I know you’re being pulled in a lot of different directions. I know that you don’t want to disappoint me, but you don’t want to look like a baby to your friends. I know that sometimes it’s easier to go with the crowd than create a conflict. I know that sometimes it’s easier to let someone else take the lead rather than make a tough decision. Sometimes it might seem like if you let someone else set the pace, then they’re responsible for whatever happens.
I know sometimes it seems that way, but it’s not. People are generally going to treat you the way you allow them to treat you. So YOU have to decide how that’s going to be. YOU have to decide what your expectations are for yourself, and YOU have to communicate those expectations. If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself being treated in ways that you may not like, and in situations you don’t want to be in.
Your friend found herself in a compromising situation today. She had the power to have completely changed that dynamic. It’s not going to be that long before you girls are dating, and it really bothers me to see a trend developing where 11yo girls are letting 11yo boys make decisions about how their bodies are going to be touched. I hope you never give your power to a boy that way.
You looked surprised when I said you have power. You’re becoming a woman, and that’s the most incredible power. Someday your body will be able to create and sustain a life. Someday THIS BODY will make a miracle. Your body is the source of your power. It’s yours and yours alone to decide who you will share it with. Intimacy is a gift, one to be shared with someone that you care about, not something to be taken lightly by someone who just wants to see how far he can go or what he can get away with.
As we move out of the early years, through the middle years, into the teen and young adult years, I wonder how the objectification I wrote about years ago will impact my children. As they move from hearing stereotypes like “Mixed kids/babies are SOOO cute!” (I’m sorry, but they’re not all cute) to “Mixed guys/girls are so HOT” (or exotic or striking), I wonder how to prepare them for the harsh reality of interracial dating, which will be much different for them than it was for me. I think it’s obvious in “Post Racial America” how deeply stereotypes are imbedded in our subconscious; when you couple that with a pop culture that objectifies women in general, particularly women of color, and romanticizes abusive relationships (from cliques to intimate partner abuse to domestic violence), I find myself worrying more about teen dating violence than teen pregnancy.
As our children grow older, and going beyond the social interactions of elementary school, what do relationships look like from junior high through adulthood, if our children don’t feel comfortable setting boundaries?
Thinking specifically about my children’s African ancestry, I’m reminded of an article I read titled Trying to Break A ‘Culture of Silence’ on Rape: Group Part of Movement Tailoring Recovery Efforts to Minority Women where psychologist Carolyn West explains,
Going back to Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?, author Donna Nakazawa writes,
Biracial girls are often considered beautiful objects of curiosity because of their exotic looks, this attention does not necessarily translate into dating partners.
I saw this blog yesterday and like blogs often do, it really struck a chord in me.
If I had a dime for every time the misses and I got into a heated debate or argument or whatever passes for verbal combat then I would have a lot of dimes, much more than I would care to have. And there are times when sparks are flying that all kinds of bombshells are dropping and things will be brought up that are totally out of left field. Sometimes nerves are rubbed raw and emotions bubble up to the surface from seriously dark depths. And after the argument reaches is climax, slowly things start to subside. It might take a while to unload some adrenaline. Sometimes it takes a little time to push away bad feelings. But ultimately we are able to put everything back into perspective and move on. We’re trying to raise a kid and maintain a commitment to each other. We don’t have much of a choice. Besides, the value of our relationship is worth more than these arguments. I have to admit, she’s much better at it than I.
Brotherpeacemaker is talking about his relationship with his spouse and a somewhat rhetorical argument with a fellow blogger. It just so happened that the day before I saw this, I got into an argument with someone I care very deeply for, and I’m still confused and disoriented by it. I’m not sure what happened on his end, but my agent orange kicked in. By Agent Orange, I’m only partly talking about the ‘dissociative flashback episodes’ experienced by war veterans, in which ‘the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced’. Of course, for me it’s not a literal experience as a military veteran, but more of a pop culture reference (see # 10 in Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter). I was in a relationship for a very long time with someone who was emotionally abusive. I realized far too late that the relationship had become a war zone. In the 15 months since that relationship ended, I’ve realized that my ex’s emotional manipulation had a much bigger impact on me than I’d have thought possible. Read more…
Have I ever mentioned how I love Southern Boys? So I’ve been “single” all of two hours and I meet Mr. Tennessee.
Now, I was at Reggae Night the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. At the club formerly known as Mingles, my old stomping grounds, and where, once upon a time, I let Ro catch me. Also where you can probably find 75% of the African community on any given Sunday night and even more if it’s a three day weekend… half of whom know Ro and a good portion of which are related to my daughters in some kinda convoluted way. So even if I’d been ready to meet someone new, Reggae Night at Mingles is the LAST time and place I’d go to do it. But as usually happens when you’re out not thinking about boys… one manages to attract their attention.
I noticed him noticing me, and I intentionally did not make eye contact. When I danced, I danced alone or with other girls. When I walked to and from the dance floor, I kept my eyes down so as not to risk looking anyone in the eye. But later on in the evening I kinda got caught in the edges of a bar fight and afterwards he came over to see if I was ok. When he asked if we could talk, I explained I had been separated less than a week. He asked, “Was that your choice or his fault?” and I was a goner. Anyway, I spent the next two weeks exchanging text messages all day with Mr. Tennessee like a high schooler and then spending two or three (and sometimes six) hours on the phone with him at night. I think the heavy infatuation may be wearing off, so I’m not sure entirely where things are going to wind up. He’s been sick this week and kinda withdrawn. On one hand, the sane and rational part of me knows he’s really sick because I took him to the ER last night… the bad thing is, I’m not sure if my head is in a place where I can deal with the give and take of a relationship without internalizing every bad mood and driving myself crazy with… is it me? something I did? blah blah blah blah blah. I already have one moody man in my life that I’m kinda stuck with. Which really sucks, because I do really like this guy.
But in other funny news, by Thursday of that week someone who works in the warehouse here at the hangar had called my desk to compliment me, feel me out on my marital status, and invite me out for drinks. Now, I don’t fish off the company pier, but that was one of the nicest phone calls I’ve gotten at work in a long, long time.
You must not know ’bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter fact, he’ll be here in a minute (baby)
You must not know ’bout me
You must not know ’bout me
I can have another you by tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second get to thinkin’
You’re irreplaceable (irreplaceable)?
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I experienced what I may think may go down on record as being the most utterly humiliating moment of my life. Background: Toya, my best friends niece, has two kids that go to MLK and one that goes to the daycare Daija goes to. Apparently, a woman dropping off her grandson fell out of her car and had a heart attack in the parking lot that morning, and Toya was there dropping off her kids at the time. I picked up Daija first Wednesday night and Toya asked me if I knew anything about it because she was really worried about the family. I know a lot of people at the school so I told her I’d see what I could find out, and headed over tothe school to get Tyler & Halle. Now, by the time I get to the school, usually the only people there are the custodial staff since the office closes at 4PM. So I see one of the custodians and asked him about it. We talked a little about getting ready for the holiday and a little about how unfortunate that family situation was, etc. The kids saw me pull up and came over and just as they were walking up, he commented ‘I never see your husband.’ I was kinda taken by surprise, and replied ‘No, you probably wouldn’t.’ He asked, ‘Why is that?’ and I just looked at him, and he said ‘Oh, you’re not married’ and something about my ring, which I didn’t really think looked like a wedding band but I guess these days it’s hard to tell. But I digress… I of course there is this huge pregnant pause; I didn’t know what to say in response to that. And in this huge, pregnant pause, my daughter, the one I should have chloroformed at birth, opened her sweet, angelic mouth and said with a giggle, ‘you two look like you’re in love.’ And I felt my face turn purple and after a moment of stunned silence he asked, ‘what did she say?’ and I announced it was time for us to go and just started walking. Halle had already turned her attention to arguing with her brother and in this cacophony of noise, he tried to ask me if we could talk sometime and I just nodded like the village idiot. And a week or so later he did ask for my number. He’s a nice guy but he’s in his early twenties. (sigh) He told me right before my birthday he was dying to spend some time with me. I told him that what didn’t kill him would make him stronger. He’s sweet, but I just don’t see anything coming of it. I feel kinda bad now because I don’t know how to tell him I’m just not interested. If he was five years older, I would probably go out with him, but the difference between 31 with three kids, a dog and a mortgage and 23 with no responsibilities to anyone other than yourself is just too much of a stretch.
I went out Friday night (part of my efforts to move on). I had fun, was on pins & needles waiting for Roro to show up at the club but he didn’t. I met a guy, Mark, who was very nice, gave me his phone number (and didn’t ask for mine, 10 points, buddy!) and didn’t grope me on the dance floor. Tree was there, however (Roro’s BF) and I am surprised that he hasn’t told Roro he saw me, and even more surprised that if he did, Roro hasn’t said anything to me. And except for calling me Thursday wanting tickets, he hasn’t called at any inappropriate times. Of course, I find it interesting that since I told him to leave me alone and that he needs to spend time w/Halle on his own he hasn’t been by to pick her up. Saturday afternoon when he finally got in touch with me he wanted to know where we’d been, that he had wanted to come get her. Of course, he never called my cell phone, it just so happens I was two miles away from his house at the Chinese Cultural Festival and could have easily dropped her off. Same thing Sunday, he called in the afternoon while she was napping. He needs to get it through his head that he can’t just wing through anymore. He needs to make reservations. Our time is valuable.