For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

Archive for January 2011

The Gender Roles of Yester-Year

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September 1, 2010 marked my 32nd birthday. 32 years of being blessed, and able bodied to walk the face of this earth and accomplish many great things (in which I have).

I’ve served in the military for 10 years, I’m a supervisor at my current place of employment, I pay my own bills, enrolled in school full-time, a clean bill of health, financially stable. I would say I have more than most whom wish they where walking in my shoes.

But for some strange unexplainable reasons, I’m single! 0_o?

So many black women like myself are experiencing the same dilemma. We have all the chips in place (good job, education, financial stability, business and home owners, clean, well-kept, attractive and godly in most instances) yet we’re experiencing great difficulty wearing the title “Mrs”.

No husband, no children, just me, myself and I. Now, before I go out and purchase a ‘cat lady’ starter kit from the local ASPCA, I decided that it was time I do some self-evaluation; because I can only blame the media and society for what’s wrong with “me” as an individual for so long.  But I needed to get to the root of my own personal issues and find out why I and the many women like myself have yet to wed; as well as what I can do to change these ‘issues’ to make myself available for marriage.I know marriage is not the know all, end all to happiness; I’m going to be honest if a woman is not happy with herself, then she won’t be happy with man. But I’m lonely! And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

“Things are not the Same as When Mom‘s and Pop’s Hopped the Broom”

I keep hearing all this talk about how marriage was ‘back in the day’; and how when folks got married they married for better for worst. assuming that generations past took their wedding vows more serious than that of people to date. This may be true for many people, but something that I’ve personally find with many people in my life who’re married is that the family dynamics of today is not the same as it was 50 years past. In those days; men where the bread winners,  plain and simple. They went to work (mostly labor jobs), worked hard, bought home the bacon and assumed the role as head of the household. 

Daughters were taught how to be women. Most of us who grew up in my mothers day learned how to cook and clean, how to rear children and the importance of caring for a family. And they were taught find a man who could provide for them and their children.

Young men were groomed to be providers. Responsible community leaders, educated wise men who worked hard, and where self-reliant. Women knew their roles and men knew theirs. And there was very little to no ‘bluring’ between the lines.

Many would say the Feminist movement shattered these gender (exceptions) roles and have endanger the sanctity of the institute of marriage. I’ve heard many from the older generation state that Feminist have single-handedly ’emasculated’ men and have remade them into the more ‘kinder-genteler’ verson of  what constitutes a man. Givinf women and unfair advantage over men in work-force advancement, education and darn near domination in the house-hold, in politics and society.

You chose which ever you feel is correct, but I personally wondered what was so different about the teachings of yester day vs. today.

Daughters don’t really play with dolls any more….

I personally was taught as a young girl was taught what I call the 5 G’s:

Both my mother and my father taught me that my primary goals in life as a black woman was to become further educated! They stayed on  my back side about my grades, my mother was order by my father to sit down with me for at least two hours a night to go over my homework, ensure I understood the materials and passed my test. My father checked my grades, and if I had below a C+ (and that was if he was in a good mood) that was my ass. No if, ands, or ‘butts’ about it. I did my work, I par-took in extra curricular active that ensured I was not getting involved with the wrong crowd, and that would pave a way to college. We had no money, and my father knew that education was key to me becoming stable later on in life. He himself admitted that it would be a strong possibility that I would either be an unwed mother, or I would be single with no children. And he knew that I was going to need skills and training that would assist with me providing a decent living for myself. Because he didn’t want to see me on the streets selling myself, stripping on someone’s pole (literally) or becoming a ‘gold digger’. And he was the same way with my younger sister and brothers. His biggest saying was ‘Keep your legs and mouth closed, and keep your eyes and ears open’. Meaning stay off your back and learn the things you need to learn in life by listening in school and getting an education.

Now, I’m 32 years of age, working towards my bachelors, with several military/civilian equivalent certifications, employed as a computer analyst and no husband and/or children.

Most black women, hell most women in general that I know personally have received the same lessons in life. I wouldn’t say that feminist are the cause of this hard-knocks approach to life; but I honestly feel that women and men from my mother and fathers generation saw how difficult it is for a woman to raise a child(ren) on her own. Especially if she has very little to no education, work force experience and/or certifications/degrees. My father was raised by his mother; and my mother was raised by her mother. Both had alcoholic and abusive fathers, and were forced to live in dysfunctional homes. And their mothers had no money, worked odd jobs and barely scraped by. Both agreed that they didn’t want to see my sister and I suffer the same fate.

This positive reinforcement of encouragement has become my curse. Because now when I meet a man, I can’t tell him what I do, where or who I work for, how much money I make, or what I own, because if I do; I’m most defiantly casted into this generalized (stereotypical) category of being an ‘overly independent’ black woman. Most men who meet me feel they have nothing to offer me, so it’s a waste of time even trying to talk to me. Granted, (and this is not to say I have a chip on my shoulder) many of the men I do talk to may not have the same level of education, or training and work experience as myself. Thus I thinks issues within themselves would surface if they where to become involved with me (issues with man-hood and self-esteem)  Some may fear that I would seek to dominate him and wear the pants in the relationship as well. Lets be honest, some women who have a little something going for themselves do act this way. And they make it bad for those of us who are just searching for someone to share our lives with. But what I own, where I work or what degree’s a I posses has nothing to do with who I am as a woman. It doesn’t mean that I’m so career and success driven that I my longings for a man and his company are now null and void. Please my brotha’s, keep in mind that I make my money, my money doesn’t make me.

The Sowing of the Oats….

Even though my brothers, sister and I were taught to become further educated, and make something of ourselves in life. The lessons we learned in love where a little different. My sister and I were told to stay celibate and wait till marriage to find a ‘godly’ man and have before having sex. Were as my brothers were pretty much given a free fvck pass. They where not only taught, but strongly encouraged by my father to become sexually promiscuous with as many women as their hearts desire. He instilled in them, this destroy and conquer type of attitude that was accompanied with slight level of arrogance. They were told to never let their guards down and allow a woman to break them down (they’re men, and they should act and treated as such); never turn their backs on their bro’s for a hoe, and to never get serious about one woman until they’re about 50 years old (maybe later). They were told that as men, there was no need for them to settle down and start a family unless they’d traveled the world and experienced many women. My father would tell the stories of his sexual conquest to my brothers and males in company, as he allowed them to sip bear and flip through nudy magazines. It was a right of passage for the men in my family become indoctrinated into a misogynistic mind-set.

Which later lead to many failed relationships with good women, a baby mama of four, and the same battles with infidelity that my father and his brothers suffered. My brothers (both blood and friend alike) find it difficult to stay faithfully committed to one woman, because they’ve been taught for so long that it’s not in a mans nature to do so. Thus, they get married and soon end up divorced, paying alimony and child support. You’ll see these same men in their late 40’s to early 60’s; up in the club wearing a 3 piece suit and wing-tipped shoes looking for a young thang to keep them warm at night.

I’ve met many men who suffer from an inflated sense of their own worth. Feeling that they’ve yet to meet a woman who was worthy of them asking for their hand in marriage. As a friend in another blog put it

“It’s not that they’ve never met a woman who was unworthy of their hand in marriage, it’s that the brotha either strayed away looking for the next ‘bigger and better thing’ around the corner or they had such high standards that good women where unable to meet them.”

So many men have watched the whole parade of women walk by waiting for his chance at Mrs. America. Leaving a trail of broken hearts in the wake of this destruction, because he feels that he’ll someday meet Kim Kardashian or Beyoncé, and it will be love at first sight. And let’s be real (not all) but some brothers just have some serious issues in relationships. They’re bitter, suffer from the Angry Black man syndrome (the man is always out to get them), have issues with mama, racist, color struck (only date, marry, or have kids with a specific color of woman), and insecure. The same could be said for some women (we’re not to be left out). Any time men refuse to examine themselves and what they do wrong, it’s always linked back to ALL women as if they’ve met and know us all personally.

This is where ‘we’ women are all clumped into one category, shoved in a box labeled ‘same’ and left single. Even those of us who do play the traditional female roles (seek to be stay at home mothers, and want to be kept by a man) still have problems moving past the preconceived notions of modern woman over all.

If you’re edcuated, hold your own, and have something to bring to the table; you’re ‘too independant’, manly, and will seek to wear the pants in the relationship or marriage.

If you’re submissive, docile, what most would considered ‘feminine’ and play the traditioal role; you run the risk of being run over and  cheated on with the ‘bad girls’ who’re ‘too independent’.

If you’re the inbetween mixuter of the two, you still will possibly be single or experience many failed relationships; because you may possibly cross paths with men who’ve yet to finish sowing thier oats.

Honestly ladies, we’re damed if we do and damed if we don’t……..


Team Work Makes the Dream Work (Marriage is a Partnership, not a Dictatorship).

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I sometimes wonder what happens in someone’s relationship/marriage that caused it to come to an abrupt end. I see so many people around me happy go lucky one second in their lives and relationships/marriage; only to find out later they’ve filled for a separation and/or divorce. What’s so interesting to me, is when you open those ‘flood gates‘ of emotions by asking the opposing parties ‘what happened’? You get a variant of responses. Granted, each response will be based upon individual perception (and you’ll probably never really know what took place). But you find that its always the other persons fault 0_o? The individual speaking to you about the break up is alway’s innocent, never did anything wrong and never played a part in contributing to the dysfunction that lead to them going their separate ways.

“She wouldn’t cook and clean!!” one guy shouted to me as his whole mood changed from happy to psychotic.

“He would never give me time to myself” she stated as she boxed her ‘ex-mans’ stuff up in a box.

Both these people, was able to state any and everything they saw wrong with their signficant other, but the tone changed when I asked

“And what did you do?”

My grandmother (being the wise woman she was) told me that for every action there is a reaction. And when you care more about what makes you happy and completely disregard your partners needs, there will always be issues within that relationship/marriage. And in most cases it won’t work.

My guy friend didn’t understand that his ex wife didn’t have time to cook and clean the way he felt she should have, because he felt that her specific duties included devoting more of her time to him. Never mind the fact that they had children; he felt that it was her duty as a wife to give him sex when he ‘needed’ it. His excuses was that men love sex, and that the next woman he finds will understand (and agree) to that Yet, he’s never getting married again, he just wants a steady ‘common-law wife’. He complained about her ‘muffin top’ that magically appeared after having their children, and how she wasn’t working hard enough to work it off. He complained that the house was never cleaned properly, because every time he came home there was toys in the walkway’s and sticky stuff on the kitchen floor.

“How hard is it to cook a decent meal, keep the house clean and watch after the kids? I mean, its not like she has a job! All she does is sit on her fat ass watch soaps all day”.

Now, when you talk to his ex-wife, her story is a little different. She felt that he never did his fare share around the house to help out with the kids and keep the house clean. She felt that her sexual ‘rations’ where good enough to tie him over until later that night when the kids fall asleep. To her, as long as he was getting sex twice a day, that should have been good enough, because some men don’t even get that. She felt that she was feeling so much pressure to lose the baby weight, that it was becoming difficult for her to find the time and courage to get in the gym and work the weight off. He was constantly putting her down over how much weight that she’d gained after giving birth, that in stead of running on the treadmill he’d purchased for her birthday, she would eat ice-cream and cry. She tried keeping the house in order, but it was difficult to keep up with the kids, clean the house, cook a meal and still be sexy for him when he comes home.

“I’m being pulled in so many different directions now! I don’t know how to be a perfect mother, a good looking perfect wife and maintain a perfect house”

Even though I was regretting the fact that I even intervened in this lovers quarrel, I had to lend my 2 cents to both parties in regards to what I saw was wrong (from an outsiders perspective).

1. In stead of him complaining about the fact that she’d gained weight and hadn’t lost it after 3 years; he should have been supportive enough to be that encouragement she needed to get back in shape. If he was willing to spend $2,000.oo on a top notch treadmill, the least he could do was get on it once in a while himself to encourage her to do so, or pay for a memeber ship to a gym where they could work out together. Putting a woman down over weight she’s gained doesn’t help her lose the weight. It does one of two things

A. Makes her hate herself and completely destroy’s her self-esteem and confidence. Leaving her paranoid that she’ll be dumped for a smaller, younger, more beautiful looking woman (which could also drive her crazy).

B. Make her seek comfort in food. She’ll eat more and work out less; becoming completely withdrawn within herself, because she now realizes that her boyfriend/fiances/husband no longer finds her attractive.


C. She could just leave and take the kids, since that is in many ways verbal abuse. Call someone Jabba the Hut, and Thunder-Tighs it not the what I personally would call ‘motivation’.

2. Instead of him complaining about the house not being clean, find a choir that he could do when he got home that would assist with taking care of the kids and keeping the house clean. He could start out with something simple as taking out the trash, washing the dishes after dinner, or getting the kids their bath/insuring they brush their teeth and tucking them in for the night. Even if he feels the ‘sticky stuff’ under his feet when entering the kitchen, he could also pick up a broom and mop and clean the floor once the day is over. This way she not only feels appreciated by the help she’s receiving from him, but she’ll feel as if her man loves and appreciates her enough to get on his hands dirty with housework. Thus, that’s one less choir she has to do, which saves more energy for sex later on that night. He could even go so far as to take a day off from work and help her around the house, or send the kids to their grandparents so they could have the house to themselves.

3. In stead of her trying to break her back being the ‘perfect wife/mother’ she should have been more concerned with being who she was as a person and doing the best she could to hold down the home-front. NO woman is perfect! No woman will be able to care for children who’re in between the ages of 2 and 3, while being in perfect shape, cooking the perfect meals and doing the right thing all the time, every time. She (and he) both needs to understand that being a mother is a full time job and can be both tiring and rewarding. If he had a problem with her weight, start trying to cook meals and find ways to cut back on the caloric intake and lose it. And she should have looked at it as losing weight to become more healthy and happy with herself, not just trying to lose weight to look sexy in a Teddy. This is a perk, but getting in shape requires healthy eating habits and a healthy self-image.

4. She should have created a daily schedule or routine for herself that would assist with becoming more organized and effective in her daily tasking. She could have designated an area in the house that was strictly for play for the kids; that would be sectioned off from the rest of the  house. Feed the kids snacks at a set time (getting them on a routine) so that there’s not a mess when ever her soon to be ex-husband would come home. By that time he gets there, the house would be clean (less the kids play area), dinner would be cooked and ready and they could sit down as a family to eat. Thus, the husband do his part by possibly washing the dishes and getting the kids ready for bed while she ‘freshen up’ if you know what I mean.

Most importantly, they both should have been woman and man enough to talk about their problems and finding solutions. When two people come together as one, they’re saying that they’re willing to work on their differences and finding ways to compromise in order to make things work. But I’m finding that most people of today have no  idea what it takes to get married and stay married (nor do they care too).

Breaking up, separating/divorcing does noting to solve the problem, if the individual is unwilling to acknowledge problems within themselves and work on them. The same ‘bags’ you had in that marriage will be carried over into the next marriage if you’re not careful.

Please, Leave the Bags Where They Belong (In the Past)

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“It takes a strong woman, to deal with an emotionally weak man…..” Ms. Lillie May Harris (R.I.P)

I think it was about a year ago when one of my ‘constitutes’ and I happened to cross paths with a woman he’d known for quite some time. she was a cute woman, mild mannered and from what I could tell had a very sweat personality. Well, I wasn’t paying to much attention to what she and my friend where talking about, until I noticed that her whole demeanor changed when this other woman walked into the bar we where drinking at. She seemed as if she was angry and ready to fight upon the sight of this woman; but her attitude shifted from ‘ready to rumble‘ to shaking, crying and blowing snot bubbles.   Curious, I asked her what was wrong; because I hadn’t really heard the whole conversation; and she explained to me that she and the woman who’d just walked through the door where no longer friends, and that she’d also owed her $200.00. From what I’d gathered (based on what was intelligible between the huffing and puffing) she and this woman was at one time close friends and room mates; but things soon changed when a ‘man’ came into the picture.

See, the young woman sitting with us was at the time  ‘dating’ this one guy that both she and her former friend had a crush on. She was un-aware (based on what she told us) that her friend also liked the guy; prior to the two of them becoming involved. Now, when the young woman’s friend (the woman who’d just entered the bar) found out that the she and this guy where now an item, she not only refused to pay her the $200.00 she owed, but she moved out of the house they where renting, leaving her with all the bills.

Yea, sounds like the storyline for a premier move on The Life Time channel.

By this time, the young man in question walks up and starts to talk with my constitute; because they all know one another for way back. But the killing part about this whole debacle is not the fact that this woman whom I hardly knew was crying on my shoulder, but the fact that this dude is bragging about how he’d split up two best friends. It tickled his funny bone to know that he’d told ‘sweet nothings’ to one girl (the woman who’d just walked in) promising her that he cared deeply for her in an attempt to get some @$$, even though he was not attracted too her, all while sneaking and creeping with her best friend. Not only that, but he starts bragging about how the girl blowing the snot bubbles was better in bed and that he was only with her for the sex (going into explicit detail).

Now, any woman who’d heard such a sleazeball tell such a story would be ready to go off and give him a piece of her mind. But I wanted to take a different approach to the situation. I wanted to find out why he felt it was cool to play these two women against one another (no matter how gullible they may be). This guy goes into this story about how when was in high school; he had his heart broken by this one girl who cheated on him with a close friend. He stated that from that day forward he’d made a promise to himself that any woman who crossed his path would never get his love, affection and attention; based on what he’d felt after breaking up with this young woman. OVER 10 years prior to this incident. By this time I’m about ready to tell him to take a long walk on a short pier; but I allowed his arrogance to continue the conversation. Hoping that he would hear how silly he sound. He stated that he has no real ‘love’ for women, and that (no thanks to ol girl from 10 years ago) when it comes to relationships, he feels no need to engage in one much less waste time entertaining any woman seeking one. Thus, he tells women what they wanna hear, so that they’ll give him what he wants (sex, money, gifts, food, etc) and he keeps moving.

The conversation I had with him was no different than conversations I’d had with other men, from various background,  from a variant of social/economical classes and within the hues of numerous skin variations. And one thing that most of these men had in common with being womanizers was the fact that almost all of them had some woman in their past break their hearts. This cause for mistreatment lead to an effect of breaking the hearts of any woman who dare show him affection and ask for it in return. This is what I (as well as many social-psychotherapist) call ‘Emotional Baggage’.

When people hear this term, or any terms that involved the word ’emotional’ they automatically think women or ‘females’. There’s this common misconception that only women carry these ‘bags’ based on past abusive relationships , the lack of a father figure (or an abusive father), or low-self esteem. And to be honest, these ideas and opinions are actually issues that contribution to the emotional and/or psychological dysfunction of some women. But what I mean when I say ‘misconception‘ is that these same people mistakenly assume that men do not carry ‘bags’. They think that because most men internalize a lot of their past hurt and anger, they’ve somehow majestically over come the transgressions of others and have moved on (never looking back or reflection upon what happened). This is due to this ‘idea’ that men are supposed to be tough and suck it up, internalizing all emotions and keep on trucking. And they do internalize hurt, which in most cases leads to them carrying on in such a manner as a means of finding an outlet for the pinned up aggressions. Well, its been my experience that this couldn’t be any further from the truth. And my interaction with this man (and many other men) proved other wise.

he expalined to me that he would never get ‘caught’ like that again. And that it was his persoanlly mission to get back at EVERY woman possible to make him feel better about what this ‘ghost of girlfriends past’ had done to him.

“I love it, its gives me pleasure to know that I’m hurting someone the same way I was hurt by that b!tch! And you can get it too if you’re not careful….” He replied. Knocking his beer back while winking his eye at me.

I had to assure him that men who suffer from past trauma are not my type for starters and two, I would have to be a fool to fall for him after he disclosed such a ‘brilliant plan’ for the rest of his life. Fools who rush into such non-sense have a lack of understanding in a few things:

A. No two women are the same: We may have wants, needs and desires that are parallel, but we’re not the same person.  These two women had nothing to do wit the woman from his past, so they where unsuspecting of the fact that they’re being made to answer for someone else actions. Men who see all women with the same pare of goggles (this goes for women as well) are the men who’re unable to let go of what happened to them with one woman (or many women). They refuse to take responsibility for what wrong they may have carried out while dating/engaged/married by finding any way possible to conveniently link all faults and problems back to the woman.Thus, they associate all of her negatives to every woman whom seeks to engage in a relationship with him.

B. Making any new women ‘pay’ does nothing to change the past; it only alters their future with a potential mate: While these men are doing any and everything they can to ‘get her’ before she ‘gets him’; they can’t grasp the concept that living in the past only blocks them from finding a virtuous woman in their future, the woman who just may be the one who can assist him in forgetting about the woman who hurt him. But, because he’s so busy trying to play the ‘Big Pay Back’ in his broken record of life, he’s trapped in between a world from his past, and the present. And in doing so he’s not allowing himself to move on from her, because he keeps reliving what he endured with her every time he hurts someone new.

And this is what I don’t get about people who make ‘good folk’ pay for the actions of  those who’re ‘bad’ by our definition. While you’re so busying trying to ruin everyone you come in contact with based on what happened to you while you where in high school or playing college ball, you keep traveling within these revolving doors of misery. Constantly reflection on how the $h!t went down vs. just learning the lessons you where suppose to learn from that person and letting go. Folks never realize that they’re giving power to those individuals who’ve possibly completely forgotten all about them. The time an energy SOME OF YOU GUYS waste on miss-using and abusing women (because someone did that to you) could be used towards building a better you. Meaning you learning how to communicate better with women/men, reflecting on what positive traits you’re seeking in the next girlfriend/boyfriend and learning from the mistakes you made when you where with the one who got away. Hurting innocent people (emotionally, psychologically, mental or physical)  does nothing to change the past. You’re probably the last thing on these peoples mind when they go to bed at night, yet YOU (the foolish one) becomes c0nsumed with thinking about this people every day.

C. How to Let GO!: News flash, you’re not the only one in this world who’s had their heart broken. The majority of the adult population at some point in time in thier lives have experienced heart break. And your situation is no more different than anyone else. What ever you went through with the one who broke your heart is possibly the same things someone else had endured with a past lover, and has moved on. We’ve all been there and done that!

D. What Goes around Comes back Around: You reap what you sow. And if you’re intentionally causing  ill will towards someone else, you will get that $h!t back worse than what you gave it. And trust me when I say I’ve not only had it happened to me, but I’ve seen it happen to other people in my life. Thus the saying ‘Do unto others as you would have done onto you’. You can desire with every fiber of your being to get back at someone, but I’ve found that the best revenge for anyone who’s hurt you is to do nothing at all. We as living, breathing beings have two friends, and their names are Karma and Fate. And when ever someone hurts you, steels from you, or tries to break your pride, they selfishly seal their faith with Karma to have someone do the same to them. These folks always find someone who’s just as mean-spirited, bitter, and resentful as themselves (and sometimes worse). And they end up eating a huge helping of humble pie in the process. This is why I’ve learned to let folks go when they walk out of my life. Let them go and find what ever it is they (think) they’re looking for; they’ll  find it, but it won’t be what they thought it was. My grandmother use to say,

“The grass is always greener on the other side, until you find out what it takes to fertilize it”.

I asked this young man if he’d seen or talked to this infamous woman that he’s yet to get over at almost 35 years of age. He’d replied that they’re ran into one another a while back, and that she was now married with kids. In which I had to point out to him that she’d moved on with her life (possibly had her heart broken a time or two) and is now settled down with someone who’s accepts and loves her. I wanted him to understand that he too could have that if he so desired; but he would have to give love a chance, AGAIN. He was going to have to stop dumping his ‘garbage’ on every new woman’s door step.

The two women who where fighting over him finally got smart and moved on. And from what I’ve been told, he’s still single, still using women, and still carrying them bags. Some folks never learn, until they find themselves alone in an old folks home.