I guess one might say that I'm a hopeless romantic, but what does that even mean? Are my dreams and desires to find love truly hopeless? I mean some days I'll be honest it seems like it. At my age you've begun to hear all the cliché Christiany and Non-Christiany sayings that sound something like, "when you stop looking it'll happen", "why are you still single, you're so beautiful" or my favorite, "I have a friend..." fast forward two minutes later and suddenly dating someone that lives continents away unwilling to relocate sounds like an ideal situation even if it equates never seeing your immediate family again. I mean why not, apparently you're still single because you've chosen to be alone FOREVER.
For several weeks Trenelle and I have spent time talking about relationships and I've felt more challenged to think about my ideologies when it comes to dating. More specifically my dating life, world, etc. etc., you name it I've mulled over it incessantly. My dating history isn't filled with tremendous heartbreaks, but when I process my history the biggest realization I've had is that in all the dates I've been on and the men I've casually dated, I've never actually dated anyone within my own race.
Now, "Would I be happy if I ended up in a fully devoted and committed partnership with someone outside of my race?" That's a hard question for me to answer, and I can't say that Portland has afforded me the opportunity to say yes or no. Just walk down the street on any given day as a black woman or man and you would think it was a sin to stare at each other in the eye, it rarely happens and that just makes me sad. Or add the pressures of my Nigerian roots mixed with church culture both suggesting that I am in my prime and yet wondering why I am still single? I don't know I often think, why don't you go ask God?
Here is my reality and my truth, I do love the idea of Black Love. I mean I was raised by Black Love. Surrounded by it my formative years, and although some may not consider the African experience worthy of being categorized as Black Love, when you're a child raised like me you never conceptualize those experiences as any different even as an adult. That is until you move to a state where there is a scarcity of young Black Love and the first time you see a young black twenty-something couple walking down the street you've since marked it as a crucial memory (kind of like an anniversary) in your mind. That's what 8 years of living in Portland gets you and trust me when I say my bizarre experiences of being a Black woman in Portland don't stop there.
You see, there was that one white friend in college that had a list of all the girls he wanted to bang by race. I will never forget how he gleaned as he read the words, "Black girl" off the list he had in his wallet and in front of a room of white folks, oh and me.
Then there was that one guy I thought was cute in college that I barely knew that somehow felt it necessary to call me "sistah" every other word. Which in its simplest form is the ultimate form of friend zoning in any Black community relationship, which I find to be ironic because somehow a smile and having social skills equates to wanting to date someone or having the hots for them?
Or there was that one guy at the bar several years ago who in his desire to get to know my friend, felt my presence in that public space meant me knowing that he didn't date black women. Oh, but no worries, he also let me know his white friend across the dance floor TOTALLY did. Then he proceeded to grab my wrist and walk me over to his friend leaving me in silence as I looked his white friend in the face and said, "I'm so sorry, I'm not sure what just happened...mmkay byeee (insert awkward walk away)".
It's in moments like this I often just stare in utter confusion as this thought floods my mind but never exits my lips, "The vagina that birthed your black behind is black, and if you have such a problem with me that you feel you need to vocalize your preference when nobody was looking for you, what are you saying about that individual being your mother that gave birth to you?"
I know a saying like that isn't Christian of me but there is a wretch in all of us, and really at the heart of that frustration is the question I often ask myself and people around me, "Why is it like this here?" And I'll be honest I definitely look inwardly ALL THE TIME wondering if there is something I'm doing or not doing. Something I need to perfect or change and that goes without having tremendous amounts of insecurities emerge. Yet, you keep trying to smile or befriend people and not even for the purpose of dating someone but for me, it's often just wanting to somehow bridge the divide that exists in this weird city between Black folks. Maybe I sound angry or maybe you listen to Trenelle and I every week and you can list a series of reasons why we are both single. However, what if I told you my stories are not singular to me? Would that change your mind?
We invited Art and Isaac to the podcast because we wanted to hear two dudes that love Black women speak. I can't say I agreed with everything that was said but in the days leading up to their conversation and hearing what they had to say I found some hope and a better understanding of how I can't label ALL MEN as being a certain way. Good men that love and are down for the Black woman exist, and I just have to choose to keep being open and confident in who God created me to be. Yet, I do recognize for Black women that's often easier said than done.
The last few minutes of this weeks episode are by far my favorite. I think someone should play that part on repeat until they believe the words that are being said. You might listen to this episode and feel rubbed the wrong way and maybe that's because it's not for you. Yet, let me encourage you to have an open mind and heart because these are the realities and thoughts of real-life everyday kind of people.
I don't really have anything else to say, but if you do leave a comment know that we always love hearing what listeners have to say and we really do ponder, discuss, and take it all in.
With that, cheers to Black love, all love, and this episode.