Afrostastically Single: Holiday Version

I feel like the holiday season almost magnifies my singleness. I really did not ask for it to be magnified. I have actually been quite content about my singleness. Mostly, I have been very focused on grad school, work and church. I like to say that I will not be accepting applications for a husband until 2017. Until then, I don’t have the energy or time for counterfeits. If you haven’t read my blog posts  “Afrotastically Single: Part 1” and “Afrostastically Single: Part 2,” please do so! You will understand my current mindset.

As I am human, I have had some fleeting thoughts about my state of singleness. First, I have thought: “It would be nice to go ice skating with someone.” Yes, I know that I can go ice skating with one of my female friends, but it is not the same. I mean, will one of my female friends ask me if I want a cup of hot chocolate and buy it for me? Can I act all shy and giddy? Can I have those silly butterflies in my tummy?

The answer is: NO! NO! and NO!

Second, I have some thoughts about being single at holiday events. If you have ever been single at a holiday event, you tend to feel out of place. And I know that everyone has felt that awkwardness at some point in their lives. In the last few years, I have gone to family gatherings in which I have been one of the few folks without a boo boo or a child. Now, I am not asking for a boo boo or a child right now. I just want to point out that it gets old when you continue to bring your single self to the festivities. Couples are chatting and taking pictures. Kids are running around and screaming. Then, there is single self chilling with her mama. It’s really not that bad..I am exaggerating. I have to be honest though; I do wait for the day that I will be able to bring my boo boo to one of these gatherings and get to introduce him to everyone.

Maybe, I will bring some mac n’ cheese or candied yams to this year’s gathering. Then, at least, I will be holding something.

By now, I hope that you can see that I am approaching the subject with humor. At times, I have wondered too much about why I am still single or what I have done wrong to remain in this state. Right now, I want to wait on God and actually think about what qualities I am looking for in a man. So far, I am looking for husband material. He must be a Christian, handsome, smart, quirky, and socially aware. Although I can have a whole list of qualities, God could turn that list upside down. It is really up to Him and to His will.

In the meantime, I will be with my mama at the family gathering! I will be grubbing on food and watching the kiddos play.

-Blessings y’all!

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Teaching Black Girls!

Every Sunday at 9:30am, I teach a Sunday School lesson to two smart, fantabulous, beautiful Black girls! And I cherish these girls (6th grade and 9th grade) as though they were my little sisters. I always wanted to be a big sister to someone, and I guess I have unconsciously played out this role to these girls. It’s funny because I have never seen myself as the “leader” type. I have always wanted to hide behind my “shyness” and my “niceness.” I’ve never wanted to be in control of anything. Yet, I want to be the best role model that I can be to these two girls. Indeed, I am a human, and I will make mistakes. But I never want to do anything that causes them to wonder: “What happened to our Sunday School teacher?”

If anything, I want these two young girls to see their identity in Christ. I want them to always live by God’s Word as it says that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14, KJV).  I also desire for them to see their beauty as Black girls. As American society has shown us over and over again,  blackness does not equal beauty. Blackness ends up being a bruised, tortured, and criminalized thing. Blackness is something that has been attacked since our ancestors were taken away from the continent. The attacks have continued since then. It is so clearly seen in the killing of young Black men and Black women.

Last Sunday, I asked the girls to pray for the nation. I hoped that in our prayers, we could pray for everything that has happened in Ferguson,  New York, etc. I am paraphrasing, but one of the girls said the following words: “I pray that the racist cops would stop killing people.” I was so glad to hear her say those words. After she prayed, I took the time to ask the girls what they knew about the acts of police brutality. We ended up having a short conversation about it. I don’t want the girls to separate themselves from what is going on around them. Everything that is going on around us, affects us. It affects our Blackness. It affects us as Black Christians, and it is our responsibility to pray. To pray and to act.

I want the girls to love themselves as Black girls because internalized racism is real. I remember growing up and seeing Halle Berry as the image of beauty. And yes, she is beautiful, but I equated light skin and straight hair to beauty. Anyone who was lighter than me was beautiful. Television, the media, displayed this Eurocentric ideal frequently. I didn’t have the understanding that I could be beautiful. That natural hair and brown skin could be beautiful. I had to travel down the road of racial consciousness to get to that point.

So, I hope that the the girls will always embrace their beauty and their uniqueness. I don’t want them to feel pressured to fit into a box. Society likes to box Black women into the strong Black woman stereotype. You know, the image of Black women as people who are so strong that we do not even cry. We are always angry about something. This stereotype is harmful because it strips away our humanity. Being strong doesn’t mean that a person can’t be vulnerable or be a human. Then, there’s the hypersexual stereotype. You know, the stereotype where all Black women are seen as the video girls in the Rap videos. Again, this stereotype makes it seem as though Black women do not possess intellect or creativity. That we are not human.

I can say that I am excited to see the girls embracing their individuality. The 9th grader, who is also my cousin, loves superhero movies, fashion, music, and books. She even wants to go to Comic-Con one day. I told her and the 6th grader that I would be up for taking them to Comic-Con. I don’t like to fit into a box either.

It’s nice to see these Black girls grow and pursue their interests. I feel like they are a part of a new generation of Black girls who don’t fit. And they don’t have to fit because they can be themselves. They can be cool, quirky, quiet, loud, and even awkward. I want the girls to see themselves as God has made them. And if I could quote someone, I would quote Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.” She says:

“Oh but my joy of today

Is that we can all be proud to say

To be young, gifted and black

Is where it’s at”

-Blessings, y’all 🙂

#Survived

Ahhhhh…I have #survived my first semester of graduate school. I have survived 8,000 pages of readings, tons of writing, long days and longer nights. And patient folks like my friends and family have #survived my crankiness, exhaustion, whining, complaining, and statements such as “I should just quit grad school.”

I am going to act like I am accepting an Academy Award and thank God for sustaining me! I also thank my family, especially my parents for putting up with me. I thank my friends for being patient. I know that I have been M.I.A, and I would love to make the most of my two week break to hang out. I did say two week break as I have to take a Statistics class during the Intersession. Ugh…I’m just going to act like the class is not coming up soon. I am going to act like these two weeks are the most precious weeks of my life.

Okay, I am being melodramatic, but I felt like I was going to work, then going to school, working on papers, and going to church all semester. I found it hard to fit in hang out time with folks because:

A: I was so exhausted all the time.

B. I was writing papers every week.

C. I was so exhausted all the time.

D. I did not want to fall behind with my work.

I  think I need to find a better balance. I kinda felt like a robot, stomping from work to school and from school to home. Despite this robotic lifestyle, I have #survived. I had 3 final papers (10 pages each) that I had to write, and I completed them all. By the third paper, I was ready to give up, but I kept moving. And how did it I keep it moving? I didn’t get that much sleep.

But I can make up for the lost sleep. Yes, I will definitely be sleeping on Saturdays. I will be catching up on food too. I will attempt to maintain my hair again. You know, I will do all those things that human beings do.

Seriously, I am thankful to God that He allowed me to #survive the stress of working and going to grad school. I am excited that I do not have to write a paper for a while. I am geared up to watch tv on Sundays after church instead of having to to do school work. I will be reunited with my good ole Sidney Poitier movies.

I am also proud that I #survived! There were several moments that I thought the normal grad student thoughts:

1. What have I gotten myself into?

Response: A MSW Program

2. Can I do this?

Response: Yes! God’s got you!

3. Do I want to do this?

Response: Yes! You want to do this!

It’s relieving to accomplish a goal that you felt was quite challenging. I believe it is so important to acknowledge such accomplishments. It is the little accomplishments that will lead to the big accomplishment of graduating from this MSW program.

-Blessings y’all