Men To Mend

Why are you trying to fix it?

Usually people tell you how to get married, how to find that perfect partner, in fact, there are probably thousands of books on that subject but this is not one of those books blog posts. On the contrary, this post is about telling you how to let go, how to leave that man who has been making your life a living hell and how to stay and be happy as a single woman. Doesn’t sound enticing? Well, that’s because this post is exactly written with you in mind. Let’s get this straight, I am not advocating for #TeamSingle and am in no way suggesting that single life is the overall best alternative. I am, however, advocating for #TeamHappy and am boldly suggesting that sometimes, as women, we stay and suffer in bad relationships just so we don’t have to be single. You may want to leave the relationship but it seems as if some invisible force keeps pulling you back in. Ashanti made melody to this kind of ‘situationship’ with her hit song when she said, “…see my days are cold without you and I’m hurting while I’m with you and when my heart can’t take no more I keep on running back to you..” If you want to have any shot at a happy and fulfilling life, then making the decision to leave him and sticking to it may be the best decision you will ever make in your entire life. No regrets. No bitterness.

You may ask what gives me the authority to write about this. Why should anyone listen to me? Though I opted for a Political Science degree instead of a degree in Counselling or Psychology, my experience as a friend, as a girlfriend and also as an ex give me the authority. I have been in relationships and I’ve been out of them. I have been all stages of single: miserably single, angrily single, sadly single, depressingly single and lastly, and wholly rewarding, happily single. I’ve heard many relationship stories, listened to my friends cry, (and I have cried on their shoulders as well) and I have realized a common thread. Hence, my authority is EXPERIENCE- mine and that of others. I’m telling you what you might not want to hear but what you will need to hear to move forward. There are just some relationships that aren’t worth saving. There’s nothing worse than to be tied to someone who doesn’t understand your destiny, someone who is abusive physically and/or verbally, or someone who just doesn’t feel the same way about you (anymore). I’ve said to my girlfriends that I wholeheartedly believe that until you have experienced true happiness alone/as a single woman, you will never be happy in a relationship that doesn’t involve you having to compromise almost sacrificially. What do I mean? The mind stretched by a new experience can never return to its old dimensions. Similarly, when you have experienced real happiness, it’s hard to ever be satisfied with anything less because there will always be that constant yearning to get back to that place or previous level of happiness. What some people do though is, in order to be ‘happy’, they compromise even to the point that they lose the very essence of themselves. They have smiles on their faces but their ‘happiness’ is counterfeit. It is only a façade.

On another note, there are some ladies who have had such a long history of bad relationships that they have become immuned or so accustomed to the pain that they would seemingly not know how to function without it. Some women actually don’t know what a good relationship entails as they have no immediate point of reference. Others may believe that they don’t deserve anything good and, as such, aren’t able to accept when good things or people appear in their lives. They are so used to the bad that it is as if they are out of place and not in their element without the bad relationship as a part of their life. I’m reminded of a television show that I watched where this man had been imprisoned most of his whole life and was to be released back into society yet he suffered with feelings of anxiety. As much as he considered freedom to be a good thing which would bring with it the opportunity to live how he chose, he was still anxious as he didn’t know exactly what to expect outside of prison walls. Prison life was more familiar and, as such, it didn’t seem that bad to him. The ‘evil’ he knew was better than the ‘good’ he didn’t know.

That’s exactly what it’s like when you know you need to let go and move on but you’re afraid of the unknown living single. Queens, let us not get trapped into that kind of thinking. I know that you share good times together, I know he has some good qualities and there was possibly a time when all was going great *insert other excuses here* but things have changed. It’s not that way anymore. Face the facts. He’s showing you how he feels about you with every action and IN-ACTION. Believe him. Get out now! Let it go! Stay single. You don’t have to succumb to your fear of never being able to find a good man or another man. Men love happy and purposeful women. It’s when you are happily single, living your life, focused on pursuing your dreams and becoming the best version of yourself that you’ll have more than enough options pursuing you. Don’t lose focus on what’s important- your happiness.

Have you ever looked back at your life and your past relationships and said “WTF?” It was while taking a pee on a well needed bathroom break that I somehow had my “what the fuckdge?” moment. I remembered how I had overstayed in a relationship plagued with infidelity and disrespect. WTF? Yes, that’s right, and I could go into all the excuses and explanations about how you had to be in the situation, know the full story and the details of why and how that happened to understand, but I won’t. Because just as wrong stupid as it sounds to you now, that’s how it hit me while taking this pee. I had stayed in a dysfunctional relationship for years all in the name of ‘love’. After I write this, I may as well hide my face because even though I was the one in the relationship, sometimes it’s not until you are sharing your situation with someone and you hear it out loud that you actually realize how stupid your actions were. You begin to wonder how a smart girl queen like yourself could play the fool for someone who wasn’t even worth it… or probably just wasn’t ready. Either way, how could I have subjected myself to living miserably?

And then it dawned on me how many times I’ve looked in from the outside on other people’s relationships and said, “How does she put up with that?”, “If that were me, I’d leave” or “One girl cya suh fool” But when I was in a situation where I should have left, I battered my esteem by putting up with too much bullsh*t for way too long. Queens, this is what bothers me about us. Why do we subject ourselves to bad relationships? How can a seemingly sensible Queen invite a joker man into her life and then, allows this man to make her do things she wouldn’t normally do, accept things she wouldn’t normally accept and bring out a side in her she is embarrassed even to remember? And then I begin to feel eternally grateful for my experiences and lessons that have brought me to this point of growth and happiness. I’ve learned that YOU determine your happiness by the decisions YOU make. You need to get that joker off your throne and make room for the King that God wants you to build an empire with. It is far better to stay single than to be miserable in a relationship. Why do you ignore your intuition and gut feelings? Why do you foolishly forgive? Why are you trying to fix what you know should stay broken? Contrary to the belief that you need someone to complete you, it actually takes two whole (complete) persons to make a relationship whole. Stay Single. Take this free alone time to become whole- to heal, mend, meditate, exercise, connect with friends, read positive books, pursue your goals, travel, explore, love (yourself), and learn new things. And wouldn’t it be nice if you continued doing all those things that make you happy whether or not, or even after, you found Mr. Right? You need to know that being ‘Happily Single’ is not an oxymoron. In fact, it’s just as possible, even if not as common, as being ‘Miserably Married’ after two years is. Stop focusing so much on men and start focusing more on MENDING.

Love & Blessings,

Queen Stacia.

Thanks for reading. Please follow and SUBSCRIBE to my blog and get updated when there’s a new post by clicking the ‘subscribe’ button on the page.

Follow me on Instagram: @naturaliconbeauty

Personal IG: @staciadavidson

Like me on Facebook: Click Here.

image
image
image
image

Credits:

Photo 1: LM Photography

Photo 2: Dash Photography

Photo 3-4: Nickii Photography

Make up:

@mz_xeri – photos 1-2

@ms.yelad_artistry.realntrue – photos 2-4

Black Hair Matters.

“We have outgrown slavery, but our minds are still enslaved to the thinking of the Master race. Now take these kinks out of your mind, instead of out of your hair.”– Marcus Garvey

All hair is NOT created equal. That’s the lye lie they are still trying to force into our heads. It is a sad day when the hair that naturally grows out of a person’s head is deemed unacceptable. I remember some 20 years ago having a conversation with a childhood friend who was telling me that it was against her school rules to comb her hair in more than 3 or 4 cornrows/braids. What was the logic behind this rule? I think she had said combing it in anything more than 4 braids would be akin to looking like a ‘Rasta’. But don’t quote me on that. Nevertheless, I found this rule weird and offensive since this was a school with a predominantly black student populace. Braiding is not only a way for Black people to show off our hairstyles and creativity but it is also a means of having one less thing to worry about while getting ready for school each morning. Since cornrows can last for at least a week once proper night time ‘tie head’ protocols are followed, this hairstyle is expedient. This rule posed a problem for my friend who not only had very short naturally kinky hair but who was a Christian in the Pentecostal faith. Her faith (church rules) prevented her from processing her hair and her school rules basically made it impossible for her to wear her hair in its short naturally kinky state. Since her hair would need at least 10 cornrows to be even considered “neat” by their standards, you could see that she was in a predicament of sorts. Though having never heard of Walter Rodney and Umar Johnson or knowing very little besides the names of Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X at the time, I still knew there was something ridiculously wrong with that picture.

It was a pointed display of arrogance towards most manifestations of non-European culture. A prominent Girls’ school in the capital Kingston & St. Andrew preventing a female student from wearing natural braids and cornrows- hairstyles synonymous with the African texture- is a school that had no intention of catering to the needs of its black students who by nature were blessed with short kinky hair. For me, this was institutionalized Racism and social manipulation at most; discrimination partly entrenched in the school rules under the guise of instilling discipline.

image

“Who taught you to hate yourself? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the colour of your skin?” Malcolm X

Fast forward almost 25 years later, Kingston College High School students in Jamaica are sent home, on an exam day, for wearing fades and mohawks. Black girls in the Bahamas are sent home for Twist Outs. Black girls in Barbados are sent home for Afros; And Bantu Knots (Chiney Bumps) are deemed inappropriate for school.  Some may say that the students are at fault. They know the school rule and should have, therefore, adhered to it. After all, as one teacher puts it, “school rule is school rule. Abide or get out!” But I’ll address that later. For now, I have a deeper concern.

Responding to accusation that the school is lenient with students of Indian and Chinese orientation, the Kingston College Principal said,” students expect them to bald their head like mine but it can’t be that the same rule applies for obvious reason. We have to use our discretion.” It is more worrying than hypocritical that the same authority that sees it fit to suspend black boys for wearing Fades, have seen it fit to use their discretion biases when it comes to students of Indian, Asian and Caucasian descent wearing the exact hairstyles deemed inappropriate when worn by their black schoolmates. What are these ‘obvious reasons’ to which he alludes? Apparently fades are only appropriate when worn by Indians, Caucasians, Asians, Soldiers, Presidents and Prime Ministers… but NOT black students.

image

Why is it, in 2016 in Jamaica, over 17O years after the ‘Abolition of Slavery’ and ‘Emancipation’ and 54 years after ‘Independence’, do we still think that the afro, bantu knots (chiney bumps), twist outs and other hairstyles commonly worn by African women are ‘unsuitable’, ‘unprofessional’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘unrespectable’, ‘unruly’, ‘unkempt’, ‘untidy’, and ‘ungroomed’? Why are we still sending home black boys for wearing fades and mohawks? Why is the African hair not seen as ‘good hair’? We have been devalued through our history of enslavement. Yet we have, from generations to generations, continued to teach our own, whether through blatant, subliminal and even subtle messages, that we are inadequate and that all hair is NOT created equal. Some are more equal than others.

 “This was my first really big step toward self- degradation: when I endured all of that pain, literally burning my flesh to have it look like a white man’s hair. I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed to believe that the black people are “inferior”- and white people “superior”- that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created bodies to try and look “pretty” by white standards.”- Malcolm X

Some years ago while attending High School, I was 13 at the time in 3rd form (9th grade). I usually travelled to school with my friend’s mom. Those traffic mornings led for great family conversations. I just listened. It was one of those mornings that my friend asked her mom if she would be allowed to process (cream) her hair for her Birthday. She was going to be 14 and that was the only gift she wanted. After negotiating with her mom the entire trip to school, her mom agreed that if she did well for the semester and got straight A’s, she would grant her that wish. ‘Creaming’ her hair was going to be her ‘reward’ for good grades and behaviour.

A friend of mine was in a long distance relationship and hadn’t seen her boyfriend in person for months. She had started her journey back to natural hair and had told me how she loved how her natural hair was looking and how excited she was at the sight of ‘new growth’. Her boyfriend was coming to visit and she gladly awaited the opportunity to spend time with him and show off her beautiful Bantu Knots. For those couple of days that he was going to be in the island, I knew I wasn’t going to see her. But after he left and she visited me, I was in for a surprise. She had exchanged her kinky curly natural crown with processed hair. When I asked why, she said her boyfriend didn’t like how she looked with hair natural. I was disappointed in her decision but I guess no one wants to feel “unpretty” especially to the one person who should be calling you beautiful. Her opinion of her hair didn’t matter because his opinion mattered more. Truth is, I don’t fully blame men for their opinions and preferences.  Men are very visual beings, and they unconsciously learn to define beauty by what society instills in them at a very young age.

Growing up in a Pentecostal Church, we were forced to keep our hair natural. With hopes of straightening my hair, I started questioning my mom as to the Biblical foundation of such rule. I tried to argue that there were no biblical grounds for such rule and even tried to negotiate terms but my mom was adamant that it wasn’t going to happen; At least, “not in my house!”  I kept nagging her about this stupid church rule until she called one of the Elders of the Church who I highly respected to talk to me about it thinking that it would have quelled my ‘sinful’ desire for the ’creamy crack’. As my mother handed me the house phone, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I said “Hello”. It was then that I heard a stern recognizable voice say,  “Are you telling GOD that you don’t like the way He made you and that you don’t think He made you properly or beautiful?” Pausing just enough to muster the confidence of Johnnie Cochran, I quickly backfired, “No, I’m telling Him I loved how He made me. I just want to look even more beautiful.” I don’t remember how the rest of that conversation went but, at that time, I actually felt proud of my response. I had made my case.

In retrospect, my reply only confirmed how deeply rooted the psychological legacy of slavery was and how successful Europeans have been in destroying our self worth and confidence by pushing their standards of beauty on us. Why would straight hair make me more beautiful? At least, why did I think it would? Why wasn’t my Kinky Curls enough?

I’ve had three friends with natural hair entered Miss Jamaica Beauty Pageants. They all entered in different years and they don’t know each other. They all passed the elimination round of the competition and made it to the finals wearing their natural curls. They all seemed like self confident and secure ladies who love their natural hair yet they all decided to ‘alter’ or ‘hide’ their natural curls whether through temporary straightening measures or in an up do. After questioning each of their motives,  I realized that the decision had less to do with what would complement the style of their gowns and  more to do with the thought that wearing their naturally kinky curly hair out for the evening gown segment was inappropriate as they needed a hairstyle that was more ‘suitable’, ‘formal’, ‘sophisticated’ and ‘appropriate’.  It’s not a coincidence that they all viewed wearing their natural hair out, for such a ‘distinguished’ and ‘special’ occasion, in the same light. Those with hair closer to Indian, Asian or Caucasian textures let their hair out for the evening gown segment all the time. There’s not even an inclination in their minds that this could be inappropriate. So why then would they think that wearing their naturally kinky curly hair out wasn’t evening gown worthy? Why did they think it was inadequate and not fitting for a formal occasion?

I told all these stories not to declare how many friends I have but rather to highlight how different persons, of different ages, from different backgrounds, who don’t know each other could hold similar demeaning perceptions or convictions regarding their hair.

We had to learn it from somewhere. This internalized form of racism is an invisible presence in our psyches, and some of us don’t even realize that it’s a factor in how we perceive ourselves and others. Thus, for instance, my friend’s boyfriend could think his attraction to straight long hair is just a ‘matter of taste’, and I could articulate that ‘creaming’ my hair would make me ‘prettier’. It’s a matter of identity, self-worth and self-acceptance. That is why I can’t agree with the notion that rules are just rules and, as such, should be blindly followed.. Rules are NOT just rules. Rules are a reflection of society’s standards, values and fears. How we view ourselves and others are directly related to how we act. When we continue to enforce rules that either blatantly reinforce or express subtle undertones of self hatred and discrimination towards non-European traits, we are teaching our children values that promote a mindset that there is no room for the idea of naturally kinky haired black beauty.  And we continue the cycle from generations to generations if those rules aren’t changed.

  

image

image
image

image

image

image

image

A Part 2 will be posted this week which will offer ‘solutions’ as I didn’t want to make this post too long 🙂

Remember to Subscribe and share this post with a friend.

Love & Blessings,

Queen Stacia.

Follow on Instagram: @naturaliconbeauty

Personal IG: @staciadavidson

Like on Facebook: Click Here

*Not all images are property of the blog