Two old pictures of me and my mom side by side. It has been this way since my birth. Choosing to attend a university away from home initiated my first major attempt to escape my mother’s suffocation. Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my mother and our closeness. We talk daily. Oddly enough, we don’t see each other every day, but we can literally feel each other’s presence. She occupies the downstairs unit of our two-family home. I purchased it in July ’98 and she’s been here since ’99/’00. You do the math! LOL! It has been the two of us…together through EVERYTHING!
I have always admired my mother’s beauty, work ethic, parenting and sacrifice. There’s just ONE THING that I wish she had found: TRUE LOVE! I have listened to her scare tactics about men since first or second grade! LOL! She taught me to marry before having sex. She compared the vagina to a cake (Rihanna owes her royalties…lol) The cake had to remain intact for my husband. “Would you present a birthday cake with slices already eaten?” It kind of makes since, huh? Maybe it does…coming from a southern girl raised Pentecostal. But come on now! That was not going to work for a ghetto Catholic school girl. LOL! Hey! I think I did pretty good. I was a senior in high school when I lost my virginity. But rather than walk down an aisle, I ran off to college instead! WHEW! FREEDOM! After teaching in New Orleans and flying for Continental Airlines, I decided to teach and settle back home in St. Louis. Nothing holds you hostage like a house, so it was a done deal once I turned thirty and purchased a home. Now here we are, two old ladies who talk on the phone several times a day, and live side by side.
What triggered this narrative testimony is my viewing of the movie, Roxanne Roxanne, based off the first female rapper, Roxanne Shante, and written and directed by a St. Louis native, Michael Larnell. The movie’s portrayal of Roxanne Shante’s mother and daughter relationship gut punched me. Aside from the alcoholism, the mother, played by Nia Long, strongly reminded me of my mother. They both share shady views of men, hold very little trust in their intentions, scrutinize any man you pick and shame you out of even thinking about the possibility of REAL LOVE.
Unlike sixteen year old Roxanne Shante, who chose an older man despite her mother’s profane disapproval, I had to wait until 49 years of age before I could totally shut down my mother’s manipulative and male bashing attempts to keep me near. Her approach is less vicious now that I am older, but the intent remains the same. After recently sharing my feelings about this particular brotha possibly being THE ONE, I could hear her under breath sigh of doubt and pessimism. However, this time, I was TOTALLY unfazed. Without getting defensive and emotional, I shared how there are GOOD MEN out here. We are just too often blinded or consumed by the swag, games, pimping, fragility and badness of BOYS to see them. I clearly explained my decision to surrender my sword. It is no longer needed. I have been blessed with the opportunity to get to know one of THE GOOD ONES. Unfortunately for Roxanne Shante, she was too young to peep the abusive predator in her older man. I, on the other hand, have lived looooooong enough to see pass the bullshit. Oh! And about that birthday cake…it’s still good!
In the past, I have mainly selected men I could fix, flip and pass on to a willing buyer. It made me feel safe and in control. It padded me from getting hurt from emotional break-ups. After serving as a man’s helpmate, I would reject his committment to being the best man for me. Instead, after repairing him, I placed him in a friend zone until he found someone willing to pick up where I ran off. This became my pattern…my signature piece. Go ahead! Feel free to add your explanation or judgement to the pile: “You must have low self-esteem” or “You just don’t feel you deserve a good man” or ” You must have trust issues” or “You just don’t know your worth” or “Somebody must have really hurt you”, or “You just ain’t met the right brotha yet!” or “You just a selfish, lonely, scary or crazy ass bitch” Perhaps, I’m a little guilty of all the above. But I’ll let you be the JUDGE. You will anyway!
The way I see it, (or rationalize it…lol) I just prefer a spiritually grounded man with dreams and potential who appreciates the value and resources I bring to his life! I’m not interested in stroking or balancing the egos of men who have it all together and are looking to finish their Europeanized ensemble with a feminine mantle piece. If he’s God’s gift to women, may the best woman win him. I’m a Goddess! Is Goddess not a Savior? It’s not too different from guys who prefer stuggling women over independent ones. For some men, the needier, the better! What?! This same concept can’t apply to a woman? Only men are born with the ability to transform and ressurect?
Truthfully speaking, I don’t want to play house. The lifestyle and self-sacrifice it takes to pull it off successfully does not suit me! There are several reasons, but I’ll offer you three: One, I’m not going to work my way to a man’s heart through his stomach, because I don’t enjoy cooking, Second, time and space are my oxygen. The moment I feel suffocated, I’m going out the door for air and I can’t promise I’ll return. I am transient and spontaneous by nature. Third, it only takes my Goddess gut-feeling, to emotionally check out the second I suspect a deal breaker has been broken.
Unfortunately, society’s double-standards have boxed us into gender roles, where girls are expected to desire a house on the cul-de-sac with a picket fence and nuclear family, while boys are allowed to play, roam, roll and bounce from pillar to post until they get good and ready for a house on the cul-de-sac with a picket fence and nuclear family. Yet, women are considered strange, masculine, difficult or confused when they desire to” Run with the Wolves”. Consequently, we are tamed, domesticated and dicked into submission. We are subjected to biblical and religious scriptures meant to put us in our places. We are pressured to imitate the “perfect” traditional roles our mothers and grandmothers played. We are made to feel easily replaceable by women willing to behave and live for men. Still, home for the Women Who Run With the Wolves is in the wilderness. They refuse to be housed.
So unless a man is capable of removing his own patriarchal shackles, Women Who Run With the Wolves will consider him a fixer upper for someone who is looking for a home with a picket fence on a cul-de-sac. Don’t feel sorry for us. We are content with admiring our renovations and appreciating our sale as we ride “Off to Wonderland” with THE ONE who respects and honors our Divinity and takes no interest whatsoever in keeping us confined to a house walled with a fence at a dead-end street.
Though there are still many strides to make when it comes to our money and bodies in a “MAN’S WORLD”, we have come a looooooooong way ladies! We are more educated and self-sufficient than ever before. But still, our life achievements appear meaningless without a man’s stamp of wife-worthiness. Now I can understand why men play the “why you ain’t never been married” card. Penis privilege and double standards entitle them to question a woman’s single hood even when they’re NOT married!
No! I’m talking about those of us claiming pussy power! Why do we frequently put down women who don’t have a man? We are often heard degrading women who have not FOUND A MAN! No matter the subject of debate, women are often heard clapping back at other women, “Where your man at, Boo?!” As if nothing in the world matters without a man to back up whatever the hell a woman thinks she’s got the nerve to be trying to do without one! Oh, before some sword-swinging sistah feels the need to defend men: This HAS NOTHING to do with bashing, hating or not needing a MAN! This is about women single-shaming other women!
There are many of us who feel damn right comfortable sleeping, eating, movie watching and traveling alone… without feeling LONELY! Know the difference. And it’s not some game we play in order to pretend we’re happy. Getting a man is not nearly as hard as propaganda would have us to believe. Furthermore, having a man is not going to guarantee a lonely-free life. There are plenty of married people who feel alone and lonely.
So I guess the journey of life leads back to the individual. As the old folks would say, “You were born by yourself and you’re going to die by yourself!” Love and matrimony are life’s icing…don’t make it out to be your birthday cake, Goddesses!