No Pity Party here

I literally started this a while ago and just didn’t know how to end it. So I just left it. Then every so often, I’d return to it to add (and remove) another sentence. But with everything I tried, I just couldn’t finish it. Where would I leave off, on such a sensitive topic? So finally I decided to buckle down and hammer this one out through my own mind’s eye. Forget the rest, or I’d never get it done.

It doesn’t bother me that I’m single – it really doesn’t. What does bother me is that there are some who are bothered by my singleness. What bothers me even more than that is how bothered some seem to be by my not being bothered by it. Up to speed? Now imagine if I let that get to me what a staggered life I’d live.

As a single 30-something in the busy city of Toronto, it is very easy to feel the pressure of “getting up there” and not having settled down yet. There was a time when quite frankly that very thought had really terrified me.  What am I going to do, I would ask myself, if I get up there and I’m still single? But once I started to follow the path my life had laid out for me, I am more concerned about taking in the sights along the way. I’m doing so much that it makes up for the other parts.

Don’t get me wrong, singleness will always harbour some fear and doubt. But the fact is that times have changed. Independence is a commodity that we all strive towards. So who says you have to be “settled” by a certain age? So what if you don’t? I’d like to read the chapter in this proverbial Handbook of Life that states that you have a deadline to settle down.

As we evolve, we see that tables are turning; women are taking control of their lives in ways that would render our grandmothers speechless. And how many of us can say our grandmothers didn’t voice their malcontent? Many women are the sole or predominant breadwinner; we’re going back to school, taking on 2nd even 3rd jobs, travelling the world and learning different languages. But you know what the best part is? We’re speaking up and acting out.

The statistic of single 30-something women has increased because we are so focused that we don’t slow down to notice that certain areas of our lives remain unfulfilled. We see success on the horizon and would stop at nothing to get there. If there is an obstacle, it is viewed only as a slight delay as we iron out the kinks and handle it accordingly before we continue. Tunnel vision – that’s what it’s called.

So while you’re sitting there looking at your happily coupled-up friends and reflecting on your life asking yourself “why am I still single?” maybe you should ask:  “why can’t I still be single?” Or perhaps the question you need to ask yourself: “am I ready for a relationship?” Many of us think we are, or feel we need to and may even end up making the wrong choices. But being single means moving at your own pace, changing your direction when you feel like it and taking longer than you need to on things. It really is the ultimate selfishness. And I think with all the hard work I put in, I have earned the right to be selfish. And to add a cliché: if something isn’t meant to happen, nothing in your power will make it happen.

I’m happy with the way my life is going even with the unattended area, or void if I may. I’m content with knowing what I want and having the luxury of taking my time. Yes, I’m “picky” but I’m really tired of hearing that, because quite frankly I deserve to be. I have always taken my time on things, so I’m not going to start rushing now. And I really do believe that if it’s meant to happen then it will. Some things just don’t follow a timeline or are limited to a deadline. So I might as well keep doing what I have to do to enjoy my life; by myself, for myself. This for no other reason than I’m allowed to be selfish.

Power and culture

I had an interesting conversation with my cousin who lives in the Bahamas. As I stood there in admiration while she talked about her business and its possible expansion, she went on to reveal that unless her husband is present she has a hard time showing authority to her female employees. Why? Because they just don’t seem to take her seriously as a female boss.  So basically she worked hard on her education then worked even harder to establish herself; yet these women who should respect her accomplishments and ultimately her decision to hire them… don’t take her seriously… simply because she’s a woman. And they would respond in the expected manner to her husband… because he’s a man.

Really? Excuse me but the last I checked it was 2012. Feminists everywhere would develop ulcers if they read this.

It’s interesting to know that in a culture so rich, women are oppressing each other. But this brings to mind the question: how many continue to have this mentality in this day and age? Sadly enough – I think it is more alive than we realize, perhaps just not as blatant as it is in the Bahamas. Now of course as we normally know it, most women are automatically respected because after all they’re the boss. And on the other side of this, research has repeatedly shown that women leaders aren’t taken as seriously and even earn less than men in the same positions. And for some reason they seem to think we’re just not as smart or savvy. So add to that being a woman of colour and we all know what happens. So with the repeated obstacles, it would be nice to have agreeable staff – especially staff who should understand the difficulties.

It is disheartening to think that if I hire women – supposed “sistas” – and give them the chance to work hard and even earn promotions that they can not value my decision enough to respect my wishes. But this isn’t because I’m a horrible boss, but because they’d rather a man tells them what to do.

I cringe every time I type that.

So even in 2012 the slow climb to overcome the various forms of oppression continues. But this particular stereotype is reinforced as quickly as it is knocked down. Talk about regression.

Who’s who….? Where?

I recently had the privilege of becoming part of the team at whoswhoinblackcanada.

WWIBC is not-for-profit website geared towards bringing awareness to all the successes that we in the Black community many times never take the time to appreciate.  We are often too self-involved to notice that there are others who have paved the way or set the bar. These are the ones who prove with a little hard work and a lot of dedication dreams do come true. As cliché as that sounds – it’s true.

Which brings me to the trigger to today’s topic– why don’t we support each other more? What happened to the saying “there’s power in numbers”?

As a community, we are so quick to judge and disparage one another and our goals. How many times have we heard: “How is she going to do that, and we all know she has no money?” .It’s like people forget in almost every success story you read, these people literally started with nothing.

So where’s the occasional pat on the back or words of encouragement? Or the interest to ask: ‘How’s it going?’? Is it indeed lack of interest, or a deep-rooted envy that someone is doing something with their life, where some may be held back by fear? Whose fault is it that some choose to sit at home doing nothing, while others choose to do something? It’s not going to come to you – you have to go out and find it. Hell, stick your face in its face until it acknowledges you. But you have to do. That’s all – do.

The problem is that it’s easier to break down than build up. We are more comfortable knowing that someone else failed and is down on our level, than seeing someone succeed and rise to levels we never dreamt of. But here’s the thing; even those who failed have already succeeded because they chose to do something. And the fact of the matter is that trying and failing is better than never trying at all. And true failure isn’t really failure unless you’ve given up.

I think it’s better to congratulate, support, and acknowledge someone’s success. It just may ignite something deep inside and inspire you to get up and get on. You start to think: “Well if she could do it, why can’t I? What am I waiting for? Where do I begin?” Take pride in knowing that someone did something, that someone took the chance. Take pride in knowing that someone just like you followed their dream.

Yep I said it – someone  just like you. Be a part of the domino effect this community needs. Become inspired to inspire others. The negativity continues to break us down. This goes beyond the black community, naturally, but I speak on what I know. The great thing is that the domino effect starts off small and continues to grow.

All you really need to do, is just that – do.

Misunderstood?

I’m a woman. I’m Black. I’m strong. If that doesn’t make people nervous enough, I’m Quiet.

Strong black women sometimes have to speak louder to ensure we are heard, won’t stand aside and be taken advantage of, and will tell you about your parts when we are being disrespected. We know what we know, like what we like and don’t plan on changing any of that just for the sake of conformity. Key in my locs and tattoos and any day now I just may start a revolution.

 But what if I can get the same results by taking the other approach?

 I walk into a room commanding respect with my silence. Oh there’s that Angry Black Woman who doesn’t speak to anyone. I wonder what’s on her mind.

 I don’t laugh at your stale and potentially stereotypical joke rendering you the joke. Black women can be such snobs, they need to lighten up.

 And when I do laugh out loud because the joke is just that sweet and quite frankly life is just too short to not enjoy a good joke? Why can’t those Black Women ever know their place and keep it down?

Having always been a pensive individual, I am the silent observer who makes note of others’ words and actions in order to figure out ways to improve on those very points. If you don’t learn from your own mistakes, then by all means I will. So in my silent observation, I’ve already figured out a better solution. I will put my own turn on things to execute the steps then show the results and watch your eyes grow with revelation. Hey the snob is pretty smart, after all.

Snob, you say? Yes, a common misinterpretation of the Quiet. In all actuality, sometimes I have nothing to say simply because I have nothing to say. And I’m okay with that. Silence is golden. Silence is even revered. There’s a time and a place for everything and just because you are at the place doesn’t mean it is the time. Plus, what’s the point if no one is going to listen to me? Then I’ve gone and wasted both of our time. And I don’t know about you, but my time is precious.

 

So what people may interpret as Angry or Snobbish, I am really trying to translate as Focused. Or sometimes, it’s just plain old Boredom. It’s why I don’t laugh at your stale jokes, or engage in any irrelevant small talk. It’s especially why I stay true to who I am; I don’t want you getting the wrong idea – you may stick around and bore me some more. And that would mean I failed at being a snob, now wouldn’t it?                                                                                                         

If you choose to generalize instead of pick my brain to see who I really am, then I will remain misunderstood and continue to learn from your mistakes.

And that’s okay with me.