*GET OUT, We Out, Peace Out: Who Did Y’all Think Rachel Meghan Markle Was?

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I don’t know how long this process was in the works, but I in my Katt Williams voice, this is check and checkmate. Prince Harry of Windsor, the Duke of Sussex–with his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, have ‘stepped back’ from their royal duties. Allow me to translate:  “I am leaving as soon as possible.”

Well, played y’all. Well played.

But the thing that I find most amazing is how it was done. Am I mad about this? No, not at all. But I wrote last year, how I was praying for Meghan and Prince Harry.  How I hoped, how I prayed that as formal, as unrelenting as a platform as being a British royal would be, that Prince Harry protect her.

The thing that most Black women are not afforded full privilege of! I remember how I got up and watched the wedding, and how gorgeous she looked, how happy Prince Harry looked–and yet, all of me that is Black and mother, remained coiled. All I could think is, “Don’t let them get her, Harry. Don’t let them get her.”

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'RESPECT Rogue Poledancer @LeratoMannya Prince Harry understands the importance of removing his wife from a toxic situation even when that situation is his family.'

From the press imagining this feud between her and the Duchess of Windsor (Kate Middleton), like they are Fergie and Diana reincarnated, to Prince Harry having to rise up on people that were coming for her, and the coup de gras? Some idiot on Twitter calling Baby Archie a ‘monkey’.

What I need y’all to know is, as woman, as a mother, as a person who occupies that intersection as one whom is Black? It is a miracle that Meghan didn’t burn something down! It is a testament of her grace, and the morality instilled in her that she didn’t become the stereotype of what the world thinks Black women can only be. The glorious thing:  my prayer was answered. Prince Harry protected his wife–with all power he could muster.

It was glorious!

But what I think is so amazing is how shook the world seems to be by their decision! Some men won’t defend their wives and girlfriends to the people at their jobs or crazy family members! So, the world is shook that he didn’t want his wife–HIS WIFE–to be exposed to the same toxicity which contributed to his own mother’s unhappiness? Be for real, y’all. Be for real.

Meghan couldn’t do anything right. She shouldn’t have had a wedding ‘so Black’. She should have worn more make up. She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. Meghan shouldn’t have looked like she did right after having a baby! From what she wore, her baby bump, even what they named their baby! Dear Lord! How much was she supposed to take?

Herein lies the problem:  the world expects Black women to just take that type of abuse because that’s just what we do. Black women are seen as tragically loving mammies whom desire only to serve others. To die in pain with smiles on our faces–like Georgina in GET OUT. But the brilliant Zora Neale Hurston said this, “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” As I continue to live and learn, this quote manifests its truth on a daily basis.

In inhabiting this Black woman body, in encountering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune while inhabiting it,  I have come to three conclusions.

1.) White supremacy tells those that follow it that Black people, Black women, are props. We are to be confronted, controlled, and herded to the pasture of a master narrative.

2.) It scares some white folk when Black women don’t just smile and nod.

3.) In asserting any power over self as a Black woman, you have to be willing to go against what folk want  you to do.

The world wanted Meghan to take her Blackness, or half-Blackness with her–and leave Prince Harry; restore him pristine to be made lily white again. The world that hated Meghan–and perhaps hates her more now–wanted her gone, to reclaim Prince Harry. How dare they–how dare she–become, remain sentient, poised and leave where she was not respected?

How dare she refute all tricks and traps to be controlled by and in a world which only wanted to curse her to her face; devour her behind her back?

How dare Prince Harry do what was mentioned in the movie Belle:  ‘wed the exotic’?

And how dare they plot to leave a platform which is quickly becoming archaic? Add to the fact they see mixed in with the people whom disliked his mother on the best days, and served her avarice as ice on the the worst ones!

I am proud of Meghan.

I am proud of Harry.

I am relieved for Archie.

The joke around the internet is on their tour of North America and Canada, they visited her mother. In being in that space, where there was love being served they couldn’t go back to where there was none. I like to believe that is so. I like to believe that in speaking to her mother, as all Black girls do when life is heavy and dark, she was able to just be Rachel again. Not the world famous/infamous Meghan Markle.

Maybe she was able to emote. She could cry. She could be listened to–and she could plan. I mean the Windsors have a sorted history anyway! Exhibit A:  King Edward whom abdicated for Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American; not to mention he was anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer! Never forget, Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles, married the woman he cheated on Harry’s mother for!

Meghan decided to leave a place where they both were unhappy, to make their way in the world together. Isn’t that what any parent wants for their children? The thing is, no one expected Harry to follow her. No one thought this Black girl from California–with the Black Mama with the nose ring and locks–would be able to pull a Prince from the gilded cage of money and privilege! But, she did. They did. And why not?

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It is glorious to see her still retain all of who she is. I think Princess Diana would have liked Meghan. And I think, she would have told her to leave as well. Remember my dear ones, love is action and power. When harnessed together, it is a force of tremendous good. Besides, the world needs to see Black women own their own space, being intolerant of mistreatment. And if need be an necessary, get all your stuff, and leave towards something greater. The age of the Happy Mammie is over.

 

*Special thanks to Hannah Drake of Write Some Shit who reminded me to weigh in. Love you, Ma’am. 

[Images from top:  instyle.com; author’s Facebook timeline; PageSix.com]

 

 

 

 

 

The Pick Me’s, Wife Schools, Standards & Criteria

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I am not a ‘Pick-Me.’ None of the women I know are ‘pick-me’s. I do not have the strength, time, ability or patience to be a ‘Pick-Me’. When I was actively dating, I wasn’t a Pick-Me! My mother, and father, always wanted me to have some sort of class, decorum and criteria about the men I decided to date. My father, the Urban Prophet Richard Bush, told me two pieces of advice which have guided my dating life:

“Every man you meet, you don’t need to have a baby by.”

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazing what he’ll do for you!”

These two pieces of advice have saved me time, effort and money in certain cases! So, imagine my horror–yes, horror!–at these gorgeous, sentient women doing all they can to conform to what a man wants! I mean I thought the idea of a Wife School was a whole, insane joke–until I saw these presenting ceremonies! Until I saw a Black woman kneeling at the feet of her husband while he ate–and she looked at the floor!

Lookahere, Sis. Do you. I ain’t able. Not at all. But what I need you to understand is, not every woman is built for this. I will never tell my daughters, my nieces, grandchildren, spiritual daughters, they need to be the one to conform, to change to suit the needs of a man. My faith tells me that a man who wants a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

A man who wants a wife, should know what that means! Women are not property–no matter how much sex you pay for, trade for or take. There is no way in all of creation I will tell my daughters to be less than whom they are–or will become–so someone can pick them.

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I get it, Sis. I do! We all want someone to go out with, to make us feel gorgeous, to break out backs on a regular basis. I get it. I do. But at what cost, ma’am?! There are men out here who get off on treating women like this and throwing (errant) Bible at this. Submission, and all that. There are men who are happy to make sport of your devotion–I don’t know how being a side chick/mistress/side-chicking became a whole freelancing career, but that’s toxic patriarchy and internalized misogyny for you.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married, get married, or being with someone. Nothing at all! My issue with Pick-Me culture is it’s the bastard cousin of rape culture. How you ask? Rape culture doesn’t value women. Pick-Me culture tells women that they are only valuable if they have a man/spouse/partner.

Rape culture doesn’t think women need to be valued; their value is only attributed to what they can give–or what can be taken from them. Women are to be owned, possessed, prized only by what can given from them. Pick-Me culture tells women they have no value other/outside of what is ascribed to them.

I cannot. I will not. You cannot make me.

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The woman I am becoming is confident, happy and has a criteria for the men she lets in her world. I am not an easy lay, I don’t need to pay for peen, and I am the first one to say that ‘this wife thing’ is hard. But, I’ll be black damned if I kneel next to my husband why he eats! I will be the biggest fool to dim my light because he can’t stand the heat of it! I would be bigger ass than a herd of mules to allow a man’s opinion to supplant what I think of myself! What part of the game is this? How did I miss this? What was I doing that I missed this whole ho-side chick-wife school movement?

Oh, I know! I was raising children, building a career, being a sister, building a brand, and finishing a degree and dismantling white supremacy with the alphabet and my own superhero Blackness. I ain’t gotta be picked; my life doesn’t depend on being chose. For the women that depend on that? I guess I think I’m doing this woman/wife/Mama thing wrong.

I am in favor of you giving your all to a man you love–whom is willing to give you all of that back! That type of devotion has to be reciprocated. I still believe in love, great sex (built on intimacy!), and the idea that monogamy is still excellent. I believe being a wife is a call, is amazing and is insanely difficult. Building a life with someone is hard. It is constant, and on the best days–amazing. But it does not make me less of a woman to have criteria for suitors, standards for who I share my body with! It does not make me ‘difficult’ for wanting a career, something for ME, outside of my relationship.

I wasn’t raised to be a Pick-Me, bruh.  I chose me first.

 

From The Crates: Intimate Partner Violence

There is something heinous dwelling in a person when they can take the life of someone they were once in a romantic relationship with.

The fact these men, these recent murderous human beings, could take the lives of women they say they love is monstrous. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be glazed over or explained away.

It is deeper than a character flaw.

It it broader than being labeled abusive.

Women have the right to autonomy and self-preservation. We as women have the right to say, “This situation is toxic, harmful and detrimental to my well being and safety. I will not allow it to continue.”

It is beyond wanting a ring back. It is more than vouching for an evil person’s character when they know how to act in public. Every time this happens to a woman, there is a power that leaves the world. There is an essence, purely and beautifully female, that leaves the world. And for what? Only because a man could not trap, trick or own her? For that cause she must perish? And by his hand?

When will we as women matter?

When will our safety matter?

When will our cries, bruises and worries matter?

WHEN WILL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERPETRATED AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN MATTER?

It is beyond wanting a ring back and cannot be cheapened to that! The fact there are men and women that adhere to this logic have no respect or acknowledgement of their own power, autonomy or self-determination!

We must value women, Black women especially, when they say abuse is happening to them. We must not continue the lie that is toxic and hyper masculinity. It is killing us. They are killing us!

How long will blood be the demand for those whom cannot fathom they are not the chosen? Yet, in not being chosen, their maleness doesn’t die. Perhaps these perpetrators, these man-cloaked animals, will remember a “No,” will not kill you, nor define your worth as a man.

Only you as your own man will. The power of that determination solely marked and forged by your character. Perhaps it is a show of the fallen world where the one whom is to protect, love and shelter, in his twisted form, only kills steals and destroys.

-(c)JBHarris, 2018

For My Daughters-Lesson 5: Struggle Love Is Not Love

 

Babygirls-

I want to you to know one crucial thing:

You cannot make someone love you. 

Here’s another one for free:

You should not have to make someone love you. 

 

If I can have you understand just how precious you are, and how amazing you will become–I think I will have done half of my job as your mother. Knowing these two irrefutable things about yourself as women–as Black women–this will allow you to be dynamic. Also, rendering you immune to the thirst to be chose!

There is this concept a friend of mine came up with. Honestly, she may not have invented the term, but for the case, I’ll say she did. She called it: struggle love.

What is this, you  ask?

This is the type of love that is toxic, dear ones. It is this promoting of the idea if you ‘just hang in there’ it’ll be better–when there is no reasonable hope of such! Now, don’t get me wrong:  every relationship has bad patches! Every relationship has moments (moments!) where you don’t like or can’t stand each other. In those temporal moments, you may have the choice to ride out the bad, knowing, seeing where the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not dark all the time! But dark times should not be ongoing! Those moments should be few and far between.

There were men that I chased, hoping they would see how beautiful and capable I was. There were relationships that I stayed in far too long, hoping it would get better. But better never came. See, what people don’t tell you is that ‘struggle love’ takes from you. It saps your youth, strength and focus. It takes or sabotages opportunities! This is what I heard from a man that  tried to keep, that it took over three years to leave:

“I don’t want you to go out of town for school, because I would miss you so much.”

And I listened. The thing behind that? He didn’t want me to be far from him, because he was insecure. And sometimes insecurity in the wrong man leads to controlling behaviors. Or to be clingy and manipulative.

Another man I tried to date wanted to change who I was. Hated how smart I was, that I kept myself up, and that I was ambitious. It was odd:  the same thing that drew him to me, was the very thing that made him hate me.

Struggle love props up this idea of the happily ever after at all cost! It promotes this idea that everything that makes you valuable as a woman is wrapped in being with man! While doing whatever it takes to keep him! It involves ignoring or tolerating outrageous, abusive behavior because ‘he’s my man, and you just don’t understand.’ No!

If you have any inkling; any type of ‘something told me’, any funny feeling? Believe it. This is the Almighty protecting you, warning you, from something that can hurt or trap you. The thing is, my loves, a hurt is something you can be be mended or healed from. A trap? That takes a while to get out of, and may leave scars or residue. With that residue, along with the hurt? This may make you susceptible to evil, manipulative people.

My dearest ones, my heartbeat in two places, I want better for this for you! I want you to remember you are a Queen. You are entitled to be both beautiful and ambitious. You are allowed to manifest your own destiny! You have the right to tell a man ‘no’! And that is a complete sentence! You are allowed to possess all pieces that make you formidable and feminine. Change for no one. Change for no man. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t fix something, or everything! You are entitled to leave any relationship when you believe that you had done all you can. It does not make you less than a woman to be single or walk away from what no longer suits you! Own your power and person, my loves.

You have the right to have healthy, lasting love. You do not, will not, have to give your body to boy, a man (or another woman) not be valid, valued or loved. Love is not a struggle. It is given. That which can be given, and given freely, is never a struggle.

I love you beyond the stars, to the moon and back.

Always,

Mommy

 

 

For My Daughters-Lesson 2: Value

Dearest Ones:

The world outside my door will confront you on all sides. It will try and tell you what you are not, what you will never possess, and need to attain to be whole. What I want you to know, what I need you to remember, is your personal value. I want you to remember that value–is priceless.

I never want you to sell yourself short. I never want you to think your value–how you see your own self–should be or is determined on something as ordinary as how you look. Or what you wear. I want you to never fear what people think of you, or have your worth be tied to what people think!

I want you, my dearest hearts, to remember worth and value are internal work. They come from, and spring up from what you  know of yourself; the things you know of yourself! You have been created for success, beauty, travel and ambition! I want you to embrace all that life has for you. Regardless of what the  world thinks:  they don’t matter!

The world outside my door is fickle, forgetting and feral in matters of the evaluating of what is feminine, girl and woman. You cannot depend of the opinion of the collective, any collective to determine who you are. Or what you must do! As young women of your mother’s blood and ilk, I want you to remember who you are.

I want you to discover the things about you which are different and unique.

I want you to be steady in the things which make you distinct. Your interests be determined by your own counsel and desires. I want you both to be confident in what makes you–you.

There are things about this life which desire to uproot and change fundamental things about you. As you mother, I will give you a key to withstand these onslaughts when they come. The way these sling and arrows of outrageous fortune will not win is when you know who you are–and refuse to change. You resist transforming when people are uncomfortable.

My dearest ones, I know who you are. So you must never forget.

 

Love,

Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daddy Lessons #2- Dating

 

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

This is the simplest, boldest piece of advice I have every gotten in regards to dating and dealing with men to date. My father had the habit of telling me this type of advice on a regular basis even when I was still considering boys as gross. However, the truth of this statement? Unparalleled. Armed with this secret confidence, I began to be a constant observer of male behavior.

I began to watch how he and my mother interacted. I began to watch how he treated her, and how she responded in kind. I watched how he did things for her, just because he wanted to. Or because they needed to be done! He got her flowers because he wanted her to have them! Not  because he had done something wrong.

My father loved my mother. Completely. It wasn’t until he died, and I really began dating, that I saw how completely he loved her. That kind of love, I know now, is rare. And worked for. The cooler thing is he liked my mother, as well as loved her. They still went out and did things together. They made time to talk and laugh and be a couple–independent of the three of us.

I took their marriage, their relationship, as a roux–the bare minimum that I would accept as a partner. I expected to be treated well. I expected to be listened to and respected. I expected to be valued. When I ran across a young man that couldn’t or wouldn’t? I ended the relationship.

Now, have I always gotten that formula right? Nope, not at all. I chased me that I thought like me, and it came to naught. I stayed in crazy situations longer than I should, because I gave people time to change. Hell, I stayed with my ex-husband waaaaay longer than I should have because I knew (or thought) if I was a little more patient he would change. This has been my Achilles heel:  I love too hard. I give too much. And I sometimes am way too patient in anticipating a human being change. But perhaps that is the maturity in my father’s statement; I waited to see if like would surface, resurface, or how often it would surface.

On the other hand, I have been on the reciprocating end of affections of young men that I, too, was crazy about. This young men that decided to call me just to tell me ‘Good Morning.’  Who opened doors for me. That got me the flowers. Gave me money to ‘just have’. Even two of them decided they could not live without me and decided to make me a wife.

This quote gave me the awareness of what being treated well is. This portion of wisdom allowed me call crazy what it is. It allowed me to know when relationships should begin or end. It allowed me become cognizant of my time. To value my body. My skills. My talents. It allowed me to recognize what I bring to any situation. It allowed and allows me to know if those attributes are not appreciated, I don’t have to ask for permission to leave. I can just go.

The best thing my Daddy ever gave me was a sense of self. From that sense, he gave his oldest daughter to knowledge that I was special. If any man didn’t see me as that, or able to love me past the pretty, I didn’t need him.