Thursday, November 5, 2009

"How Rude!"

So, I was reading this post at Black and Married With Kids by Tara Pringle Jefferson. She was discussing the new song by Usher, "Papers." She is not feeling it.

I concur.

We are taught at a very early age not to "air our dirty laundry." If mama and daddy have a disagreement, well that stays in the house. If daddy forgets to pay the light bill, you don't tell your friends about "candle night."

You just don't do it.

It surprises me that as we get older, we seem to forget this rule. I'm not saying you need to be disingenuous or pretend to be happy when you're not. I'm just saying that there are some details about a relationship that should stay between those two people - divorce or not. I know we, women, have a tendency to want to tell EVERYTHING to our girlfriends. It's just not a good idea, for some reasons that are based in suspicion, but also for reasons that have more to do with intimacy - something extremely important to any relationship in my opinion.

For me, it's only sharing certain things with my husband. There are things that only he and I know - significant and insignificant. Jokes that we laugh about, lines in movies that are funny or romantic for reasons only we know, even phrases from e-mails or conversations we've had that have special meanings. Those things create that feeling of closeness and intimacy.

Even the bad times. There are arguments, certain situations, or songs that remind us of when we've struggled through something. For example, "Ben," may mean little to you, but it is connected with a particularly sad and troubling time we went through. It is not a happy memory, but I am reminded of how we pulled through that time together, and in that moment, I feel particularly close to him.

Maybe "Papers" is therapeutic for Usher. I think it's disrespectful. His divorce should be between he and his ex-wife. Maybe she was manipulative, maybe she was controlling, maybe she was Cruella DiVille.

But he picked her.

He mentions how his mother turned away from him, how all these negative things happened as a result of that union. But that was his choice. He married her when she already had a brood of children, married her knowing she was older, married her knowing his mother opposed it. THEN got her pregnant. THEN got her pregnant again. All these choices, he made. No one to blame but himself.

But even if he blames her, he should do it quietly. And privately. Not just because it's tacky as all get out. But because she deserves to have all of the moments they shared REMAIN private. Because he has children with this woman, and he should consider how they might feel hearing this song when they're older. He should consider her children - the children he chose when he chose her and how this very public break-up might be affecting them.

It's not even a good song. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How Rude!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Enough Said!

One of the things I really enjoy are discussions about social issues. Things that really have no definitive answer, just different perspectives. Some of these articles really inspire me to write about my own feelings. But I never do. Besides, sometimes someone can say exactly what you want to say, and when that happens, I feel no need to repeat.

I was reading an article titled "Why are Successful Black Women... Single? A Black Man's Perspective." Now, I can understand some of the points he raises, but I also have a different perspective. Ironically, this same day, I noticed a number of FB friends making comments about waiting to get married because they don't want to try to "live their youth while they have kids," or other general anti- young parent, young husband/wife statements that I see often. My first issue is that what works for me may not work you for and vice versa. It doesn't mean either way is any better. But I also believe that part of the women so many successful black women are single is because they refuse to acknowledge that a different perspective may be viable. Such as this one, from the commenter Mocha Mom:

First of all, I agree with the fact that the definition of “success” is flawed. Having a degree and a “good” job, does not make you more “successful” than someone else. In fact, I would argue that this attitude is the beginning of a lot of the problems. But I think the problem also stems from black women having unreasonable expectations. It’s one thing to have standards, by all means PLEASE have standards, but a LOT of women get ridiculous with it. He has to be fine, a certain height, a certain skin tone, have the perfect body, wear particular kinds of clothes, drive a specific car, make X amount of dollars (to name a few)…even if YOU dont possess all those qualities or have those things.

I also think some of it has to do with black women adopting white womens idea of “not settling”, which is TRULY detrimental, because as studies show, more of those chicks are MARRIED than black women are. We know (at least some of us), and should learn to appreciate the obstacles black men face (see: Willie Lynch Letter, and Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys) when it comes to education and work. Im not saying that black men shouldnt own and take responsibility for pursuing an education and finding work suitable to take care of the families they help create (no excuses!), but we must also remember the systems that are in place to keep them out of institutions of higher education and workplaces (again, see Willie Lynch).

Black women have also bought into the “myths” that you have to live so much life after college before you can get married. You’ve been sold a bill of goods! What most of these black women dont realize or choose to acknowledge is that met your husband in college, but he wasnt on the football or basketball team, maybe was a little quirky or nerdy, didnt have a car, maybe his shoes were a little dirty and he wasnt “fitted” all the time, but he loved you and YOU weren’t ready for it. The reality is, had you stayed with him while he was in school working on that engineering, finance, computer information systems degree, Susie Q and Betty Boop wouldn’t have stood a chance, and she wouldn’t be living what is SUPPOSED to be YOUR life!

There’s also a lot of young women who, because of the corporate environment they worked so hard to get into, have become hardened and callous in ways that they dont even realize, which is NOT conducive to being in a relationship. Nobody wants to deal with the “bitch” you have to be at work to get ahead, but you don’t learn how to turn off when you come home.

Lastly, having a successful relationship or marriage has NOTHING to do with education, combined income, how many cars you have, or how much money you have in the bank. Black women really need to reevaluate whats important, because if they don’t, these rates will stay the same, or get worse. Im THANKFUL I didnt “buy in”, cause at 30, im 6 years deep in the marriage “game!