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Archive for the ‘Love and Romance’ Category

Distance and Engagement

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Depression and Mental Health, Encouragement, Friendship, Law School Problems, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Uncategorized on April 21, 2014 at 2:42 am

On April 2, 2014, my boyfriend went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes. He and I were by ourselves at this moment, and we went to celebrate by ourselves. In the coming days, we were quiet and savored the newness of the thing largely alone. Despite what movies and novels would have you believe, I didn’t have friends who I immediately called to gush over the news. Many of the women who I might have called for that reason have distanced themselves from me and I from them–perhaps due partially to this man.

But, it’s not a new distance among us. The drift had begun before he and I took real notice of each other and it quickened as soon as two weeks after he and I started dating in the summer of 2011. We met in law school, probably very early during my first fall semester since we both rode MARTA then. We were each involved in our own lives and really didn’t overlap each other. I was certainly swallowed up in the emotional and intellectual tides of first-year law school. At the end of the Spring semester, though, I called him to apologize for not coming to his graduation party. From there, we talked and saw each other regularly.

After about two weeks, we had our first real date and I met two of his friends and he and I went to watch movies at his friends’ home. It was all so deliciously normal that I began to feel guilty…..as if I was dragging this man into all of my friend-losing, engagement-breaking, prozac-taking drama. The criticisms of others had long before become the rain that watered my soul. Also, I have very little sophistication when I comes to relationships. Later that evening when he and I were alone I started to cry and all of THAT came tumbling out in (what I can safely assume was) a rather jumbled tale.

It was a little embarrassing at the time, so I can’t truly say that I remember it clearly as the significance did not dawn on me until later. What I remember most is how gentle and kind his eyes looked once he realized that I was serious and in some distress. There wasn’t really any pity and absolutely no shock in his voice or face. In those moments, he was quiet and listened. He said to me then what he continues to say to me now: that we all have our scars, weaknesses, and troubles. That mine were not worse than those of anyone else.

In the coming days, I watched for a sign that he thought I was different, crazy, soiled. But, that sign never came and it has not come. I did not recognize that I was in love and even if I had, I would have found it hard to explain it to my women friends. What I did know was that I felt comfortable, peaceful, at ease, and unsuspicious with this man–and those were things I experienced rarely then. Even though I communicate(d) in short, pointed, expressive, honest bursts punctuated with silence and he is more comfortable with conversation and words, he made (and makes) me feel an equal. I did not have the words to explain that to them–and did not (for whatever reason) search for the words to explain it.

I was, honestly, a little selfish in absolutely basking and camping in these experiences and not being particularly open with my friends about how I felt. The feeling of acceptance was such a God-send and I had no desire for anyone to remind me of the doubts I was slowly putting to death at the time. Maybe I was wrong to hoard that positivity. But, it was beautiful. And, it was mine. And, I had a chance to forge a healthy relationship with a balanced and open-minded person.

I took that chance, and I have not regretted it.

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Learned of Love

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, Lawyer Problems, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on January 27, 2014 at 5:59 am

I’ve been sick for a few days–a lingering health malaise that still isn’t cleared up. Right in the middle of all the deadlines of a federal case. And, without the placations of the Prozac I’ve recently quit cold turkey.

Today, my law partner boyfriend (LPBF for short….let’s at least pretend at anonymity) brought me the case file for that federal case in which a deadline is currently looming. It didn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It took even less time for me to start taking it out on him in pounding, snipping, cutting words when we had a telephone call about the case. I realized what I was doing and that I was in the wrong. But, somehow, that didn’t stop me. Oh, did I mention that this wasn’t the first time I’ve done that? This wasn’t the first time I’ve done that to LPBF.

After an episode of Downton Abbey tranquilized me (I think it’s their lovely accents), I recognized that I was being an unmitigated douche bag to a man who taking up the slack for me on my case so that I can get healthier. Of all the people who deserve my choice words, he wasn’t one of them. But, he was the easy target. He was the one talking to me at the time.

So, I apologized and asked him why he hadn’t called me out on being so snippy. His response taught me to love him even more:

“Because I love you and now is not the time to argue.”

That response is packed with love and acceptance and patience and focus and passion. Love is a miracle that can happen everyday we wake up and it doesn’t need to come with flowers or chocolate or jewelry or flamboyance–but, somehow, it manages to come in the way you need it. But, it has to be nurtured. I’ll have to get over my unnecessary use of cutting words. That’s not nurturing. It will take love, acceptance, patience, focus, and passion to break that bad habit. I already know someone who can teach me how to use those.

Love is a miracle. I learn something new everyday.

#UMWFG: Friend dumped redux

In and other uncomfortable topics, Friendship, Happiness, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Using my words for good #UMFWG on November 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I’ve written before about being friend dumped, but at the time I was studying for the Georgia bar exam and life was an emotional roller coaster.

I found out that I passed the bar several days ago. So, I decided to revisit those feelings. Not surprisingly, things look different now that I am in an emotionally different place. I still hurt from those losses, but I also see that I have done the same thing to other people for both good and bad reasons (from my point of view). That realization has helped to move to a place of forgiveness toward both myself and others.

In my victim-mindset, I had all questions and no answers as to why anyone would do such a thing. But, now that I am in a more triumphant mindset, I am able to supply some of my own answers–and maybe answers for others, too.

1.  I THOUGHT WE WERE CLOSE.

There are areas and zones of black when it comes to answering any questions about human relationships. But, often times we WERE close. We shared physical and emotional space. Sometimes, however, perhaps *I* thought I was closer to the other person than I actually was. Perhaps *I* wanted to be closer to the other person than I actually could be. Nonetheless, we still shared some degree of connection.

I should NOT allow the disappearance of the friendship/relationship to diminish the closeness and connection that genuinely did exist.

2. WHY DID YOU LEAVE?

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in my best interest. Maybe I felt emotionally dominated or suppressed by the other person. Maybe I felt recurring but unpredictable tides in the relationship that I just couldn’t decipher. Maybe I was trying to make some changes in my life that I didn’t want to force that other person to become a part of. Maybe I was changing and that other person blatantly did not want to be a part of that. Maybe I was just too immature to handle the weight of that relationship.

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in the other person’s best interest. I do freely admit that I did not do altruistic abandonment very often. But, the times that I did, it was because I knew (felt) that other person wanted something from me that I couldn’t give and I knew (felt) that other person would not accept that fact that I couldn’t; that I was emotionally unable to deliver.

Sometimes, life pulls people apart. Maybe I was courageous enough to fight life’s gravity, maybe I decided to just be pulled away. But, I still harbor gratefulness, thankfulness, and fond thoughts for those people that life pulled away.

3. WHY DIDN’T YOU OFFER SOME SORT OF EXPLANATION?

No explanation is good enough, anyway. Truly. Besides, sometimes “explanations” turn into blame games. And, that would just leave everyone feeling terrible. Of course, that’s a cowardly response. There was a way for me to explain what was going on with ME without involving YOU. Also, in situations where I was wrong and continued to be wrong and knew that I would stay wrong for a while: it’s so much easier to just tiptoe out of the backdoor in my socks. HOW could I look another person in the eye and admit: “So, yeah. I had underhanded motives. Still have them. Will continue to have them. Sorry for not being sorry about that.”

4. DO YOU EVEN CARE THAT I AM STILL HURTING?

Maybe. Maybe not. For some people that I friend dumped, I do feel bad that I changed the locks, didn’t let them know, and now refuse to answer the door. I know those people didn’t deserve it, but I’m just too cowardly to reopen the subject. A couple of times, I have reopened the subject (but, years later). I felt awkward at first to bring up something from so long ago; I thought it would seem as if I had been ruminating for all this time (true); I thought maybe that other person would not remember what I was talking about; I thought they would curse me out. It WAS awkward. S/he DID remember. S/he was, surprisingly, mild and mature in response.

But, it doesn’t get easier to reopen to past friend dump.

Sometimes, though: I don’t care. Sometimes (in a most UN-WWJD way), I feel like I screwed him/her because s/he screwed me first.

5. I KNOW YOU ARE VAGUEBOOKING/SUBTWEETING ABOUT ME.

SUCH a 21st century problem. Yeah, guilty as charged. I did. Totally. Sometimes, I vaguebooked/subtweeted from the victim’s mindset. Sometimes, I did so from the dumper’s mindset. But, yeah. I totally did it. Like, totes.

6. COULD WE REBUILD A FRIENDSHIP?

Ummmmm (from both the dumper’s and dumpee’s mindset)…..probably NOT, but maybe. I’ve never really tried it. Is there a way to rebuild a friendship after a such a rift? In my experience, no. By the time both of us are ready to mend the rift, we’ve both grown and changed–perhaps into an appreciably different person.

My inner psycho b#@*!

In Encouragement, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on June 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I love The Good Men Project. If you don’t read it, give it a try. I read a well-written post there by Vironika Tugaleva entitled “Confessions of a Former Psycho Bitch from Hell” that said that women are rarely willing to admit to being a psycho b@!#* from hell. Well, I’ve been one with strong chances of smaller, repeat performances.

“A LOT of people took a fairly decent crack at ruining my life. Let’s not put it all on one person.” And those were the last negative words about the situation and about him. I was responding to a statement from my mother about my ex.

It dawned on me that I could have, and possibly should have, said something like that years earlier and I could have saved myself a world of hurt. For those who know me and know him: this is the post in which I relate my part in the tale. Others played roles that I do not seek to undermine or ignore or excuse. This is just my way of telling my story.

I was too busy being a good girl to be a good woman and good partner. There is a difference. A good girl is too concerned with good grades, good PR, and being proper to consider the gray areas in life in which some things go lacking for the greater good…and that greater good includes the romantic relationship to which she’s committed herself.

I was in college, so I don’t fault myself for looking to grades. But, I know now that I wasn’t mature enough to know and embrace the fact that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Furthermore, I did not yet know that there exists more than one type of anger. One is a response. The other is a controlling force. By no means am I saying that my parents were cruel or abusive. I am saying that I lacked the strength to stand up for the love and the man I was then committed to.

I now recognize that I am a being completely separate and different from my parents, and there is no requirement that they fall in love with the man I fall in love with. I did not know that then. Instead, I needlessly subjected the one I loved to some very trying situations and I expected HIM to make everything better. That’s a lot of weight for a young man to carry.

But, the psycho part is that I would bow to anger habitually and wonder why I wasn’t getting what I needed and wanted in my friendships and relationships. I would fold into deep depressions of silence and numbness. I would cry to my friends that no one understood me. And, that was true. But, it was true because I was hiding myself and asking people to love me on layaway: if you keep loving me, I’ll show you a little bit more of myself at regular intervals. It was hell for me and the people who loved me and cared about me.

Have I learned? A little bit at a time. But, there are times when I can still go to that place of self-doubt and emotional closed-ness. Except now, I know why am I there and I know my way out.

Maybe you need to work on you…

In Encouragement, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on June 1, 2013 at 5:59 am

I HATE that advice.

But, I’ve received it numerous times.

Inevitably, there is a conversation that goes like this: “Are you married?” the person asks. “No, I’m not,” I reply. “Do you have children?” the person asks. “No, I don’t,” I reply. “Well, enjoy this time. Work on you, so you’ll be ready when that man comes along.”

Really? Work on me? I do recognize that this advice is well meant, and it is also often repeated. I’ve seen it in some form or another on Facebook, Twitter, and websites/blogs aimed at women. Work on me. Work on me. Perhaps I’m the only one annoyed by this trend, but I have a feeling that women far and wide have either embraced this advice or become tired of this advice.

Usually, this advice implicates one of a few areas in a woman’s life.

1. Work on your body. This one is the most annoying. First, do you actually want to date the jerk who isn’t dating you mostly because he doesn’t “like” your body? (Spoiler: No, you don’t.) Second, you should not actually believe that the only thing standing between you and that oft-sung endless love is ____ pounds or ____ inches. I do not mean to say that health is not an important consideration (notice, however, that “health” is not quite the implication of “working on your body”). To be even MORE frank, if the implication is that you need a certain type of body in order to have sex….well, biology sort of debunks that one, huh? People of all shapes and sizes are having sex everyday. Otherwise, the human race would probably die out.

2. Work on your domestic skills (learn to cook, learn to sew, etc.). Ok, ok, ok. I’m not about to go down the path of saying that a woman doesn’t need to learn how to handle domestic matters. If I want to eat, I better know how to cook. But….is the actual reason that I’m not married is  I’ve not learned how to make a chocolate layer cake? Will men flock to your door the minute you boil some corn on the cob? (Spoiler: No.)

3. Work on liking things that men like. Remember how I said that number 1 was the most annoying? I was wrong. My bad. THIS ONE is the most annoying. It’s sexist toward both men and women; it’s reductionist; and, it’s wrong. So, I should embrace just a general smattering of whatever I think men like? Beer? Football? Playboy? Twinkies? Leather wallets?

Think about this: if, for example, I decide to embrace Twinkies this means that I’ll buy Twinkies. I’ll keep Twinkies on hand. I’ll eat Twinkies. Never mind that I’m one of the few Americans who doesn’t actually like Twinkies (I know, right?). So, I meet Mr. Twinkie Lover–we’ll call him Twink. Me and Twink lock eyes on the snack aisle when we both reached for the  last package of our sacred snack on a Kroger shelf. We go out. We spend lots of time doing Twinkie-related things. We wear Twinkie shirts. Why not? We both love Twinkies, right? WRONG. Twink loves Twinkies. I’m putting on an act.

I sometimes wonder if a man in search of a relationship with a woman is given this same advice? Do people tell men to learn to like the things women like? Crocheting? Shemar Moore? Ryan Gosling? White Zinfadel? Lace underwear? How messed up is it to suppose that the one thing standing between you and all you need to get by is a stupid hobby? That’s pretty messed up.

I did, and do, need to work on me. Not in preparation for a relationship, but so that I could be a functioning and healthy member of society; so that I could live the life in front of me. That was becoming increasingly difficult, until I dealt with my trust issues, my spiritual issues, my anger issues, and my self-esteem issues. While whipping up a chocolate layer cake sounds TOTES fab, I don’t think the cake would have helped me with my trust issues. Maybe it would have helped the self-esteem, though.

The “he’s-just-around-the-corner” problem

In Encouragement, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on May 30, 2013 at 5:27 am

It’s kind of like the Konigsberg Bridge problem. Tons of people undertake to explain it, and most of them fail. Yesterday, I talked about the need for women (and men) to more honestly discuss our feelings surrounding relationships, dating, marriage, and being single.

I recognize that much of what I am about to say is aimed at heterosexual women. This is not because I think that men and homosexual persons necessarily experience relationship issues differently. Perhaps because I am a heterosexual woman, it seems like a host of tweeters, Facebook pages, magazine columns, and books are also aimed at heterosexual women. The targeting is not coincidental. I think it has a lot to do with marketing, disposable income, and other graphable/chartable group characteristics of women.

At any rate…

I see numerous posts basically telling the reader to be patient; the man of your dreams is just around the corner; you just have to wait; you just have to be happy with who you are right now; he’s a-coming. LE SIGH. I used to think like that, and I busily threw myself into being happy with who I was at the time. I busily threw myself into waiting.

Then, I realized. Life was trickling through my fingers like juice from uneaten, overripe strawberries–and I wasn’t enjoying the proverbial strawberries.

One day, I finally had the guts to tell myself: this dude may NOT be around the corner. Then, I started saying it out loud. To other people–and I got a spectrum of reactions from agreement to anger. But, I felt a little free-er 🙂 I decided to do some of that stuff I was waiting to do. Instead of trying to be happy with who I was in pause mode waiting for someone, I decided to put myself into motion. I realized that if the man of my dreams (side note: what does that phrase mean anyway?) NEVER showed, my life could and would and should and must go on.

So, I laughed. I cried. I spent less time doing things I didn’t like. I spent more time with people who I did like. I had crushes. I had dates. I took care of my mental health. I cut my hair. I grew my hair. I quit teaching. I started law school.

The problem with saying someone is just around the corner is that the phrase encourages you to wait in some fashion. Your happiness with you HAS NOTHING TO DO with someone around the bend. Patience is useful beyond waiting for someone who may or may not be there. You know that piece of lingerie you’ve been waiting to buy? You know that movie you haven’t watched yet? You know that trip you’ve not taken? Go ahead. Relish. Enjoy. Life is happening right now, and you can be happy with who you are, who you were, and who you will be!

Single ladies: What’s the real feel?

In Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on May 29, 2013 at 4:33 am

Looking over my Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter timeline (or newsfeed, or whatever), I noticed lots of statements by, for, to, and about single women. Some stuff is good. But, some stuff stinks. I mean, some of this stuff literally reeks of pseudo-psychology or hypocrisy or dismissiveness (and, in the worst of cases, all three). The worst thing is that we share and retweet that crap!

Single ladies (and guys, too–sorry, guys…I am not intentionally leaving you out, it’s just that SOOO MUCH of this stuff is directed at women), I think we have a right to feel HOWEVER we feel about being single. I’m not married, but I am dating. But, before that, I wasn’t in a romantic relationship for years. And, it bothered me at times. I was lonely at times. I wanted someone to share things with at times. At other times, I enjoyed the singularity of not having to explain myself to another person. I didn’t wake up in the morning cursing myself for not being married, but you get the picture.

There is not some hocus-pocus that will snatch the person of your dreams up into the skies the minute you honestly think or say that you feel lonely or that you want to be in a relationship or that you never want to have children or that your job is more important to you than romance.

I find it comforting and strengthening and empowering to discuss my feelings about relationships with other women. I like hearing how other women feel about relationships, being single, dating, breaking up, going out, and so forth.

Honestly, I don’t really have MUCH of a point besides this: be real about your feelings.

The beauty of rejection

In Encouragement, Friendship, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on May 25, 2013 at 4:51 am

The title is meant to be inspiring. Positive. A definite sunny side statement.

But, the reality of facing rejection and–even worse–remembering and reliving it is like looking at the sky from the bottom of a pit. There is darkness and depth all around and you know that there is something better and beautiful at the surface.

I battle the memories and reality of rejection from time to time. I used to be consumed and paralyzed by rejection. I felt that all of my important relationships ended in rejection. In the end, I came to feel that why try? Why extend myself? Why allow others to extend themselves to me? I hated rejecting others as much as I hated rejection of myself. But, once I stopped extending myself….I became Me-Lite. Less of who I am. Less of who I am meant to be.

Therapy and counseling are hard work. I had to face the reasons for the rejection–and they were many and varied. Timing wasn’t right; relationship was abusive or manipulative; relationship wasn’t about who I am or who the other is, but rather what we hoped the other to be; relationship was co-dependent; divergent growth; the season was simply over. But, it turns out that none of these are reasons for me to back away from being me.

But, mostly I worked on focusing on the people who loved me and the people and things that I love. My parents, who made it their business to see to it that I made it through law school. My boyfriend, who made it his business to work with me and grow with me. My family–both blood and bond–who make it their business to laugh and cry with me. They deserve to know the real me, particularly because they show that they will love me because of and, sometimes, in spite of who I am.

The Love I Never Lost

In Encouragement, Friendship, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on December 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

Two of my oldest childhood friends are on Facebook, and I have reconnected with each of them. They don’t know each other; it’s possible that neither will ever read this or know that I am talking about her. One of them I haven’t heard from in almost 20 years. I ran into the other by chance after many years of being apart. The honest truth is that it is difficult to pick up the thread of a childhood friendship where it left off. I am glad to be able to check on both of them and to know that they are both well. There was a time in my life when when I connected with each of them on a daily basis. Of each of them, I can say that she was my friend, my play sister, my closest confidante, my note passer, and my giggle buddy for a long time. She (each of them) eased my passing from one phase of life to another.

My father’s mother, who I called Granma Porter, died when I was about 5 or 6. She did not live in the same state as I, so our visits were planned. I don’t have very many clear memories of Granma Porter. I have snatches of watching TV at her house; of her reading on the porch; of her face. When I was very small, she would come and spend the summer with my parents and I. My mother tells me of how Granma Porter would talk me, in my stroller, with her for a walk everyday when she stayed with us. Somehow, from just these brief stories, I know that she loved me.

The love my friends shed on me and the love my Granma Porter wrapped me in has never been lost. The friendships have changed and faded and my grandmother is with the Lord. But, the love I received from them stays with me. On days when I am feeling less than, I remember that of all the things that I could have done, been, or had: I have done loving acts for, I have been loved by, I have had love from these people and countless others. This tells me many things: that I exist; that I have purpose; that I am lovable; that I am not fatally flawed. Oh, yes. I have been loved.

An important dialogue

In Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on November 22, 2012 at 1:48 am

Ladies and gentlemen of all colors,

It’s rare that I get a response on my personal blog. But, I got one response to my post One Black Woman Responds. Posted for your thought and consideration is the comment left by Macmajii and my response to him (I’m an attorney….we’re never short on words or comebacks; moreover, I’ve posted my words first. Mac’s initial response is at the end). I hope that this is a dialogue that continues not only here but also in y/our everyday lives. What is this thing called race? In the words of Cole Porter, what is this thing called love? How does race affect our attitude toward love? How does love affect our attitude toward race? And, what role does gender play in both race and love (and all permutations of that question)?

Yours,

Michelle

——————————-

Mac:

I guess the thing about your original post that wounded me was the attitude of disdain that you showed to Black women generally. Eventually, in some way, we are all average. In fact, I enjoy my average-ness sometimes–guess that makes me extra-average.

I am deeply in love with my boyfriend. He is an attorney, and I am currently in my last year of law school. But, honestly, I have a lot of baggage; I’m not in perfect shape; and (obviously) I’ve got plenty of mouth. I’ve been engaged before, and it didn’t end well. When my current boyfriend and I started dating, I was terrified of falling in love and being hurt. So, maybe that makes me unworthy of him in your definition? Could be. But, I like to think that what I lack in qualification I make up in love, respect, and devotion. My worth for him is, I believe, independent of my thankfulness for him and to him.

Though you went to a site for Black people, there is not that much difference between your attitude and the attitude of the women you criticize. You never said that all of the women from Africa and the Caribbean felt that way, but your implication was that this was the prevailing attitude. I will be honest that I have not traveled extensively, but in my time in undergrad at Agnes Scott and in law school, I have worked with women from Africa and from the Caribbean. We do have a lot in common (even though some of us were Asian, others Jamaican, others Nepalese, some straight, some bi-sexual, some lesbian), and spending time at an all women’s college taught me that. We each had to figure out how to be the woman she was meant to be; each had to figure out how to balance sexuality and politics and academia and gender roles and family expectations; each had to figure out how she could justify the ways in which she planned to go against traditional gender roles; each had to contextualize cultural, social, and economic factors. A vagina might seem like a mere factor to you, but having a vagina leads to parallel and perpendicular social issues across cultures: childbirth, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, prostitution, rape, menopause, breast cancer, abuse and deficits and deficiencies in education and health care. In fact, your comments prompted me to start a discussion, and I do not actually believe that what you express is the prevailing or predominant attitude.

I object to you calling me “babe.” You don’t know me; you’ve never met me. The term is patronizing and disrespectful–more to the point, the only people who call me any derivation of that word are my parents and sisters (who call me baby girl or baby sister, since I’m the youngest) or my boyfriend (as a pet name–and only after we had been dating for a while. He’s far too respectful to have presumed upon our friendship by calling me that immediately). I will answer to “sis,” “sister,” “miss,” “ma’am,” “miss lady” and even the occasional, “hey, girl.”

I don’t want to get into a semantics battle with you regarding the definition of independent. I do, however, want to point out that the verse you have quoted from I Corinthians 11:11-12 speaks in the context of marriage and body of Christ relationships. Woman is not independent of man, but neither is man independent of woman. You clearly have an attitude of derision: “we know sisters don’t really take the bible all that seriously.” Again, you characterize all black women as hypocrites–a very serious accusation. I do take it personally because I am a Black woman, and I do actually take the Bible pretty seriously (in fact, my final two career choices were either seminary to become a Christian counselor or law school to be a legal counselor). Indeed, the wedding vows that you quote are not actually quoted from the Bible (though, indeed, they express biblical ideas), and it should read, “To honor and obey until death do US (or, you) part.”

I’m not pretending that I don’t know what types of men are not desirable for me–I know exactly what types of men are not desirable for me. But, to characterize these men as lowest common denominators without knowing more about them is presumptuous and prejudicial. You referred to them as “brothers”–I was pointing out the irony in your use of the term.

The cycle of abuse is far more complex than your characterization.

The number of women that you subtract and discount because of a particular characteristic excludes nearly everyone. I don’t believe that all black men are messed up; I don’t believe that most black men are messed up; I believe that many people are damaged and bruised and battered by life. Though I am impressed by the caliber and pedigree of the men with whom you are friends, upwardly mobile doesn’t mean that a person hasn’t been marked or bruised by life. More than anything, extending compassion to another person will illuminate their humanity. There is nothing wrong with being marked and bruised by life–it shows that we are alive.

I don’t want to get into interracial dating because I am the product of interracial dating and love. It’s a non-issue for me. I am loved by my family, and I love my family. Black women should feel free (I guess that means independent) to date anyone of any age, color, or gender. Black men should feel free (I guess that means independent) to date anyone of any age, color, or gender. For the record, I don’t watch Oprah (or any of her spin-offs including OWN, Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Phil, or Dr. Oz). I have never seen Something New–and I’m not sure if I’ve ever discussed the movie with anyone. I don’t spend much time in front of the television and I don’t spend any time scouring the internet for men of any race. So, to be clear, my comment about me being a little Black girl descended from Irish and Asian immigrants meant that everyone should feel free to date any race–my Black grandparents and great-grandparents certainly did.

Finally, the Golden Rule interprets itself: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is linked to the two other great commandments: love thy neighbor as thyself and love the Lord thy God. In order to get in touch with the Golden Rule, you have to love yourself first. I certainly understand your frustration with Black women bashing Black men, but hate cannot cast out hate, only love can do that. Indeed, I would have done well to heed my own advice. My frustration with your words could not cast out your frustration with Black women writ large. All that has ended up happening is that we merely reflect each others’ frustration. Sometimes you imply that your words apply to the extra-average Black woman; sometimes your words seem to apply to all Black women. Do you think that all Black women are extra-average? If so, that might explain why you run into so many extra-average Black women (though, technically, “extra” means beyond or outside of…). It’s the exact same syndrome as a Black woman who complain about all Black men being ______ (fill-in with something bad)–ultimately that bad characteristic is all she will ever see.

I simply hope that you are able to do what I finally did. I let go of the frustration and bitterness; love finally found me. I turned off the television; I turned off the radio; I put down the books; I turned off my friends; I turned off my parents. I tuned in to what love was saying. The bottom line of the media is usually that the biggest fools with the loudest mouths and the most eccentric sets of beliefs are publicized. Going by what the media shows you will leave you in a world of hurt. I believe that I am exceptional in some ways, but I know any number of equally and surpassingly exceptional women and men who don’t seem to be finding each other. I’m puzzled as to why, but I think the media plays a part.

Here is my honest opinion of men of all colors: A man, who knows his own humanity, is a glorious work of art by God Himself. I have never been more fascinated by any other of God’s creations as I have been by men. Black men are an amazing demonstration of resiliency and refusal to bow. Not slavery; not the middle passage; not Reconstruction; not the Klan; not Jim Crow; not a stacked criminal justice system can wipe the Black man off the planet. The Black man is a force to be reckoned with, and regardless of what we say, the Black woman continues to reckon with him as his wife, his girlfriend, his sister, his daughter, his mother, his classmate, his cousin, his neighbor, his colleague. No man or woman is merely average; we are all miracles. But, I guess in that way, we are all average….average, every day miracles of the creator.

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Interesting read. As the author of the article in question, I couldn’t help but offer a rebuttal to your rebuttal on some of the things you mentioned. More like clarifying my points, if you will. I’m not sure if you’ll even post this on your site or not; but at least you can read it yourself and no where I stand, hopefully clearer. I went down the list and answered with the number that corresponds with your own.

1. What criterion would make one person worthy of another you ask? First and foremost, the fact that you RESPECT and HONOR that person. The fact that you have THEIR best interest at heart and mind; not so much just your own. The fact that you can exhibit TRUST towards them. These are the basics that you just don’t find with extra-average sisters when it comes to how they deal with black men. And we both know it.

2. I didn’t run to ABC, CNN, Russian TV or any other such mainstream outlet to vent my frustrations with the sisters. You won’t find one show on mainstream TV where black men in general are on there talking about how successful they are and can’t find a black woman to vibe with or marry. I went to a site for BLACK people to voice my opinion. http://www.thyblackman.com BIG difference!

3. I never said ALL women from the Caribbean, Africa or abroad feel this way. I said that was the prevailing attitude held about American black women based on what those I’ve encountered said to me in moments of extreme disclosure. And its true. I’ve traveled around the world a bit. Have you? Every place I’ve gone where there were other blacks to be found, I asked their honest opinion about ‘us’. And they didn’t hesitate to give it. Don’t shoot the messenger babe.

As for women in Asia feeling they have more things in common with you than not; when was the last time you asked your nail technician or the lady at the beauty store their opinions on the matter? Because I can assure you they don’t feel like they have much at all in common with American sisters; unless you consider your vagina the only important commonality. Asian women typically despise American black women; especially those who service you with hair care products and other beauty related services. And they don’t even hide it! So I don’t know who these mythological Asian chicks are you keep referring to.

4. Definition of independent:

-a neutral or uncommitted person…
-not dependent on or conditioned by or relative to anything else…
-showing a desire for freedom…
-rejecting others’ aid or support; refusing to be under obligation to others…

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. And these were pulled randomly from a dictionary when I looked up the word: so they’re not even MY words. Now I ask you sister: what man in his right mind is going to sign up for THAT? Who wants to be with someone who wears the title of uncommitted as a badge of honor? The problem is, sisters have personified the very definition and meaning of the word ‘independent’ without even realizing what it means! There is prophetic power in words!

As for what God Himself thinks about an independent woman: 1 Corinthians 11:11-12-

“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is NOT independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.”

But we know sisters don’t really take the bible all that seriously. If they did, they would hold in high regard those words uttered at just about every wedding ceremony: “To HONOR and OBEY, until death do her part…”

5. Really?! You’re going to act like you have NO idea what type of brothers I’m referring to here? Let me help you then: Lowest common denominator types of black men:

*Dudes who need your place to stay because they don’t have their own
*Dudes who drive your car because they don’t have their own
*Dudes who rotate in and out of jail constantly
*Dudes who think going to prison is some kind of rite of passage
*Dudes who never have a job or steady income
*Dudes with multiple baby mommas

Need I go on? As for these guys being my brothers: Not every man of my hue takes his cue from the same values I do. I don’t claim dusty niggas as my brothers. More like my backwards long lost cousins…twice removed…

6. Please allow me to fill in that blank for you. You attracted an abusive person because…
Somewhere deep within the nether regions of your spirit, you believe that abuse is a sign of love. Or maybe you are bored with life and secretly crave the excitement of the drama. Ultimately its for the same reason crackheads go back for one more smoke: addiction. Some people are addicted to their own negative behaviors, feelings and self-value. Some are addicted to the drama.

Ever hear that saying ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear’? Well I like to say ‘When the abused get tired of their abuse, the abuse magically stops.’ And you know why: because they DO something about it besides sitting there and taking the crap! Its called taking personal responsibility. Something alot of my brothers and sisters find hard to do nowadays.

7. This one was kinda confusing to me, as you seemed to be making a point about not really making a point. The fact remains that once you subtract from the dating the pool the number of black women who are: physically unattractive, hoodrats, baby factories, unpaid whores, too ‘independent’ to keep their tongues out of some other woman’s twat, crazy as catshit, or simply already taken by someone else…the numbers for those who remain are extremely slim.

Society tries to paint us a picture of black men all being jacked up; when the reality is most are not. They’re simply not stupid enough to commit to women who by their own admission are disloyal to a fault. So wise brothers tend to keep it moving until they find some woman who they can settle down with in peace and cohabit with in love. If she happens to be of another hue, so the hell be it! More on this in a sec…

As for my circle of homies: my inner circle includes a few dozen, mostly relatives. Doctors, attorneys, engineers, corporate men, self-employed men, ministers, working class brothers, police officers, etc. My larger circle of homies numbers in the hundreds. Mostly black except for a few hispanic and white brothers; all upwardly mobile. None of them are dusty or deadbeats. Dusty negroes make me itch…

8. Lets go there. Interracial dating only seems to be a problem when black men are doing it. When Oprah did that show about sisters dating interracial, y’all co-signed on it. When movies like Something New starring Sanaai Lathan came out, y’all co-signed it too. There are a litany of websites such as boycottblackmen.com and tons of others dedicated to black women dreaming about getting with men of other races, primarily white dudes. And they be throwing themselves at these guys online. Its actually sad if it wasn’t so comical. I don’t hear much anger coming from my pro-black sisters for these sites or those who run them.

Why should anyone care if black men date women other than extra-average black women who think they are higher than they really are? What happened to all races of women having so much more in common? Remember saying that? I guess that only applies so long as what they have in common is not a black man on their arms…

*In closing, I agree somewhat with your definition of love. But the proper interpretation of the Golden Rule is to treat people the way THEY desire to be treated; not the way you think they should be treated. Huge difference. After all: don’t you enjoy being treated the way YOU like it?