Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Though we don’t like to admit it, there are certain feelings that, as a woman and specifically as a black woman, I’m supposed to have. African Americans are pretty legendary for our “blackness” litmus tests. Add being a woman on top of that, and the community can be pretty demanding about what you should and shouldn’t think.
Well, I’m here to confess my Internal Blackness Violations (IBVs). I’m finally going to get it all off my chest. These are things I often think, but dare not say. Until now.
And while many of my most secret thoughts may undermine my legitimacy as a black woman, I must let them out before I explode. I warn you. It’s not pretty.
1. I think Michelle Obama is kinda funny looking.
2. I could care less about that hoopla over Reggie Bush being on the cover of Essence and even less about who he dates.
3. I think the WNBA is full of ugly lesbians (not that anything’s wrong with that).
4. I think Michael Steele is embarrassingly inarticulate.
5. I think many of Tom Joyner’s “Little-Known Black History Facts” are, in fact, not true.
6. Women sportscasters, police officers and soldiers make me uncomfortable. Pam Oliver not withstanding, I just haven’t gotten comfortable with women in those positions yet. I want a man to show up to my 911 call. Sorry Gloria Steinem.
7. I think Kwanzaa is stupid. (And too damn complicated)
8. Sometimes I say in my head, ‘I’m glad my hair isn’t as nappy as hers.’
9. I think David Brooks is right more than he is wrong.
10. I think Tyra was getting too big.
11. (As a single black woman) I’m sick of hearing black women complain about being single. Read a book.
12. I think Michael Baisden is silly, loud and annoying, and that most of the people that call his show are morons.
13. The bitter black women wing of the blogosphere is so tired. They all just need to get laid. Outrage-obsessed black women are sooooo 20th century.
14. I’ve never liked Teena Marie’s voice. I think she sounds terrible.
15. Whenever they start to play reggae music at a party, I go sit down.
16. I secretly think all Nigerians are gonna rip me off. Sorry.
17. I haven’t bought a Mary J. Blige album since “What’s the 411.”
Whew! The first step is admitting the problem and being honest with yourself. Okay, now I can sleep tonight.
Do you have any IBVs?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
As we head in to a new year, I wanted to write a challenge to all of you. Though I’m writing generally for women, because that’s who i know best, this really applies to everyone. Instead of my usual bitching and moaning about God knows what, I want to take this opportunity to encourage instead of complain. Enjoy it while it lasts…
We live in a culture where the individual is highly regarded. Individual choice is heralded, personal responsibility is required and we pride ourselves on individual opportunity. But it think its time for a bit of a reality check.
Somewhere in our quest for individual success, we forget our relationships with others. We forget that how we treat others is just as important as how they treat us. Too often we become takers. We want to “play them” before they “play us.” We focus solely on “getting ours.” We encourage each other to “do you!” And like a cheating lover, this strategy will betray you and leave you lonely.
While I’m all about acknowledging one’s self-worth, many of us women have a misplaced sense of entitlement. Many of us have inflated our own value, and just like the housing market, bubbles based on nothing will always burst. Before you proclaim why you deserve so much, think about what you have actually given. And no, pussy doesn’t count.
Despite the sassy, overbearing, neck-rolling, dominating, i-can-do-bad-by-myself, tough-as-nails images of ourselves we see in the media, know that we are at our very best when we provide for others. We are at our best when we embrace our womanhood with compassion, warmth and generosity.
Being strong doesn’t mean being angry. Being independent doesn’t mean being selfish. Being educated doesn’t mean being elitist. We shine when we nurture and love and care. Don’t be afraid to laugh and cry and dance and love with reckless abandon. Don’t be afraid to smile. Softness and vulnerability and tenderness do not make you weak. They make you human. They make you a woman.
As you climb the corporate ladder, embark on the partner-track or whatever rat-race you find yourself in, do not lose your humanity. Once you’ve clawed your way to the top, wield your success with grace and humility.
In love, treat men how you want to be treated. Know that his needs are just as important as yours. Don’t treat your relationships as if you are the only prize. It astounds me how many women think that somehow they are the only one that matters in a relationship. Its called a RELATIONSHIP for a reason. Remember that. Why do you think that when you yell, and berate and marginalize a man, he will love you? Yes, we know you are strong and capable, but so is he. So let him be it.
Don’t punish your children (and everyone else) for your bad decisions and poor choices. And yes, you have made some. Probably several.
Admit that your “thick” status became “fat” years ago. And do something about it.
And although you may not believe it, you really don’t have something to prove to everyone.
Let’s also abandon our obsession with images and status. Make sure there’s a brain under your $1,200 weave. Make sure there’s a heart beneath your Prada suit. Being a good daughter, a good wife and a good friend is just as important as getting in to a good school, making good money or getting a good job.
Don’t treat your friends or children or parents like they are just another entry on your to-do list. (Trust, I’ve learned the hard way.)
The power-hungry, race-to-the-top strategy for corporate success just doesn’t translate well in the world of real human beings. The selfish, conniving, cold-blooded, back-stabber only thrives in Hollywood movies. Generally, they end up bitter and alone. Perhaps bitter and alone in a fantastic house, but bitter and alone nonetheless.
No matter how accomplished you are, what people will remember is how you treated them. No one will recall how many degrees you had or what type of car you drove or that you had a fireplace in every room, but they will remember how you made them feel and what you brought to their lives and that you made them a better person for having known you.
As 2010 begins, each of our resolutions should include leaving the world a better place than we found it and making the people around you feel enriched for having met you. So in the boardroom, be a bitch if you need to, but remember to leave that bitch at work. And when you come home, don’t be afraid to unpack your Coach attachÃ© or Hermes Birkin and take the woman back out.
Happy New Year. Peace people.