Two years has passed since my brother died, and I’ve experienced a multiple of emotions ranging from the deepest despair to raging anger and anxiety. But lately, I feel myself turning into someone who doesn’t give a fuck about too much of anything.
I mean I love my children, grandchild, and my future grandchild to be. My friends and other family members but I’m not getting any enjoyment from life and it scares me at times. Because you can’t walk around not giving a fuck about anything. Or can you?
Honestly it’s easy to not give a fuck about stuff because the vast majority of people in America are dumb as a box of hair. Consumed with celebrities and other superficial mess while their way of life is burning to the ground. I just be sitting back watching these ninnies fight and argue with strangers online about celebrities who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.
But I’m not going to lie. It scares me to be so apathetic about life now because by nature, I’m a passionate woman filled with fire. And I want that fire back instead of being the ice queen I’ve become. I’m praying for that day when my sense of optimism and joy about living comes back. Pray for me too.
As I get older, I’m finding that my personal brand of feminism is getting more radical. Now I’m not talking about kill all the men or any nonsense like that, but as I age, I just don’t give a fuck about the opinions of men anymore. Regardless of race, regardless of their socioeconomic status in life. Dirt poor or filthy rich, if you are a man, your opinions of womanhood don’t mean a heap of merde (French for shit) to me.
I can’t speak for all women collectively but for me, getting older has been a blessing because I did some foolish things as a younger woman and now my mind is clear as freshly cleaned glass. When I look back, I just shake my head and thank the ancestors that I’m still alive to tell my tale. The most foolish thing I did as a young woman was live with two men (not at the same time☠️) and it’s two of my biggest regrets as a woman. No woman should live with a man that she’s not married to because it’s not worth it. Why should a young woman waste her youth, energy and resources cleaning, cooking, and sexing a man who is not her husband? It doesn’t make any sense and I’m not even a big proponent of marriage these days but shacking is an exercise in futility. He’s getting the best without having to do anything. Marriage is a legally binding contact that brings certain privileges for both parties. Particularly for women when it comes to children.
But marriage is still very important for a large portion of women and that is why they be jumping through hoops of fire, trying to prove their worthiness to men who in some cases, aren’t worth two dead flies. Moving in with men that they barely know, auditioning to be wives. Just foolishness all the way around.
If I ran society, I would encourage women to concentrate on themselves and stop listening to the voices of men. Tap into their femininity and I’m not talking about this soft and meek shit thats being sold to the parched masses by shysters. I’m talking about that Kali femininity. Kali is an Indian goddess who’s a bad chick. She’s considered the goddess of death in some circles and others, the epitome of womanhood. She’s a wild woman and women of today need to aspire to that wildness. This is a patriarchal society that we live in and in order to survive as a woman, you have to be strong and cunning or you will become prey for these wolves. So stop serving yourselves up on a silver platter to men who look like roadkill y’all.
This month two exes who are currently married called me and asked me why I am still single. One was even bold enough to say that I’m not getting any younger so I need to be concentrating on finding a fella. If men don’t have anything else, they have more balls than a brass ass monkey.
One of the things that I have noticed about men is that they are eternally befuddled with the idea that a woman can be single and actually happy. I guess they are so used to the female friends in their lives constantly bewailing about being single that they believe that all single women are a miserable lot and then they come across me and are shellshocked. But let me continue my tale.
Now why these happily married men (so they claim) are worrying about me and my relationship status I will never know but it’s three specific reasons why I am a currently single woman. The reasons are relatively simple but at the same time, complex. Let me explain.
Number one: it’s easy to be single in 2021 considering the state of gender relations in this culture. The men I’ve come across are so dang angry and filled with bile and unrealistic expectations that’s it’s a turnoff. I’ve seen men with missing, yellowing teeth who think they are entitled to the most beautiful woman in the world. And in addition to being highly unattractive, they have the audacity to have rigid gender standards for women.
In their world, women are only good for fucking, cleaning, cooking, and more fucking. I just want to know how do these men have the nerve to be both homely and entitled at the same time. And on top of everything, they expect women to jump through hoops of fire for their affections and I’m not doing shit. We live in a patriarchy and I thought men were the hunters.
What woman in her right mind wants to be bothered with men who have that mentality? Not I. Unlike many women, I’m not parched for male companionship or validation. My bed will never be that lonely.
Number two: I have a disability and any man that I decide to be involved with needs to be able to deal with that fact. I’m an epileptic and as long as I take my medication, I’m seizure free and that’s a beautiful thing. But suppose I do have a seizure? How is he going to react? Is he going to jump into action or crumble? I need a strong man, not a wimp. You can die from a seizure and I need a fella who can help me, not be a hinderance to my health.
And lastly, at this stage in my life, I don’t want to be bothered. I’m not trying to male bash but many men are feminine energy vampires and they will drain a foolish woman dry. And I’m not foolish. So many women are walking around looking like life is whupping their asses and it’s because of the men in their lives. I look pretty good for an old broad, especially when I put on my concealer and eyebrow pencil. And I’m going to continue to stay looking fly and living stress free. But one day, I hope to find a nice fella. A man who makes my soul sing and my body tingle. A man filled with a passion to match my own passion for life. And who read books on a regular basis. Until then however, I’m single and chilling. Happily content.
Before I joined the social media, I used to read articles from the website Salon.com and debate folks in the now defunct comment section. At one time, Salon had a website named Open Salon for the readers who were writers and yours truly won Editors Choice a few times. But I’m digressing as usual so let me tell this tale.
What fascinated me the most about Salon is that whenever articles from prominent feminists were posted, the men would be foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs in the comments, writing barely coherent paragraphs filled with rage against them stanking ass feminists and spewing how the world was a much better place when women knew their “place.”
And the vast majority of these men were white men. It wasn’t a lot of Black folks in the comments during that time period and I was just amazed at the anger from these men who are on the top of the economic and social totem pole in America. Even with all this power, they felt threatened by women having autonomy over their lives.
I’m really not surprised. Feminism which can defined as women being able to have the same rights as men drives normally sane people batshit crazy. Because you know women are supposed to stay in their place, cooking and cleaning, having babies, and shutting the fuck up. Women are supposed to walk in the shadows, never basking in the glory of their own sun. How dare these bitches think they have the right to control their own destinies and bodies without male interference? Shame on them!
But I hadn’t seen nothing yet until I joined Facebook and saw the venom that so many Black men have for the ideology called feminism. These men blame feminism for kicking Black men out of their homes by giving poor Black women access to welfare. For allowing Black women to become educated and have careers. For breathing. For weave. Makeup. Everything that’s wrong in the Black community has been placed at the feet of feminism. And it’s the most pathetic shit in the world.
Feminism makes the world a better place because it gives women options. The option of not having children or ten children. The option of being a career woman or a stay at home mother. And the option of doing absolutely nothing at all. Freedom to live without a ton of societal rules, expectations, and regulations just because you were born female. It’s nothing wrong with women being free to control their lives. Nothing at all.
I didn’t discover bell hooks until I went to college in 2002. I majored in sociology and minored in history. Took two Women and Gender courses and it was then I was introduced to her works. And my life changed.
Her writings made me think deeply and I learned to fight for myself as a Black woman living in a white patriarchal society that despises all women but has placed the Black woman on a special rung in hell. Learned to fight for my dignity and autonomy in system that wasn’t set up for my advancement but my demise.
And as I’m getting older, due to her works, I have learned to have grace for others who weren’t as fortunate as me to have access to her writings and the writings of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Assata Shakur and others. Black writers who reveled in their Blackness and wasn’t afraid to show it. Ignorance is cultivated in American culture these days so some people are doomed and all you can do is pity them and move on.
So Rest in Power bell hooks. Although you are no longer here in form, your works will continue to educate and transform, encouraging folks to improve their lives and elevate their minds. Folks like me.
In the Black community, there are women who aren’t mothers because technically they didn’t give birth to the children they mothered but are revered because of the guidance, wisdom, and unconditional love that they bestowed upon generations of Black children. This is my tribute to those women. My ladies in particular whom I loved with all my heart and soul.
The lady in the picture above is my maternal grandmother. She was born in Alabama in 1900 and she became an ancestor in 1984. Although I only had her in my life for a short time , she was one of my greatest influences.
She was my babysitter from ages 2 until I was 8 years old when she moved out the state to live with one of her daughters. She was the one who taught me how to read and write, my colors and all that good stuff. So when I learned earlier this year that she only had a second grade education, I was beyond shocked. Because to me, she was a genius and she played a major part in my cognitive development as a child. She was also a great griot and told me slave folktales about skeletons who spoke and and horses who scolded naughty children. She was loved and revered by all who knew her and was considered the backbone of the family.
The lady above is my Aunt Mary. She was born in 1933 and became an ancestor in 1982. Her and my mother was only a year apart so they were very close and as result of their closeness, I spent a lot of time with her. She was a Scorpio like me and we got along like cake and ice cream. When she died from ovarian cancer, I was so shellshocked by her death, I couldn’t cry and didn’t cry until a few years later. She was a gem, a feisty woman of fire who is still missed and I wished she had the opportunity to meet my children.
My Aunt Rosie is in the picture above and she was an integral part of my life. If I’m not mistaken, she was born in 1922 and she became an ancestor in 1995. I spent a lot of time with her as a child and I loved her dearly. When I wanted to get my hair done and needed some money, she gave it to me with a little fussing but she gave it to me. With love.
I would go over to her house to pick it up and she would feed me, tell me tales of growing up into young womanhood and when it was time for me to leave, she would put the money in a handkerchief and pin it in my bra. I used to have a picture of myself when I was about 6 months old and I was sitting between Aunt Rosie and Aunt Mary and they were looking at me with such love and joy. I’m tearing up now thinking about it.
And the lady above with the thick juicy thighs is my cousin Cleo and she was a combination of cousin, big sister, aunt, and towards the end of her life, a mother figure to me. She was born in 1942 and she crossed over into glory in 2018.
When I was a little girl, I would follow her everywhere because wherevershe was, it was good times. My mother was a working woman and couldn’t take me places at times due to her work schedule so Cleo would take me and the rest of the cousins to museums, zoos, the beach, movies everywhere during hot summers in Chicago.
When I gave birth to my two eldest children, she was the one who picked me up from the hospital. She was always there for me with a kind word, a hug and most importantly, love. When I was a young adult and would be hanging out in the old neighborhood she still lived in, when it got too late for public transportation, she would let me spend the night. She didn’t have to be bothered with me but she chose to. My goodness when I think about the love I received from her, I cry.
On the day of her funeral, I deliberately took the longest route to the funeral home because I didn’t want to be there but I had to. Walking down the hall to where her funeral was being held was the longest walk of my life. It’s been 3 years since she became an ancestor and in some ways, her death was harder on me than my mother’s death because childishly, I really believed that she would live forever.
The above ladies were my blood kin and my other mamas. They loved and nurtured me and I miss them fiercely. But I’m not the only person in the Black community who has or had other mamas who impacted their lives and we need to give these ladies their flowers for being such a huge part of the Black experience. The Black community would have ceased to exist centuries ago if wasn’t for the contributions of these loving, kind, selfless women who loved hard but didn’t a have a problem with busting an irate fool upside the head if necessary. Bow down to the queens in your life. Because I do every day for my ladies who are no longer here but will live forever in my heart.
Men lose their minds at thought of a woman perfectly content with her own company. Because that means that they can’t hold a relationship and a possible marriage over her head along with a passel of brats.
They can’t constantly chant “that’s why you’re single!” to a woman who truly doesn’t give a fuck. Those types of scare tactics doesn’t workon a woman who’s secure in herself and knows that her womanhood doesn’t hinge upon saddling herself with a man not worth two dead flies and children with his fucked up DNA.
For centuries, women have been socialized to believe that their only purpose in life is to get married and spit out the next generation of dysfunctional, unhappy people but after three waves of feminism, women have been taking off the patriarchal blinders and seeing American culture for what it is: a system that hates women and children so many are opting out.
A culture that respected and revered women and children would make it easier for them to exist. It would have a better healthcare system so that women wouldn’t be still dying in childbirth in the year 2021.
A culture that respected and revered women and children would have a national and generous maternity leave for expectant mothers that would allow them to rest and bond with their babies.
A culture that respected and revered women and children would have a nationally funded childcare program in which families wouldn’t be charged college tuition for daycare.
And most importantly, a culture that respected and revered women and children wouldn’t be still trying to force women into having children that they do not want. It’s almost 2022 and certain states in this country are trying to reverse Roe versus Wade, Supreme Court decision that gave women the right to abortion. It’s mind boggling that women who live in a supposedly enlightened, so called superior country are still fighting for autonomy over their own bodies.
So that’s why men fear and despise a happy single woman. They know that these women are free and can’t be subjugated into taking on trash so they try through violence or legislation to keep them in their place as walking wombs.
This summer was supposed to have been a great one but unfortunately, I lost two childhood friends that I loved like sisters in two months. Most people lose contact with their childhood friends as they get older but I have been fortunate that I’m still in contact with the majority.
I spent my teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s with these ladies and was hoping that we would grow old together, sitting on the porch with our canes cussing folks out but it wasn’t meant to be. But as I write this, I’m sitting here smiling through my tears, grateful that I had the privilege of knowing them at all.
So many sisters complain about the lack of friendship amongst Black women but I was truly blessed to have known these ladies. I hope that the ancestors greeted Genial and Mikki with love and I promise to keep them alive with my memories. Because what memories they were❤️❤️❤️❤️
When I went to college, one of the first classes I took was Women and Gender Studies. How could I not resist learning about the history of women since I am a woman? My professor was named Dr. Jean Peterson and she was a cool hippie chick from back in the day, complete with graying jet-black hair to her waist and she was so laid back she was practically horizontal. However, a couple of weeks in her class, I was dismayed to find out she was not a fan of Barbie Dolls because she, as a feminist felt they contributed to low self-esteem issues in young girls in American society.
I was totally amazed by her attitude because I loved and still love Barbie and not once when I was a child thought I would look like Barbie when I grew up. Because cause she was a doll and how could I possibly look like a doll? She wasn’t real. Even at that young age, I had more sense than that. I have been a prolific reader since I was a child and Barbie and friends were props for my overactive imagination. When I was into Greek mythology, my dolls were transformed into Athena, Artemis, and Aphrodite and several of my mother’s silky nightgowns were turned into Greek robes for them. When I read “Gone With the Wind” (at the age of ten), I learned to make hoop skirts for my dolls and reenacted the burning of Atlanta without actually setting the house on fire.
But Dr. Peterson had her reasons. During the course of the class, I learned why Dr. Peterson had issues with Barbie (sexism and the branding of the skinny white chick with impossibly unattainable body) and although I respected her opinion a great deal and she had a PhD and several other degrees, to me, blaming a doll for self-esteem issues in young girls and women was a little too much. I blame parents and society for making young girls and women feel bad because they do not live up to the womanly image that American society has memorialized as the epitome of beauty. Every woman is not slim or tall with blue eyes and long flowing blond hair and guess what? Who gives a fuck? It is hard enough being a woman in a sexist society without driving yourself crazy trying to be something that you are not. A woman has to be happy and secure in her own skin to be truly complete. But I will always love Barbie, Christie, Skipper, Starr, Kelly, Candi, Darci, Sydney and all my girls from childhood. They kept a little girl’s imagination flowing and I will forever thankful to my favorite Plastics.
When looking back at past eras, the 1950s is looked upon by many as an idyllic time in American history. The nuclear family headed by a male breadwinner was the desired norm and televisions shows such as Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy were popular. However, there was a dark side to this lifestyle. Women were treated like second-class citizens and some were living unhappily married because their financial and educational options were limited and they were as dependent on their husbands as their children.
The media, in collusion with the government, and sociologists constantly espoused the virtues of family and children and women, who wanted more out of life were looked upon as freaks of nature. However, some women during that era expressed dissatisfaction with their lives and an inarticulated longing for a life beyond their children and husbands. Some of these women were forced out the workforce after World War II and felt resentment that their only option for financial stability was marriage. This inarticulated longing would lead to a major social upheaval towards the end of the 1950s and would be the beginning of the second-wave feminist movement. This movement caused a shift in family values and altered family structure for future generations to come. The 1950s Family Experiment would be short-lived but fondly remembered.
Several factors lead to the forming of the nuclear family. By the end of the 1940s, the divorce rate dropped sharply; the ages of people getting married fell to a 100-year low; and the birth rate soared. Women dropped out of the workforce as soon as they become pregnant and some young women had two or more children in diapers at once. Also during this time, the education gap between young middle-class men and women increased and job segregation for working women and men peaked. Limited educational and job opportunities for women made them more dependent on marriage for their financial well-being.
Young, newly married couples were encouraged to sever their family ties and put all their emotional and financial eggs in the small basket of the immediate nuclear family. Women were told by experts that all their energies should be used for their husbands and children, not aging parents and other relatives. Psychiatrist Edward Strecker and various colleagues argued American boys were infantilized and emasculated by women who were old-fashioned “moms” instead of modern “mothers”.
Modern mothers placed their parents in nursing homes; old-fashioned mothers took their parents in at the expense of their own “important” nuclear family. A modern mother was not supposed to have friends, a job, or anything or anyone that would take attention from her husband and children. She was also supposed to grant early independence to her male child. It is no wonder that many women who believed in this advice and put it into practice ending up abusing alcohol or tranquilizers over the course of the decade.
Women were encouraged to confine themselves to a very narrow definition of “true” womanhood by a variety of sources such as family education specialists and marriage counselors, columns in women’s magazines, government pamphlets, and above all television. These experts told women during the 1950s that their greatest role on the planet was to be wives and mothers. The role of a “real” woman was to have no interest in a higher education or a career and women were taught by these experts to pity women who had the nerve to want a life beyond being a wife and mother.
Televisions shows such as Donna Reed, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, and Father Knows Best showed women how much easier their lives would be if their families were like those families and the I Love Lucy show warned women about the perils of what happened to a woman who wanted a career or if she schemed behind her husband’s back (Coontz, 38), The mothers on Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet were immaculately dressed with pearls around their necks. Their homes were clean and their children never got into trouble. However, on I Love Lucy, Lucy usually looked terrible by the end of the episode. Her hair was at times standing on top of her head and her clothes filthy from her weekly adventure. Women and their families watched these shows and tried their best to emulate the perfect and bright lives shown to them on a weekly basis.
Noticeably absent from these discussions are the role of Black women during this era. Black women were delegated to the background as housekeepers and nannies, taking care of other women’s children and then going home to take care of their families. So from the beginning, this image of a beautiful, bountiful lady of leisure that keeps her home, children, and herself immaculate was never intended for Black women because Black women never had and were not given those same opportunities. They had to work. But unlike white women, they received help from their extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family member assisted in the raising of children. Many parents left their children with family members when they made the trek to the North during the Great Migration and when they got on their feet, sent for their children and the family members who helped them.
However, towards the end of the 1950s, a dramatic shift occurred. Cultural values changed dramatically and the children of these women found the social hypocrisy of their parents sickening. Many young adults and some of their mothers would march in the streets to protest against sexism, racism, and militarism. Minorities and women began to receive the civil rights that were rightfully due to them and more and more women entered the workforce, forcing a dynamic shift in child rearing practices. By the 1970s, husbands and wives had begun to share household duties and women were no longer bound to their homes.
The concept of family has changed and although there have been some issues; it was ultimately for the best. Women have more rights but divorce is commonplace in current modern society and many children live in one-parent households. Despite the gains of the 1960s, women still face discrimination and do the majority of household work regardless of how many hours they work per week or if they have a partner. But women now have opportunities that would not have been imagined sixty-years ago. Children do not have to see their mothers treated like chattel and America is on the verge of electing the female President of the United States. Nothing remains the same – ever. The constantly changing landscape of the American family owes a lot to the women of the 1950s.