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)?
Vent I: Bead Thingamabobs
OK, I have no idea if that’s the ‘technical’ name for them, but remember the other week when I went to Mid-K and got the scarves? Wound up going back for satin bonnet thingies (work WAY better, btw) and bought a ton of beads, as well as this super-size, super flexible, thingamabob to thread hair thru the beads with. It’s soooo much better than the bitty little threaders that come with the beads, not just because it’s more flexible, but because you can fit more beads on it if you want to thread a lot of beads.
So I let Daija have the bead threaders that came with the beads, cuz they’re pretty useless and she wanted them (they had flowers on the end).
Guess what I can’t find? My super duper thingamabob, OR any of the rinky dink thingamabobs.
Vent II: My name is not Mapquest
Some of you know about Ro and his sense of direction (or lack thereof) from other rants. I find it irritating that he’s lived in Phoenix for as long as he has and seems to have no sense of direction or where things are in relation to each other. I swear on Herbie’s dear departed soul I was ready to wring his neck earlier. He keeps calling me to ask me how to get from the west side to a car rental place I’ve never actually gone to, but that he was at just a week ago when he got this rental car he was returning tonight. And even more disturbing, the place he needs to take it is less than half a mile from the west entrance of (drum roll please) THE FUCKING AIRPORT. Like he doesn’t know how to get there?!?!?! Quit calling, I WAS AT WORK AN HOUR LATE ***AGAIN*** AND I REALLY NEED TO NUKE THESE LEFTOVERS or LISTEN TO SOMEONE READ or CHECK SOMEONE’S HOMEWORK or maybe just TAKE A PISS BREAK, something I don’t get all that often these days.
Halle is getting tooth #7! She’s getting pretty steady on her feet as long as she doesn’t go too fast. And Tyler was so well behaved during the children’s service at church yesterday! He is usually such an attention hog that he speaks out during the story or he and his little buddy will start horsing around together. He just sat and listened and kept his hands to himself, no fidgeting or anything, just sent me some smooches. I am so proud of him! Read more…