Preface: I thought this piece was past due. Though I speak freely and give thoughtful advice on the state of relationships, within my community and without, I never speak on my own experiences. I listen to popular opinion, panels of experts and advocates for both genders. I am my biggest critic and i’ve learned many lessons about myself and others as far as i’m concerned. This is comprised of just that. My opinions, lessons and experiences.
I LOVE being black, I love my community but I also feel degradation towards it at times. I’ve never felt that growing up poor and underprivileged left me at a disadvantage, instead it gave me the motivation to be more than society said I was supposed to be. I’m proud of my color and my black American culture. All of this said let’s not be surprised if I build my life with a man of another race and or culture. I LOVE black men… Especially black American men. I love and am attracted to the various colors, warm eyes, beautiful physiques and ethic anonymity… they remind me of me.
There is nothing like having a conversation with a man that has a similar background to mine, good and bad. A discussion about housing projects can be as stimulating as SEO marketing tactics with a person with the same home grown experiences. Unfortunately, I have found this is never enough. Naturally being a educated, successful black American woman isn’t the same as being a successful black American man, the words educated and successful have different meanings to both groups.
To women, this COULD mean – you have finished school, have a career and are childless or can gainfully support those you are responsible for. To men, successful COULD mean having a degree, a job and not having a criminal record. I am describing the most basic situations because – I think trivial men and women view these few attributes of having directly to do with success within our community. These are vastly lacking and terribly, ignorantly basic. If we are basing success on these attributes we are left with subpar individuals on both sides. In my definition both are one in the same, educated with degrees or by life with the outcome that led to a gainful career. Happy people with ambition and drive, willing to invest in themselves for the sake of the futures of themselves and whomever they are responsible for.
I’m speaking from my own experiences, good, bad, right and wrong. I have exs that were/are successful black men and good choices for me at the time. One married a white woman (in which I told his mother he would) and the other married an exact year after we broke up. To both men I was a stellar example of a support system financially, domestically and emotionally. I’m positive they would agree. The lengths I went to, to support my black men were beyond the lengths that I had gone for myself at the time. I see the error in my logic now but I can not give less than 100 in any situation I’m committed to. My character is to win and succeeding in my part of a relationship is a success for me. Only, my part isn’t only to be considered. I was blinded in my own relationships with the need to perfect myself as presented to the man I was with, all the while ignoring things I needed for myself. I “lost” because I made it too easy, I gave all and expected nothing thus receiving that – selflessness can be a determent to the soul. These men needed not only support but to be saved. I see the plight of the misfortunes of our culture and since I have an abundance to offer, I give freely. What is there to say for a man that takes freely without giving? Where is the support and the stability in that. But then – maybe I am expecting too much from these educated black men.
The bigger questions are “why did I let this happen and is there a potential that this could happen again?”
My bold conclusion is that I was too much for them both, I was and still am what they said they wanted… Only they weren’t enough to sustain the want. In turn … they were intimidated & emasculated by their own short comings. What HAVE I learned? True that the conclusions I preach and believe in – I should ALWAYS follow. We women are a prize and should be sought after, emotionally supported and burdens should be shared. I am teaching myself that my life is my own to enjoy and that a life of service is much different than enabling. I deserve to be given to, instead of taken from freely. I need not overcompensate for my accomplishments in comparison to those I choose to spend my time with.
Lastly, an ex told me something I will always keep in mind when dating or pursuing any kind of relationship. “If a man wants you – he will SHOW you” I don’t think it’s more complicated than that. As he should, make this a life lesson. You’ll never get more from someone else than you can give to yourself.