Monday, January 30, 2006

i'm ready to love me.

i was inspired to post this after reading will's post today concerning his trepidations about falling in love. i posted something similar a while back, but find myself revisiting the subject because 2006 has already proven to be a year clustered with epiphanic moments assaulting my mind with monumental decisions i'm too afraid to make.

i have also suffered from the malady of 'holding back for the sake of preserving myself'. i'm the sista who will want love but not all the hurt that goes with leaving myself bare and exposed, totally willing to trust a brotha with my heart. i've tried. i really have. i thought i had gotten it right this last time, but i realize now i was motivated by a combination of guilt, the vision of the dwindling years before me and the pressures put on me by family to settle down and get with child. in other words, i got caught up in everything outside of myself. i thought at my age, settling down was just the natural progression, cuz society says that a woman who isn't settled by the age of 32 is setting herself up to be that sista who goes to visit other folk with their families before she heads back home to her home to cuddle her pet whatever and lament about what she's too old to have cuz her window of opportunity closed. i got tired of hearing my mom telling me "you're not getting any younger, you know!" i got tired of listening to my female relatives speculate about whether or not nikki would ever settle down because she's "just too set in her ways and independent for her own good."

watching television, a sista can't help but notice how shows depict single females as being little more than desperate retrievers searching for a happiness in life that can only be found in the arms of a man. if she's not looking for a man, it's only cuz she just broke up with someone who broke her heart and she's too embittered to make moves. i don't see women on television who are happy with being single. women who love their lives and are confident of their accomplishments and are content with simply doing their thing.

every series-ending episode that has a female lead usually ends with her marrying the love of her life after spending the previous five or six years of the series going through the pitfalls of dating. it's that happily ever after ending that signifies the epitome of contentment, of everything being 'just right', of her no longer having to deal with all the cheap dates, over-sexed dates, under-performing dates, self-absorbed dates, etc., that she had to go through before she finally found 'the one'.

now i know that kind of shit makes for funny television, but i gotta wonder what message that sends to the females out there, single or not. it's telling me that single life, while funny, is but one phase of life and that the next phase, the really happy phase, begins when a sista gets married. the really fulfilling part, the part that you'll think back on fondly when you're sitting in your rocking chair knitting an afgan for your second grandchild's first son, is the time that occurred after you got married. all the accomplishments, the college degree, the first apartment you got after you moved out of your parent's house, the first car you purchased after saving for months for a downpayment, the first promotion, the trips you might have taken to exotic locations on your own, all that shit is but a diaphanous memory dulled against the light of the bright, techni-colored photographs of the moments you experienced after you 'settled down' to the business of living life, i.e. fall in love, get married and get the kids.

i've got a friend who's mom is more concerned with her getting married than she is with her daughter being happy with herself. and her mom's not the only one out there thinking like that. any single sista who checked out the movie 'waiting to exhale' remembers the scene when savannah had to basically cuss out her moms cuz moms was actually suggesting savannah get with a married man, just because he was showing savannah a little attention. her mom had tied savannah's happiness to the retrieval of a man, even if he happened to have someone else's name and address engraved into his doggie collar. i remember checking that scene and nodding my head fiercely, feeling that moment as if it had been my own. shit, it HAD been my own, only my mom spent her time trying to convince me that i would be an idiot to let go of a 'good man' because they're so fucking hard to find.

so i say all this because it's not just about me finding the kind of love that will make me willing to give all of myself. it's also about me finding contentment with just doing me, finding completion within myself, so that any brotha who steps inside my space is an addendum, meant to compliment what i already got, not a necessity i must have in order for my life to be worthy of living. there are plenty of good brothas out there. we sistas gotta stop buying into the hype that we gotta settle just cuz the brotha ain't dogging us out. just because he's everything everyone else says we should want in a mate doesn't mean we have to be with him.

but even before all that, we gotta find happiness with ourselves and our lives. find fulfillment in the things we do as individuals, hang out with ourselves and enjoy our own fucking company. only then will we really be ready to give it all when the right brotha steps up.

so that's where i am right now. i gotta get me straight right now. i'm gonna fall in love with myself again and take photos of the courtship so that the next time i find myself in this phase, i don't forget the perfect lover i had before he came into my life. then i won't be afraid to give him all of me because if he bounces, i've still got my perfect lover right there to help me pick up and move on.

i gotta experience life by myself for a while, and i gotta convince myself that even if i never meet 'the one', i still found happiness and purpose with my life.

cuz that's the life that many sistas are living right now and it shouldn't be seen as a consolation prize.