I Didn’t Give Up On Black Men, They Gave Up On Me!
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN ITS ENTIRETY ON ESSENCE.COM
Yes, you read the title correctly, and I can see your eyebrows raised and neck hairs bristling up. Don’t hop off the ride just yet. I need you to put on your seat belts and rock with me for a minute. I’m about to take you on a very personal journey that dropped me smack dab in the middle of Broken Hearts, USA.
I’m going to start with an urgent gripe of mine: Every time I turn around, the mating habits of African-American women are being scrutinized. There is always some broken-down bundle of research about how many Black women are single or an article about why we aren’t “suitable for long term relationships.” Gee whiz. I can’t digest any more of this crap. Check, please!
Perhaps what’s most disheartening is the fact that out of all the people who find fault in Black women, it’s brothers that are our toughest critics. They reject us for being too dark, having short hair, being plus size or having a less than bodacious donk (translation: a round posterior anatomy). Sisters are lampooned for not being submissive enough, soft enough or simply too vocal with our opinions. And the hits just keep on coming.
Is there any wonder that I say (with tears in my eyes) that “ didn’t give up on Black men, they gave up on me? I came to this painful realization a few years ago, but it was a long time coming.
I can’t tell you exactly when I started feeling rejected by Black men; it was too many years ago to count. I have been told that I am “too opinionated”, “too assertive”, “too outspoken” or “too fat” more times than I can care to admit. In my 20s I tried to twist and conform to become less, well, me. But, it was like a lioness trying to become a kitty cat. I finally decided that I simply couldn’t make myself smaller for others to feel bigger – not even for the sake of love.
My plan was to wait patiently for that some awesome Black man to look at me through accepting eyes and embrace me flaws and all. Ultimately, isn’t that what we all really want from love – to feel it unconditionally? Sigh…Dare I say, I’m still waiting.
NAKED TRUTH ALERT: I often wonder if Black men understand how much it hurts to be so harshly rejected by the one sect of people that are genetically and socially engineered to share our fate. I’m always amazed when a man who has told me that I’m too fat gets offended when a woman tells him he is too short. It’s confusing when the same man who rebuffed a woman for having a flat derriere seems mortally wounded when a women refuses him because of his, err…shoe size.
I’ve noticed that men feel completely justified with the physical requirements they have for a mate. But a woman with financial requirements is labeled a “gold digger.” I get it. Men are visual. However, women are emotional and financial security speaks to that fact. It just feels like Black women are required to do all the accepting and receive none of the acceptance. Quite frankly, this whole double standard thing is beyond my comprehension.
Now I’m sure many folks reading this post would love to say that the problem isn’t with Black men, it’s me. And up until three years ago, I might have even agreed with them. But, that was until I started to entertain men from other cultures. Those guys found my opinions refreshing and referred to my assertive personality as “spicy.” They especially seemed to embrace the extra giggle in my wiggle. (Smiles) For the first time in years, I felt totally empowered to be 100-percent myself without apologizing for being too “something.”
At first I really did feel guilty over all of this. I was taught to stand by Black men no matter what, and to be their support and balance when times are most d. I was determined to be loyal, even though I it was clear that reciprocated loyalty from Black men came with conditions. At some point, I had to realize that my behavior was the definition of insanity, yet I was expecting different results.
It was around that time that I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself. I decided to cast a winning ballot in favor of my own happiness. I’ve decided to be open to love the man who can love me without conditions or constraints – even if it isn’t a Black man.
Fellas, I will make you a deal: I won’t judge your wallet if you don’t judge my waistline. At the end of the day, I’m not interested in a man that will love me in spite of my flaws, but a man who will adore me because of them. BAM! I wish I had some theme music right now.
NOTE: For the record, when I say “Black men” I’m specifically talking about African-American men. My experience with other Black cultures has been different.
Jai Stone – The Emotional Nudist
Jai Stone is a socialpreneur, author, syndicated blogger and the founder of the Emotional Nudity Lifestyle Brand. Jai writes about love, life and the pursuit of authentic joy. Follow her on Twitter @JaiStone or visit her blog.
This post was also syndicated to The Root and Madame Noir among other websites across the web.