Dear Black Men: I was made to love you

Mixed coupleOn Monday, while at lunch with a girlfriend, I received a happy birthday text message from a male friend that I had not spoken to in quite some time. Since we were both out and about and had a lot of catching up to do, we made plans to talk later on that night. So when my phone rang at 9:55 PM, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear from him and to catch up, especially since so much had happened over the past year. The conversation flowed effortlessly from one topic to the next and it was as though no time had passed since the last time we’d seen each other.

Soon the conversation shifted to our current relationship statuses. I was glad to learn he’d finally ended a relationship that he never should have entered and was now seeing someone who made him very happy. But the call quickly to an unexpected turn when he said that he had something to tell me, and made me promise not to hate him once he did. I laughed and promised because I figured whatever he had to tell me, couldn’t possibly be as bad as he’d imagined.

He then took a deep breath and quickly blurted out, “I’ve jumped ship and I am no longer dating black women ever again!”

I assumed he was joking, but unfortunately, I was wrong. Needless to say the conversation went downhill from there. But before I go any further, I want to make it crystal clear that I do not have an issue with him dating outside of our race. My issue is that he has decided to date all other races, except his own. I can’t begin to comprehend how a person decides that their own race is no longer suited for them.

Fighting the urge to curse him out and hang up on the phone, he immediately began to plead his case, stating he valued our friendship and my opinion. That he didn’t want to lose me…a black woman…as a friend. So, I allowed him to explain, like any reasonable person would do. As I tried to allow cooler heads to prevail, I attempted to be as analytical as possible, even though my heart was breaking into a million pieces. His words kept echoing over in my mind as he stated that women of other races appreciated, valued and supported him more than the black women he’d dated in the past. He continued on, stating that these women were just simply more fun and easier to get along with. He also felt that his current girlfriend, who is Indian, relates to him more so than any other woman he’s dated than ever before.

I probed deeper, asking him what lead him to this conclusion and upon hearing his answer, immediately started defending all of the black women he’d sworn off for life. Reminding him that despite his experiences, all black women are not the same and that a few bad apples should not ruin it for an entire barrel or in this case, an entire race. Not to mention that his mother is black and that if it weren’t for her, he wouldn’t even exist. In addition, it seemed as though he thought that women of other races didn’t come with their own set of issues. That they were somehow issue free.

We went back and forth for almost three hours about his stupidity, which only caused both of our comments to go left. Mine because I was hurt and his because he just didn’t care how ignorant he sounded. I soon began to realize that even though we’d know each other for several years, attended the same historically black university, worked at the same crappy job, which ironically is where we first met, and spent years growing our friendship, he’d become a stranger to me.

I remember his first day at work. I started my career in higher education shortly before him and we ended up in the same department. He’d recently moved back to Florida after a short stint in Atlanta. To my surprise, he remembered seeing me around campus and we instantly bonded as we swapped stories about college and life thereafter.

As our conversation proceeded and he said one stupid thing after another, always ending it with, “Please don’t hate me,” it was starting to become hard for me not to. Our conversation shifted from relationships to race relations, and what he no longer liked about our culture. I actually agreed with him on somethings, like the type of music we listen to and created. Most of it has awful lyrics mixed over a dope beat. I politely informed him that I rode around campus blasting Maroon 5 and that on most days, I prefer the John Mayer or Michael Buble station on Pandora, which I am constantly teased about by family and friends. He said that he and I were different and not the norm. But it was becoming abundantly clear to me that he was lost. He was hurt. He was angry. And because of that, he’d bought into the lies that the media spews daily about black women being combative, unattractive, and hard to love. He’d excelled in the military and had reached a point in his career where he’d “made it”. Now the only thing that was missing was his non-black wife.

He’d accepted his position in society as the “token” black guy and was proud of it. While I on the other hand fought against being the token black girl after high school and refused to ever go back to being the polite, well mannered, smart, nonthreatening individual that I believe most people saw me as all throughout childhood and adolescence.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in treating all people with respect but I refuse to be anyone’s black friend just so they can prove to themselves and the world that they are not racist.

Despite him trying to convince me that we are not like the majority, I told him that even though I was different, surrounding myself with positive, intelligent, ambitious and respectable black men and women became my norm after attending a minority recruitment event at one of the most predominately white universities in Florida. During that weekend, I was surrounded by some of the brightest people I’d ever had the pleasure of meeting and most importantly, they looked like me! They talked like me, they cracked corny jokes like me and they wanted more out of life, like me. They wanted to be doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers. I knew I’d found my tribe. I knew more of these people had to exist outside of Polk County, where I’d lived my whole life, and was determined to find them. We were nerds and proud of it. I no longer wanted to be the exception. I wanted to be the rule. I guess I never asked him what made him attend FAMU and just assumed it was because he was tired of the being the exception, like me.

As we circled back around to dating and he mentioned that he’d always dated women of all races, even in high school, if that really counts. He preferred mixed chicks, his words, not mine, because they looked exotic. It made me wonder if he’d noticed me around campus because everyone always thought I was West Indian, until they heard me speak. But I didn’t ask what made me memorable, because at this point, emotions were running high, and quite frankly, it now seemed irrelevant.

I knew I couldn’t say anything to change his mind, at least not in one conversation. I’d actively listened to him and what I heard was that he was tired of not being accepted by black women because he wasn’t the “norm” by our culture’s standards. He’s 5’7, which isn’t very tall, he doesn’t listen to rap music, and he’s more into science than into sports. And it made me wonder how many other black men felt this way. Felt that black women wouldn’t or don’t accept them for being “different.” I thought about the countless conversations I’d had with my other male friends who’d expressed similar sentiments, but I’d always brushed them off since they still dated black women.

I tried to get him to see that I understood, accepted, and even liked him for being “different.” You see, it’s a beautiful thing when one soul recognizes another and I became his friend so many years ago because I saw something in him. I know people change and that growing a part sometimes happens. But as our conversation came to an end, he asked me again not to hate him, which I jokingly and half seriously replied that I’d consider it. We said good night and promised to talk again soon. Maybe we’d even Skype next time because he missed our face to face conversations.

I won’t lie, our talk left my head reeling for days. I am still processing all of the mixed emotions that I am feeling.  A part of me truly is happy that he’s happy, but another part of me is angry that he gave up on his own race because of the poor choices he made in women, which I’ll address in part 2. There is a disconnect between black men and women that is to be growing stronger by the moment, and it seems to me that more black women than men are trying to fix it, and it is truly heart breaking.

black couple in loveSo, in closing, I want every black man who has ever felt or is currently feeling under- appreciated, under-valued, or overlooked by black women because your pants don’t sag, you only wear a white t-shirt under a Polo, and speak in complete sentences, to hear me when I say you are appreciated. You are valued. You are loved and I see you because I was made to love you.

                

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Date. Dump. Repeat

Date. Dump. Repeat. That’s been the running theme of my love life since pretty much forever. Meet a boy. Fall for boy. Dump boy. And then repeat. Its a tedious process, but I guess its also necessary. Its all a numbers game, right?  And anyone who knows me, knows that I meet most of the men I date through dating websites. Meet enough men and one is bound to be Mr. Good Enough. At least that’s what I tell myself.

“You have new matches.”

That email piques my curiosity every afternoon. And even though I didn’t renew my Match subscription this month, I still like to see who they’ve “matched” me with. Well on Friday, I wish I hadn’t opened the email because there he was, a blast from the past. Mr. Whimsical Lion, aka Terrance. This was the second dating site he’d shown up on in the past seven days. You see, I’d seen him the week before on Tinder. But what these sites didn’t know, is that I’d already meet him 2 years ago. I resisted looking at his profile on Tinder, and quickly swiped to the left, removing him from screen and memory once again. But when he showed up on Match, where we initially met, I let my curiosity get the better of me, and checked out his profile

He’d uploaded one or two new photos, but he still looked the same. Of course looking at his photos lead to reading the “About Me” section, which made me laugh. And I remembered why I’d liked him in the first place. I clicked on the “our history” tab, just to see if Match had saved any of our conversations. Of course they hadn’t, not that I actually expected them too. But then it made me wonder that if Match didn’t keep track of our history, then why should I. Maybe he’d changed. Maybe he was done pulling disappearing acts, only to reappear weeks later, apologizing and asking for another chance. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to swipe left and should have swiped right on the other website and perhaps we’d reconnect and things would be different this time.

Then I remembered, I’m not a computer. I’m a human being and yes it is good to forgive, but it is not always good to forget. Because when you forget about how someone has disappointed you in the past, you’re open to letting them do it all over again. And with Terrance, there was not going to be a third time.  And even though it didn’t work out between us, thanks to him, I am a little bit wiser and will be more selective when it comes to my matches. Until then, I will continue to date, until I no longer dump and live mostly happily ever after with Mr. Good Enough.

Let them eat cake!

Dear future husband,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Even more so since learning about Yasmin Eleby, my  new shero. She recently threw herself a wedding and it got me to thinking about what our ceremony would be like. I’m thinking that I may want to break a tradition that I’ve never truly been fond of. I don’t think I want to throw my wedding bouquet and incite a riot among the single women at our wedding. It’s a tradition that should have probably been done away with years ago, but since it hasn’t what do you say about going our own way and shaking things up a bit? If you’re wondering why I feel this way, the post below that I wrote after attending a friend’s wedding in 2012 will better help you understand. I look forward to one planning our wedding with you and know that you are never far from my thoughts/prayers.

Love always,

Your future Mrs.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the wedding of one of my dearest friends, who I’ve known since college. The ceremony was small and intimate, and the reception was beautiful as well as elegant. We partied on the rooftop overlooking the ocean and even though it had rained most of the day, the sky had cleared up allowing us to enjoy the rest of our evening. Now on to the reason for this post lol. When it came time for the bride to toss  her bouquet into the sea of  women anxiously awaiting to catch it, they’d just begun to serve dessert and I was eating a rather tasty slice of carrot cake. An older couple I’d made with friends with earlier, tried to take my cake away from me as they shoved me into the masses with the rest of the single women. At that moment, all I could think about was “Why do I have to try to catch the bouquet when I know I’d get more pleasure out of eating my cake?” And who came up with this tradition of making women clobber each other in hopes that catching a bunch of flowers will end their season of singleness and be the next one to get married??? I was sure it was a man who came of with this idea, and decided to google it.

The tradition first originated in medieval Europe, but it wasn’t always the bouquet that women caught. After the ceremony, they would chase the bride and rip pieces of her dress, which was thought to bring them good luck. But as dresses became more expensive, the women began to keep their wedding dresses to pass down to their daughters.  Seeing as how flowers would not keep long, and represented fertility, they started throwing the bouquets instead of ripping the bride’s dress to pieces. And the way we attack one another, I’d say it’s the spirit of all the brides whose dresses were ripped, finally getting their revenge lol.

Going against tradition is not something I do often, but in the case of throwing flowers at the single women at my reception is a tradition I can do without. No need to make them further compete against one another to find a man. Instead, I will just let them eat their cake in peace, because after all, that’s what I would have done had I been given the option. Please note this is by no means a diss towards my friend’s beautiful wedding, and was truly honored to be a part of their special day. It’s just a single woman’s rant about wanting to have her cake and eat it too. 🙂

A wedding for one

Yasmin Eleby, a 40 year young Texan, who recently got married is my new shero! If you’re wondering exactly why this woman that I’ve never met has had such a profound impact on me, I’ll be happy to explain. In an act of self love and celebration of life, she threw herself the ultimate birthday party. It was a wedding, but without a groom!

I know what you’re probably thinking. Sounds pretty crazy and ridiculous, right? However, it really isn’t that outrageous. Sure she could have called it a birthday party, but it was much more than that. It was a commitment ceremony known as sologamy, in which one makes vows to honor, value, and practice self- love in hopes to make the world a better place, one human experience at a time. Besides, isn’t that what we were put on this earth to do?

After reading Yasmin’s interview with author and life coach Demetria Lucas, I found Yasmin’s reasons for throwing herself a commitment ceremony  to be inspiring. Single women are not celebrated enough in our culture. No matter what we accomplish or what type of life we lead, society tells us it means less without a significant other. I myself have grown tired of being asked, why I’m not married yet, or being told by a caring family member that they do worry about the young unwed women in our family. Newsflash, the world has not stopped spinning and hasn’t come to an end, so everyone should get their panties out of a bunch concerning this awesome experience.

Despite others saying she is hopeless, desperate and bitter since she wasn’t married by the age of 40, it was revealed this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yasmine, like myself, does hope to one day be officially married to a man. In the interview, she told Demetria that the idea of marrying herself if she hadn’t found a husband by her 40th birthday had become somewhat of a running joke in within her circle of family and close friends. So, a few months before her birthday, she threw caution to the wind and went for the gusto. I still don’t know why this upset people as though she were spending their money or spitting on the sanctity of marriage. People get married all the time for reasons other than love, for instance marrying someone you don’t love or even respect just so you can pretend not be lonely. Besides ladies, what better way to bring in the big 4-0 than wearing a beautiful gown, surrounded by family and friends who adore you?

Personally, I refuse to believe that Yasmin has been condemned to live a life of loneliness. And if  God does want her to remain single, then its for him to decide and no one else. Being single is actually a blessing and not a curse. When you’re single, it allows you to explore life, your purpose and who you are with limited distractions. I too hope to be married one day, but if I had gotten married at the age of 25 like I’d planned, I probably wouldn’t have moved to Atlanta, or be working on my 2nd book because I would have had a family to consider and put first. I’m living my dream of being a writer and being in a happy place is only going to make me a better partner for some lucky man one day. Being single allows you the freedom to be selfish until you’re in a place that you’re ready to take on the responsibility of caring for another human being, which is not something that is to be taken lightly.

Women  of today are being pulled in two different directions. On one hand, we’re pressured to be married by a certain age or according to everyone and they mama, face living a life of loneliness. And on the other hand, we’re told to be independent. We’re told to date ourselves until we know what we want in a partner. We’re encouraged not to wait for that special someone to take that once in a lifetime vacation. That we should buy houses even if we don’t have a family yet to turn it into a home or to have babies because we can do that via a sperm donor instead of a husband. But having a commitment ceremony, where we vow to love and value ourselves to love  is crossing the line?

Yasmin’s interview reminded me of one of my favorite lines from the recently aired Lifetime movie, “With This Ring,” about three friends vowing to be married or engaged within a year. Although I didn’t agree with the vow, the movie actually had a good message. So, I’ll leave you all with this, “happiness is now.”  And for Yasmin, happiness meant throwing herself a wedding to celebrate her 40th birthday. Self love is a beautiful and necessary ingredient to attracting the right mate. Her vows were sincere and empowering. So, I ask you, if we can’t commit to loving ourselves, then how can we expect someone else too?

Sex ain’t better than love

Trey Songz has always been a favorite artist of mine, so when he came out with his single, Sex Ain’t Better Than Love, it was no surprise that I fell in love with it right away. It was a bit of a change for him. Granted, the song was still about sex, but this time he was singing about finally realizing the importance of being in love when having sex, and I had to agree, sex without love is really nothing special.

When engaging in sex, you are not only connecting with someone physically but also emotionally, as well as spiritually. Although most people have a hard time admitting or even understanding this. When women have an orgasim, a hormone is released that causes them to form an emotional bond with their sexual partner. I may have made reference to this in my article, Closer Than Most: Friends With Benefits on my other blog, Just Ask Ariel.  In the article, I expressed my opinion as to why when you get right down to it, sex really isn’t as casual as people like to treat it.  Often times people develop feelings that are not reciprocated, leaving them feeling hurt and rejected. You become tied to this person that you were never supposed to be connected with in a such an intimate way.  It only takes a moment for a bond to be formed between you and Mr. or Mrs. Wrong, but often takes months and sometimes even years to break it. As a friend of mine says, we must stop developing permanent feelings for temporary people. One thing I truly believe is that Mr. or Mrs. Right won’t be revealed to you until you have completely broken your chains of bondage from Mr. or Mrs. Right Now.

So, while waiting for my future husband, I have decided to practice celibacy.  I no longer desire to be bound to someone who I’m not meant to spend my life with, only to have to start my wait all over again.This is by no means a spur of the moment decision, but one that I have put much thought into. I believe that God’s knows my determination and surprisingly has already placed people in my life that have made the same decision, letting me know that I am not alone in this journey.

Two people I admire, but don’t know personally are sony producer DeVon Franklin and actress Megan Good. They decided refrain from having sex and held each other accountable during their courtship and waited until their wedding night to experience each other the way God intended as man an wife.  People questioned whether or not DeVon truly had been celibate for 10 years prior to his marriage, but I for one am not questioning how God rewarded his faithfulness and commitment by blessing him with one of the hottest women in Hollywood as his wife.

With that being said, I can only imagaine how amazing my husband is going to be. Until then, I’ll be waiting, after all, sex ain’t better than love.

Don’t believe the hype: Black people do still marry one another

This post is long over due so I will try to keep my rant as short as possible. It’s not really a rant as much as it is a PSA to all of my single black men and women out there, that despite what the media says and how they drill it into our brain that black women don’t get married anymore, I’m here to tell you, it’s simply not true. But before I delve any deeper into this message, I have to shout out fellow blogger Curtis Thomas of He’s Gotta Have It and thank him for the fb post that triggered this rant, opps, I mean psa lol. Oh and also, this is by no means me speaking out against interracial dating, however, its not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat and too each their own.

Now, I know they, they being the media, pull out statics and do dateline special as well as documentaries about the dying off of black marriages and treat black couples like an endangered species, but they can throw as many numbers and examples at me as they’d like about black women not getting married, and more importantly, not getting married to black men. But that doesn’t mean I have to buy what they’re selling or believe the hype. Over the past year, I’ve found a couple of sites that promote black love and marriage. For instance, Black and Married with Kids is the go to site for all things pertaining to being black and married with kids lol. They also post topics for singles, but when it comes to that, I prefer Black Love Forum. However, both site post informative articles about how to communicate with one another to keep your relationship and connection strong. I’ve been blessed to have so many examples of positive relationships between black women and men throughout my life and adults I can go to to discuss issues, but so many people don’t and I think it’s important to tell others about resources available to them that they may not know about. If you need more examples, let’s not forget about Essence Magazine, where couples share their stories and wedding pictures all of the time. In this day and age where we validate all information by googling it, I think it’s important to know there are sites out there putting out positive images of black couples for all to see.

To bring this psa to a close, like I said before, I know that numbers don’t lie and are a bit disproportionate, but I still have hope. Just a couple of months ago I was able to witness an amazing ceremony and watched one of my dearest friends from college get married to her best friend, who just so happens to be a strong black man. That alone replenished my hope and I pray it replenishes your hope as well. Hope that if a black man is who you truly desire to have as your husband, to have and to hold, until death do you part and that despite against all odds, he will find you. So today and every day until he finds me, I won’t give up hope and I won’t stop waiting him.

I’ll know you when I see you

While waiting for you, I’ve often wondered how will I know that I’ve found the “one.” God shows me glimpses of you from time to time when I see things in men that I do or don’t like. For example, I know that you will have a great laugh that will be contagious. I also know that we’ll inspire one another to be better people, because that’s what love is really all about. Inspiring someone to be a better man or woman and wanting to live up to your significant other’s expectations.

During this time of singleness, I am learning about what I don’t want in a relationship. I don’t want someone who doesn’t make me feel valued or apart of all aspects of his life. I don’t want a man who won’t fight for us when things get rough. Running away is easy, but it doesn’t mean that’s the answer. I don’t need your love to be epic, I just need it to be unconditional. Too many times I’ve heard people speak of love, and to me, it sounded as though they were more in love with the idea of being in love, than finding their soul mate. But I know that you will know the difference. These are just a few of things on my list, but with that being said, trust that I will know you when I see you. And until then, I promise to wait for you because I’ve learned from experience that no one else will do. I’m going to sign off now before I tailspin into a poem lol.

Love always,

Your future wife

What do they really know?

Dear future husband,

They say that you can’t really miss something that you never had, but know that I miss you daily. You are never really far from my thoughts. When something funny happens, or I see a movie that I think we both might enjoy, I can’t wait to share those moments with you. I’m not in a rush per say, but I do look forward to making new memories with you. I just thought you should know, for days that I fail to show you, that you are loved. Until then, know that I am patiently waiting for you.

 

Love always,

 

your future wife

 

The day I killed Godzilla

Dear future husband,

Today while waiting for you, I did something that I never thought I’d have the courage to do. One of the things you need to know about me, is that I am horrified of all creepy crawly things, lizards included. But today I attempted to conquer my fear. Today, I killed Godzilla, or perhaps it was Godzilla’s love child. Sure he wasn’t as big as the monster who terrozied Tokyo for years, but that doesn’t mean he was any less scary. You see, there has been a small baby lizard, running around the house and terrorizing me all week long. But today, I’d had enough and reclaimed my sanity and peace of mind. How did I do that you ask? Well, I beat him with a broom until the broom broke, and I was sure he was dead. I know that I will need you for many things, which include killing creepy crawly things, but until you arrive, I will do my best to conquer my fear of most bugs and even lizards.

Love always,

Your future wife