As a woman, a black woman at that, I am first to admit that the quest to “have it all” is not an easy one. Juggling career goals, chasing my writing dreams and aspirations outside of the 9 – 5, involvement and engagement in the lives of my children, maintaining relationships with friends and family, carving out time for myself, and finding the time to affirm and cater to the man in my life is kind of like a never-ending whirlwind. At best it is an extremely fulfilling and hectic life; at worst it is enough to make me scream and pull out all of my hair. When the going gets tough—what on that list of things should go?
Last week’s episode of Being Mary Jane gave us a closer look into the life and times of Mary’s best friend and co-worker, Kara. Enter Kara: savvy career woman, part-time single mom trying to make time for her kids, navigate her strained relationship with her ex-husband and maintain a sexy affair with the generous and considerate man in her life. She flubs a school parent/teacher meeting, screws up her work schedule and has to stay late missing out on her date with New Boo who was kind enough to bring takeout dinner to her place of work, along with a shoulder to lean on. THIS is a good man. However, in the eventual reorganization of her life goals and priorities, at the end of the episode HE was the first to get rifted. I….do not get this.
All the ladies, independent—put your hands down, have a seat and listen. I suppose it is nice to tout things like, “I don’t need a man,” “I take care of myself” etc—I get it. But it’s also REALLY nice to lay on a warm, hairy chest (or no hair, whatever you like) and vent about your stupid co-workers while shedding tears of sheer exhaustion. It is wonderful to be down to your last two dollars and have someone hand you a twenty dollar bill and make your broke ass some dinner. Dare I even mention the joys of sexual healing? Moreso than that, does anything beat the comfort and security that comes along with sharing intimacy with a person who has seen you naked in body and in spirit? We have friends and family that we are close to, but it doesn’t get any closer than the person who leaves a wet spot on your sheets after lovemaking, who talks to you about deep life events while taking a massive shit and snores softly in your ear some mornings—the smell of their morning breath fresh on your nostrils. All these things are not a luxury to me…they are a gift.
I struggle so much. At peak schedule I try to do at least two poetry open mic events a week, I scrape in time with the kids—and honestly most of that time I spend curbing my irritation at the things they didn’t do, or the last minute homework or project or doctor’s appointment that is being thrown my way. The morning is a flurry of activity getting the kids ready, the painful commute to work, the pretending to be a nice person at the job for 9 hours, the hustle home—and somewhere in between there’s maintaining social media accounts to advertise the blog and actually writing and posting original content for the blog. By 10pm I am lying in bed fighting back tears because I know I need to take my out of shape ass to the gym. So I go. I am sweating on the elliptical, hating life and wishing for death –when I get the text that my man is finally home from his 12 hour workshift. I push a little harder on that last 15 minutes of cardio, I leave the gym with pep in my step and I drive 20 miles up the highway to get to him by 11pm at night. Just before I see his face I feel this tension in my forehead and I think to myself, “Why am I doing this? I can’t live like this—something has to give!” He opens the door smiling brightly, immediately makes me laugh and gathers me in a hug every time. Weight=lifted.
Never under estimate the life that a loving relationship can breathe into your soul. I am barely sleeping trying to maintain it all but when I leave him I feel a hefty deposit has been made into my zeroed out bank account. Even if I just make it through his door and pass out on sheets that smell of him—it is enough to be that close to his comforting presence. The grind life, the busy life, the super single mom life is overrated to me. We are so willing these days to sacrifice interpersonal relationships when I truly believe that these are the only things we can actually take with us when we die. Companionship is awesome, and we allow ourselves to forget that because we are lonely and don’t want to admit our true desires or because we are so busy filling our time with being busy that we don’t have time to realize we might be missing something. In this day and age, having a man is not a necessity but I surely don’t see it as a luxury as it is sometimes perceived to be—especially to single moms. I love my children and somewhere along the way I learned that it’s ok to love myself and take care of my needs as well. Companionship–relationship adds to my life and who I am as a mother, writer, friend… person. We treat men as if they are expendable accessories then wonder why they have so much trouble committing to us. We want to parade them around on Instagram, have them buy us things and tell us we’re pretty then the moment life gets rough we try to drop them for fear of being abandoned in time of need or maybe because deep down we truly believe that they are a luxury that we don’t deserve to have in our lives.
If anyone has never told you: you do deserve to have a good man in your life if that’s what you truly want. You deserve to have help and affection and attention from someone who cares about you and your busy life. If you are willing to sacrifice sleep and time away for the sake of having it all, why not do the same for a person on your team whose goal is to help you along the way? Is a dependable, supportive, consistent and loving man in your life a luxury to be given up when the going of life gets tough? I think not…