that leave us ladies?  Do we keep playing the game?  Sacrificing, compromising, and exploiting ourselves in the pursuit of love?  Or since most of these dudes out here think they are living some real life version of For the Love of Ray-J, do we change the game up?  I’m advocating saying goodbye to the getting caught in the thick of thin relationships and focusing on the real purposes of our lives.  I’m saying don’t settle for crazy. You are worth more.  The good news is the right one will come along.  Providence will step in, when you are fully loving you, growing your character, and embracing each tomorrow with joy and exuberance, whether single or not.

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