It’s not everyday that I view your presence, acknowledge it, and revel in it before another distraction comes and knocks my sight off focus. See, the idiot box, glamazines, and billboards don’t make it easy.
The radio shows don’t either. And the movies? Please. Even movies made by our Black men doesn’t portray your fully human splendor.
I understand why. Images promoting you as anything but a monolith don’t sell.
You gotta be sexy and curvy. But ill-mannered.
You gotta be career-driven. But family starved.
You gotta be a victim. And need a Hill Harper, er, Donald to save you.
The cliché becomes fatigued, but profitable. Why does the most popular Black auteur of our generation have an angry Black woman archetype in all his movies? See, it’s not completely his fault. Well it is, but it isn’t.
The savior in this matrix is always a “he.” Or “He.” Which is cool, if that floats your boat. But understand that the mere presence of a “he” implies a “she.” Twins of the same divine energy.
I can’t let you get lost in that shuffle. Not this moment.
You’re not perfect. Far from it. You’re difficult to deal with. You’re just as affected by this skewed perception of masculine dominance, too. In your quest to find that masculine figure, you have high standards inadvertently placing that guy on a pedestal.
Kevin Hart said it in “Seriously Funny,” but it slipped over the audience in the midst of the laughter. Maybe it didn’t. Perhaps the audience, by way of its deep guffaws, implicitly consented. Either way, it’s a profound truth that’s buried into the depths of our social interactions.
The need for a patriarchal lord over your accomplishments seems to be society’s mantra. You have the money, the bennies, but no man. So you’re a failure. As for a man, if his woman is making more than him or overseeing the household budget, he’s subpar.
If you clap your hands every time you hear bollocks like this, you’ll die from arthritis in record time. But, for this piece, this space, we’ll create a world where we’ll acknowledge the feminine and masculine energy inside both of us. A world where forces can combine to create sums unimaginable. A world where you can derive your self-worth through fulfilling your God-given purpose and not the Sergey Brins. Or Joe Schmoes. A world where you don’t have to feel the pull to conform to standards of beauty that are injurious to your health, self-esteem or spirit.
Rock your hair, au naturel or not. Flaunt it. Individualize your appearance while wowing your peers in that board meeting. Watch football on Sundays with your man. And if you want, even cut the grass and shoot paintball with the boys.
No box has the dimensions to contain you.
A world like this isn’t exactly created from scratch. Memory serves me well because I have seen you at your best, Black Woman. Your example has shined up close since since inception. Well before then, but since I only can remember the last 25 years, we’ll go with birth.
I’ve also seen you at your worse. You are not complete victims. Sometimes, oft times, you are the arch nemesis in your own saga. The anger you feel from not being heard or understood or regarded is malleable; in other words, it’s energy. The beautiful thing about energy is its ease of conversion. Who else to perform alchemy other than the one who, as Zora Neale Hurston said, bears the brunt of the world’s pains?
Seeing you do your thing in the office, house, community organizations, churches and schools, surprises no one. If it did, so much wouldn’t be done to keep you encased under the ceiling. For it’s obvious when nature takes its course, life comes through the woman.
For all the fly melanated women who realize this, I salute you. For those who don’t, I believe in your essence. If the blinders keep you from assuming your role, know that this writer appreciates everything you could be. Even if it never happens.