The Blacker the Berry

TBTBThe rains came pouring down in Virginia yesterday. This happened just before I left work. I ran all the way to the metro only barely managing to keep from getting soaked.

I emerged on the Maryland end of my commute greeted by the sun and humidity. It had rained there too, just not nearly as much as it had in Virginia. As I walked to my bus terminal a sparkle caught my eye– something glistening and shiny like an expensive, shimmery jewel. I look up to see just an ordinary black man, lanky in his white t-shirt and jeans, his long dreaded hair pulled back at the nape of his neck. My eyes move to his face and I actually felt my breath quicken and my heart begin to beat faster.

I don’t know what it is, but lately I find myself so enamored with dark skin. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and to see a cluster of raindrops reflecting the sun off of his face and forearms gave him the ethereal appeal of an angel come down to Earth. Staring would have been impolite so I politely averted my eyes but it took a lot of concentrated effort to keep away from the sight. I fought the urge to walk up to him, gaping in awe and telling him just how beautiful he was.

I have a dark skinned man at home that I am sure to tell almost everyday how much I love his pretty, pretty skin. I’ve dated maybe 4 or 5 dark skinned men, and couldn’t help but notice that all of them had been treated a certain way all their lives because of it. They make self deprecating jokes about not wanting to get darker in the sun, about being “black enough already” etc. Finally, I took a stand against it and I refused to listen to insecurities about skin tone escaping from full chocolate lips in what was an obvious defense mechanism. Beauty stands proud and alone, it needs no defense.

A dark chocolate male friend of mine came to me and said, “Wow, I saw a picture of your boyfriend– he’s blacker than me!”  Automatically I beamed back at him and replied, “Yes, isn’t he gorgeous?!” I cup his handsome face in my hands, kiss his high cheekbones and tell him so as often as I can. There’s so much going on in the world I can’t bring myself to even write out the extent of my emotions in response to the racial tensions in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. At this point I really just feel moved to savor my identity and to celebrate what others can’t seem to understand or grasp.
I read books and watch programs… see and hear the descriptions of olive skin, porcelain complexions and red tinged lips… no one speaks much about the phenomenon of black skin. Every black man I’ve met and had the pleasure of exploring has been composed of various complicated shades of brown– to the amount of cream in their coffee eyes, the hint of coppery brown in their beards, the tender pinkish brown underneath fingernails and toes, the light tracing of chestnut brown in the lines of their palms…I could go on all day.
I celebrate the very thing that is used against us, to profile us and to make us feel inferior. The same world that makes assumptions about our culture, generalizes us and treat us like animals and stereotype us as heathen can’t deny the unique beauty that lies within our color. And if they can– they are truly missing out.

Dialing It Back – Part II

There have been countless times I’ve sat around on the couch with my girls watching tv, and me and six year old will look over at the baby in horror at the sound of her farting bathroom noises. Of course it makes us laugh hysterically—babies have no shame, and in this instance I’m sure it’s a trait that she gets from her mama. If I had more of a sense of shame I wouldn’t be about to post this, and I probably wouldn’t have this blog at all. But, here we are and shit is about to get real.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Dialing It Back, referring to my intensity in all things relationships romantic or platonic. I did vow that I would make a conscious effort to do better and I think I’ve managed to do so and wanted to report back on it. I had been “talking” to this guy for several months (I guess it’s called talking, I really don’t know what that means but chose not to ask for more of a description because I was just too embarrassed to do so) and it came to an untimely end—of sorts. I have lots of feelings about it. Ending things wasn’t necessarily what I wanted but I guess part of being an adult is realizing when something just can’t work logistically and getting the hell over it. Also there is the possibility that he just wasn’t that interested in me anymore but I choose to believe it was a circumstantial thing, you know…because pride.

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Image from: zrhbzeds.homeip.net

 Anyway, after a blow up on my end and days of silence I received the fateful text from him, ending all things. I do believe it was a misunderstanding between us that may have led to this but I believe a lot of things, it doesn’t mean my thoughts and feelings will be validated in those beliefs. I am OBSESSED with the idea of adequately articulating my point of view and my reasoning but this time, after much internal struggle, I was able to let it go. I said my goodbye, expressed my regret and I DROPPED IT. I know there are women out there with the whole, “Well, fuck him he can kick rocks anyway,” attitude that are unimpressed by this, but that’s just not me. It takes awhile for a guy to even gain my complete interest and once it finally happens I am overly loyal and I fight passionately to make things work because destiny is destiny, right? But the whole concept of dialing it back is for me to grow the hell up and realize that the best-laid plans don’t always come to fruition.

So, I did the opposite of what I would normally do in the situation. I sent the final text to him and then I deleted everything– all the emails, all the texts and I even unfriended him on Facebook. I felt really petty doing it but I know myself. I don’t need an avenue of communication because as long as there is a door I am going to try to pry it open and see what’s behind it. I didn’t want to be tempted to plead my case—which I shouldn’t have to do, and should stop doing in general. I know this seems like it would come from a place of low self-esteem but I’m not entirely sure it does. It’s more like, “OK, he SAYS he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore but I don’t think he realizes just how awesome I am!” Umm, while I am awesome—I should be more aware that not everyone is going to think so. Actually, the evening that all this happened I got an email notification from my favorite blog, Black Girls Are Easy (blackgirlsareeasy.com) and the title of his latest post was called “He Doesn’t Want You, Deal With It”…so even the universe was telling me to chill. I can take the hint.

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Image from: runt-of-the-web.com 

I can’t pretend I am completely healed of my intensity. I did write a couple of emo blog posts (as you’ve probably noticed) and some mournful diary entries but only because I have to thoroughly lament and feel everything because I’m so fucking in tune with my emotions now. And I’m not a guy, I can’t just end something, no matter how ephemeral, and turn off my feelings about it. BUT, I haven’t contacted him in order to fight for his affection, or even to just shoot the breeze—I am learning to be more ladylike and to stop being overly assertive. I think I am finally learning to dial it back!