Why men great ‘til they gotta be great?Lizzo, Truth Hurts
This isn’t what I wanted to write about this week. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is on my mind. Black love. I want to write a great love story. I want to live a great love story. I want to see the beautiful chocolate man I like, his electrifying smile, kiss him deeply and then dance with him closely.
The last few days have been anything but a demonstration of collective Black love. I had it hard enough from the world as a whole. This is not the fight I wanted to fight.
This goes beyond Gayle and Snoop.
I am not okay.
Several years ago, I made plans to have dinner in Harlem with three male friends from “the crew” — these are guys that I’ve known for over 25, 30 years. We were supposed to meet at 8 pm. I get there at the appointed time, none of them are there. By 8:20 I’m texting, “where are you?” no answer from our friend in Washington Heights, and the other two were together and coming from Long Island (with traffic about 45 – 60 min. away) and they responded, “we’re still in Long Island, but we’re coming”.
Um… did you think about contacting me as a courtesy to let me know you’re running late? (Narrator voice: “no, they hadn’t”.)
I got a table, ordered a drink. I probably had two. Ordered an appetizer, entree and had dessert. Paid the bill and left. It was now after 9:30 pm. None of them had shown up. As I walked to my car, one of the two who had been in Long Island texted and said, “we’re here now, but we don’t see you”. I gave no response. I was mad, but most of all, I was hurt.
Why men great ‘til they gotta be great?
I waited until midnight just to give them a chance and then went off on all of them in a group text. By that point, not one of them had cared enough to check on me, with an “are you okay”, “did you make it home alright” or just say, “I’m sorry”.
Friend in Washington Heights immediately called after receiving the text and explained that he came home from work, sat down and promptly fell asleep. By the time he’d awoken, he’d assumed we’d been there and left, and figured I was with the other guys, so I was taken care of. The other two didn’t understand why I was so upset, but one gave that kinda apology that is given under duress and the third didn’t think he had anything to apologize for.
I’ve traveled alone in over 20 countries and hundreds of cities. Harlem isn’t dangerous and I’ve been there plenty of times to eat dinner alone. It wasn’t that I was afraid or can’t take care of myself.
It’s that I should’ve felt care and concern from people I consider to be friends, who just happened to men, and didn’t feel protected. Am I not worthy of care, concern or protection? Am I in this thing called life by myself? And it’s repeated itself in various instances in reality but also on social media. Every hurt takes a toll and becomes a death by a thousand cuts.
Why humans great ‘til they gotta be great?
For me? It’s also about being consistent when we talk about community. When we talk about caring about Black women. Black Queens. Protecting Black Girl Magic. It’s about not just being able to drink, laugh and kick it together but coming together in need. In simple need, like my story or with more complicated issues. It’s HOW we resolve the issues that test us.
Think about other public examples that had me or others feeling collectively dismissed or dehumanized in the “community”. I’m of the opinion that women get it harsher, while we make excuses for men who also aren’t perfect.
The reactions to Rihanna and Jenay Rice’s domestic violence cases, R. Kelly’s victims, Chrisette Michele, Wendy Williams, Gloria James, Zoe Saldana, Michele Williams of Destiny’s Child, what people say when Halle Berry ends a relationship, Pam Oliver/Gabby Douglas/Blue Ivy’s toddler hair, Jacob Copeland’s momma (you don’t remember that one, do you? Folks just disparage women, move on and forget them after they’ve put negative energy into the atmosphere) or anyone who could have an opinion you with which you disagree. The way these things have spiraled out of control and some in the community have come after these women and girls with pitchforks is disheartening and far from protective or productive.
It’s okay to critique actions, discourse and art. But let’s employ actual critical thinking skills in doing so.
Let’s be consistent when we talk about community. When we talk about caring about Black women. Let it not just be talk. Let it not just be the women with whom you went to Spelman or Howard. Let it not just be a Zeta that Sigmas care about. Let it not just be folks rallying around a hashtag in lifting up a dead person’s name, but how they interact with the living. Let it not just be, men opting to walk on the side of the street closest to traffic as a sign of chivalry, but having that mentality also carry over into how they deal with women on a regular basis. Protect me always and in all ways, walk by my side always and in all ways. Even when we disagree. Especially when we disagree.
I am not okay. Where is the love?
Why humans great ‘til they gotta be great?… Bring me a higher love.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kimfinite Possibilities – KMS. All rights reserved.