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—albeit 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—let 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—none 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—though flawed—love 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—you 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—the 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—flaws 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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I’m a Black Girl and I am not Broken


I am many things.   Among them—I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a poet, a writer, and  a lover of love and admirer of creation. I am a person of deep faith, a survivor, and a brave bird.  But for all the things that I  am—both good and bad—there is one thing I am not:

I am in no way and by no measure broken.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been all up and through some hurt, but I am increasingly more intentional about emerging from those experiences stronger and more definite in my purpose.  I am grateful to the universe for every door that opens for me and even more gratified for the wisdom to know which one to walk through.

I guess this is why I am troubled by a representation I see in the larger culture: Black women as “inherently broken”.  These representations are adopted wholesale and perhaps more damaging internalized, when they should be interrogated, and even outrightly refuted.  Hence, this post emerged after a misguided attempt to garner my affections. The unrelenting pursuant diagnosed my disinterest, as follows:

“I’m saying bay [urban colloquialism for the term of endearment baby] I’m perceptive but even a simpleton could see you’re going though an internal struggle based on previous trauma…..[it continued] Bay don’t be scared to take assistance while moving on…Those chains aren’t  going to protect u nor make u whole…”

Delivery aside, the notion put forth in this ghetto soliloquy shook me to my core.  Nothing about our interactions up and until this point had communicated either directly or indirectly anything about my past or any pain that was a part of it.  I can say this with confidence because our conversations had been limited to text messaging—clearly not a communication medium optimal for real human connections.  I can also tell you as a matter of fact that this person was by no means perceptive or intuitive.  He was not even smart. We had spoken maybe three times in life.  What I see is that he had clearly ingested a narrative of what Black woman are as a collective, and projected this myth on to me—a practical stranger. For this he was unceremoniously dismissed.

Honestly, I did not need to be healed; dinner and a movie would have been enough.

The Broken Black Girl archetype—not unlike the lonely Black girl narrative— is ubiquitous throughout pop-culture.  Our struggle for identity, voice, and healing from the historical remnants of our storied collective experience is one the should emerge from the margins. Yet, I am convinced that the redemptive power of such stories is often lost.  In particular, this plays out in film:   The Color Purple, Waiting To Exhale, Precious, and  For Colored Girls are immediate examples. Each of the creative works tell the story of a Black woman or multiple Black woman in the throes of pain, hurt, anger and general brokenness.  In fact, Tyler Perry has made an empire on capitalizing from the well-worn tales of damaged Black women.  In his work, they are often redeemed by faith, however, the message of redemption is never the dominant narrative in the story arc.  It is the hurt experience of the “damaged” Black woman that is the focus.

It is time we started telling the stories of not only survival, but emergence and optimization.  I want to hear about Black women doing amazing things and living amazing lives on their own terms.  I want to wrap myself in the stories of yes strong black women, another archetype that is getting a bit stale, but more so fully developed women who are vulnerable, talented, smart, funny, and dynamic as the Black women I know.

I’ve lived a lot of life in these near thirty years, but more than bearing the scars of past hurts—I am embodying the power of resilience that manifest  from the downturns in life. I’ve emerged from each hurt experience more wise, and grateful to the universe for trusting me to be a teller of my story and our stories.

I am intentional.  I am courageous.  I am beautiful. I am smart. I am multi-dimensional. I am witty.  I am connected to nature and one with creation.  I am strong and weak.  I am prone to mistakes, but eternally evolving. I am at once grounded, but flying high in the skies.

I am a Black Girl and I am Not Broken.

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