A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Tag Archives: Love

Single Black Female: Is Something Wrong With You? (#31WriteNow)

NOTE: This was a private post written in 2010. Funny…it still applies even though I’m 27. I decided to update it and share it with some of my more current thoughts (in italics).

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I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard that question or how often I’ve heard it hidden within some other backwards compliment, but I hear it often. It’s now to the point where I change subjects rather skillfully (if I’m up to the challenge) or I forget all of my Southern upbringing and charm classes and cuss someone out.

Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m a Black woman. No, there is nothing wrong with me.

I understand why people become so up in arms when I take the opportunity to describe myself. It usually goes something like this:

“Oh, I’m 23 (now 27). I have my BS and MA. I hope to go on for my PhD. I want to work in Education (the policy/administration side…not teaching). I hope to…” and so forth and so on. However, in taking the time to describe myself I face these questions later:

1. Do you have a boyfriend/Are you courting? No./No.

2. Why don’t you have a boyfriend? I don’t leave my house? I don’t know.

3. What are you going to do with all that education? Use it.

4. Don’t you know a woman’s place? Yes. It’s her address right?

(Updated Note: I’m probably single because I have a smart mouth and unintentional snark.)

Wait…whoa…what in the fudge sticks?!?!

You see, when I get around family and this topic is always brought up, I’m left feeling like an outcast. Of most of my cousins from 15-26 that identify as a “woman,” I’m one of TWO that are single/uncoupled (three years later and it still applies). That can be a self-esteem killer, and until recently, it was.

I had an interesting conversation with a Sista of mine. She posed the two questions: “What are 10 ways a man could charm you?” “What are 10 ways a man trying to charm you would annoy you?” I gave her my reasons and quite honestly, it was an eye-opener for me (I’m actually going to answer these questions for myself again). The more that I thought about it, the more I thought about how these things impact my “dating” life. I mean, it’s really hard to walk around as a young, seemingly successful, Black woman who is single AND remain confident in yourself when there are so many things out there telling you why you’re still a failure. There are “experts” who release books on why Black women can’t get, keep, and marry a (Black) man. There are nightly “specials” that devote time to harp on the connections we make with each other, our accolades, and then pose the question (usually by non-Black people) why can’t we find, keep, and marry a (successful Black) man. (Sidenote: HA! I’m watching One-On-One and would you know, this is an episode about how a successful Black woman has managed to step on a Black man’s ego and that’s why she lost him).

I say one thing to these specials and experts:

Spare me the story of the tragic Black woman that happens to be successful and goes to sleep alone at night because she can’t find a successful Black man. And here’s why.

I’m 23 (now 27). I’m (still) being told that I need to start looking for a man. I need to settle down and have some babies (okay…now I want to. Then I wasn’t ready). That’s great. It’d be nice if I weren’t alone (if only it would cut down the chatter at my family reunions) and it’d be nice if I knew of multiple successful Black men aged 22-27 (let’s move this on up to 27-33-ish or something) looking to settle down. The fact is, they aren’t. MEN MY AGE ARE NOT LOOKING TO SETTLE DOWN (hmmm…this isn’t true so much anymore cuz I’m older now). Besides the countless male friends that I have (okay, 6 so as not to sound like a floozy), I also have 5 brothers that were raised by BOTH parents to play the field and put women through the wringer before they put a ring on anything.

So yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m Black. Yes, I’m a woman.

And there is nothing wrong with me….. I still want a boo though. LOL

What If?

Last night, I had the opportunity to hear Sonia Sanchez speak at my university. I would describe the experience as life-altering and most would probably feel as though it were an exaggeration. However, that’s what it was.

I had never gone through some many emotions in one discussion. To hear her poetry, I felt elation. To hear the stories she told of young people (much like myself), I felt extreme sadness. To hear her list the people that she’s acquainted with (either through personal experience or through study), I felt immense pride. To hear her speak of the human experience, I felt connected to every person in that auditorium. She spoke. Her words were living beings. Dancing…singing…painting a picture for all of us to see, feel, love, and experience.

And at one point, I wondered, “What if she lost her words?”

In that moment, I almost cried. I began to think of the people who had come before her. Who dared to speak. What if they had lost their words? I thought of those people who walked and ran to freedom. What if they had lost their will? I thought of the many unnamed faces that marched behind Dr. King. What if they had lost their courage?

What if?

This question is of immense importance. It’s one that must be asked and one that must be remembered. My generation. We don’t remember that those who came before us had to dig within themselves and find some courage to resist (she spoke on this too). They had a right to life, yet they had to resist for it. Resist for the right to vote. Resist for a voice. Resist for the right to be addressed as adults. Resist for the right to equal housing. Resist and make claims for schools that weren’t dilapidated. Resist.

Yet, my generation…we sit back. We don’t use our words except to hurt. We don’t use our limbs except to strike. We don’t use our courage to go against the grain. We don’t use our minds. We don’t use our music to encourage. We don’t depend on one another. We don’t recognize the need for community. We don’t. They did and those that are able continue to do. But. We. Don’t.

You see, I’m not a poet. I’ll probably never travel and paint pictures with my words as Sanchez is able to do. I haven’t been gifted with the ability to compose a melody with my nouns. I probably won’t write a book that many will read and wait for me to sign. But as reminded last night, I have a right to life. We all do. As such, we must all use our gifts. The one I was given allows me to the opportunity to resist and ask, “What if your child had to attend a failing school?”

I’ll take my words. I’ll use them. I’ll craft opportunities for young people. I’ll teach others what I’ve been taught from those who’ve walked before me. I’ll remember and I’ll work to make life better for those around and after me. The most profound (yet simple) thing that she said, “Everyone has a contract to life.” I signed my contract in the field of Educational Policy. I’ll take my contract (since it’s renewed everyday) into my community. I’ll speak words of peace. I’ll live love. I’ll hand out contracts of life to others. I’ll hope they sign. I’ll do this all because I remember those before me and I ask the question, “What if?”

And I hope that you do to.

Dream.Hope.Believe.

10 Things Pocahontas Taught Me That Miley Cyrus Never Could

Now, one thing you should know about me is that I like Disney movies. But not the “new” ones. Those are too flashy for my tastes. The ones from the 90s/early 2000s. I think it stops after Mulan (hmm, I’ll have to look into that). Anyway, this post comes about after I watch Pocahontas for the eleventh-million time. I thought of all the lessons that the movie teaches you (now that I’m 23, it all makes sense). Here I was thinking it’s a love story and it’s much more than that. I hope you enjoy this post!

*Editor’s Note: These are in no particular order. I apologize if you are at all confused.

1. Things Should Never Be Done In Anger

There are quite a few moments in the movie where you just cry out, “No…don’t do it! You’re just mad right now.” Okay. Maybe that was just me. Still though, there are times where see exactly what anger can lead you to do. My good friend Kocoum ultimately meets his demise in the movie because of anger (and/or jealousy, the jury is still out on this one). He witnesses intimate behavior between Pocahontas and John Smith (it was a kiss you all) and proceeds to attack. He’s shot. What sent him there? Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever) is upset that she wants her to keep the secret that she leaves the compound and out of worry (and/or anger) she sends Kocoum after her. See, ladies and gentlemen? It’s all bad! Anger is all bad. What you should do when you’re angry is think about the situation. Breathe in through your nose and out through mouth. Then proceed. Things often said and done in anger are remembered most and can lead to awful endings.

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2. True Acceptance of Others Comes from Understanding and Appreciating the Differences and Gifts

This relates to the Savages vs Civilized Folk issue. John Smith mistakenly calls Pocahontas and her people savages. This word, filthy and despicable, hurts Pocahontas deeply. It then leads her to sing the most beautiful song in the movie, “Colors of the Wind” (check it out if you haven’t heard it). It talks about judgement and acceptance of others. The lesson: You can do no such thing until you know someone. Until you’ve walked in their moccasins (oh wait…that’s a book I read as a child). BUT YOU ALL GET THE POINT! Don’t judge people. You can’t do that. If you do, you don’t appreciate them and you definitely can’t accept them. And if you can’t accept them, how will you recognize that they are a gift to your life?

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3. Nothing Can Stop True Love…So Don’t You Try To

Seriously! This is pretty straight forward. Person A meets Person B. There’s a spark. Things get pretty intense. Person A or B, for whatever reason, decide to cool it…or fight it…or let other people come between it. But you know who wins in the end? LOVE! So don’t fight.

“And that’s all I have to say about that!” – Forrest Gump

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4. The Earth IS Important. Take Care of It As It Has Taken Care of You

So, here’s the gist of this. John Smith comes to the “New World”. People are already living there. In his mind, they aren’t using the land “to its full potential” because they “don’t know any better.” His buddies (and of course him) want to tear down the trees, build big buildings, roads, and stuff because that’s what the “civilized” do. However, Pocahontas teaches him a lesson (through song…amazing! I want to say it’s Colors of the Wind) about loving the earth and taking ONLY what’s necessary. Everything else…leave it there. Because it’s good and that is the CIVIL thing to do. We can take a lesson from this. As the weather continues to lose its mind, we should use that as the reminder for finding sustainable and alternative energy options. We are killing Mother Earth and she’s not happy (then again, when have you known anything that’s dying unwillingly to be happy?). We need to remember that this world isn’t for us. It’s for our Children’s Children’s Children — three generations out folks. Give it to them in the best condition possible.

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5. Best Friends Do Things Because They Love Us, It Doesn’t Always Make Sense

Sometimes people do things that we don’t understand. Sometimes we do things that people don’t understand. It makes it even harder to understand when the person is close to you. But you should never doubt for one second that the person loves you (unless of course, their behavior says, “I don’t love you!”). In a very telling scene, the very one that makes me dislike Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever, in case you forgot), I also see why I love her more. She worried about her. That’s what you do when you love someone. Now, I wasn’t down with the whole “Tell the serious suitor who wants to marry your best friend that’s she traipsing in the woods” deal, but I understood it. I got why she did. It’s because she loved her and she meant it. She showed it through her actions and did what she thought was best for her. That’s all that best friends (and family) do. But sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And that’s fine too.

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6. Hindsight Will ALWAYS Be 20/20

Boy oh boy! This snippet says it all. We go through life. We stumble. We make mistakes. We wonder what if? We get things WRONG! After it’s over, we say, “If I just would have done this differently…” Well, you didn’t! So suck it up! Stop looking back! Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. It’s perfect because it’s the past. But we can’t let that stop us. We can learn and use it as a reference (like we use our encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and other reference books…because I know we use them). And that’s the great thing about life…we’ll keep going.

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7. Follow Your Heart, Stay True to Your Path

There’s a huge theme that comes up in the movie, very early on. Pocahontas tells her father that she “feels” something happening and then inquire as to what it is. Many of us do this. We feel something. It moves us. It pushes us into a certain direction. And like Pocahontas, we often look to others to ask what it is. The key difference between her Father and Grandmother Willow was that Pocahontas was told to listen to her heart. We should all do this. We’re only given one life to live, one path to take. No one else can do this for us. Suggestions are good…but they are NOT our roadmaps. So close your eyes, breathe in, listen to your heart, and take off down your path!

After you open your eyes of course.

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8. Listen to Those Who Have Come Before You (People and Spirits Alike)

In this movie, there are key elders for Pocahontas. One being her Father and the other being Grandmother Willow. I think it’s great that Disney gives her two figures to look to advice to. We’re all experienced at something, so find the elders that are willing to teach you, even if for a moment. Listen to them! They’ve lived life. I know, this can be a hard thing to do, especially if your experience is greatly different from theirs (in my own experience, I’ve gone further in my education than either my parents, aunts, uncles, and godparents, but I still go to them for help and advice). However, there’s one thing that they’ll always have on you that hopefully comes with wisdom and that’s AGE. So listen. Take the encouragement, bottle it up, and put it in your pocket. Take the tongue-lashings, bottle it up, and put it on the shelf (as a reminder sometimes, don’t carry that with you though…just the encouragement). They’ve LIVED! So listen.

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9. There Is A Leader In Every One Of Us

At the end of the movie, or very close to the end, we see that Young Thomas (why doesn’t he have a last name) becomes the one that the older men look to for answers. Why? It’s simple. He’s pure of heart and showed leadership potential. Every one of us has something that just moves our spirit to the point that we HAVE to do something. So go do it! Be that leader. If you’re afraid, just dig deep. You may see that someone is cheering you on and is very willing to follow! GO LEAD!

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10. Crooked Politicians Should Never Be Trusted

The Governor was downright despicable. Not my kind of guy AT ALL. He manipulated men who had dreams to further his own agenda. Even after he realized his agenda was false, he continued on his path of destruction. Don’t be like him. You never want to be like him. But he WAS the Governor. How many politicians do we see like this? Doesn’t it hurt to know the people you’ve placed your trust in by casting a vote only wants to further their own agenda and not the interests of the people? It hurts me whenever I think about it. So what can we do? Simple! Stay involved. Stay on their heads. Put their numbers next to the ones that you call the most. Write a letter every now and then to say, “I really hope you’re doing what I voted you to do. If not, I need to get on the CORRECT agenda. Thanks.” They are there to work for us…not the other way around.

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So, while I enjoy Miley and Partying cuz I’m in the U.S.A., Pocahontas was a necessary movie for me while growing up. These are the things that it taught/reinforced (I believe I was 5 when it was released…or 6) for me. These are things that have since become important tenets in how I lead my life today. I just hope that young girls are finding lessons in the things that Miley and Hannah are showing them.

Dream.Hope.Believe.

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© This post was written on February 12, 2010 after watching the fantastic Disney movie, Pocahontas™. All thoughts in this post are that of the author except where credit is given.