A Dreamer and Doer of Impossible Things
>The Daily Musings of Netia McCray<
by Doris Agwu, from For Harriet
“You need to let him go.”
I’ve heard this statement so many times that it’s become quite predictable. Most family members and friends jump to it whenever I mention a particular man I dated once upon a time. No one could understand that two people who were once in a relationship could survive such turmoil yet still remain friends, best friends.
From the outside looking in, one would infer that I was a love sick puppy holding on to the memories of our love. Seldom do I even bother to correct people because the truth doesn’t seem that much less pathetic. When I met this man, I was taken away by his mind. I considered him to be incredibly wise and brilliant; I was so unbelievably attracted to the way his brain worked that it took me a few weeks to even realize that he was an extremely handsome man. Therefore he played a multifaceted role in my life. I loved him with everything I had. But sadly love wasn’t enough to make a relationship work.
As time went on, we decided to part ways. We originally did not end on a positive note; however, a part of me still wanted him in my life. Because at this point, not only had I lost a partner, a lover, and a friend, I was losing my teacher and my advisor. I believe that was the hardest part for me. He was easily one of the smartest people I had ever met, and I still valued his input on my career and educational goals. So I found myself reconnecting with him just so I could have access to all of that insight. I found myself rationalizing certain behaviors because I knew, ultimately, I wanted him in my life.
I accepted and excused a lot of things that I wouldn’t let anyone else get away with though I knew that extraordinary people deserve extraordinary treatment, but we continued to reconnect with one another. Of course, when two people have had as much history and chemistry as we have, the lines can easily become blurred. I told myself that all of the incompatibilities could be overlooked because we worked well together and we were comfortable. But I could not ignore the loud echoing of family and friends chanting, “Let him go. Let him go. Let him go.”
Although I still find value in his judiciousness, I’ve now learned to seek wisdom and learning opportunities elsewhere because trying to remain friends with someone you love and find attractive and incredibly smart can easily stunt your personal life. Spending day after day being mesmerized by one another makes it difficult to find someone else who is better suited for you. So I had to fully understand that saying goodbye to someone who was a lover, friend, partner, and teacher was not a bad thing. When I decided to say goodbye to him, I realized I was actually saying hello to someone new, and I couldn’t be happier.
In response to anyone who thinks they have an fierce inner black woman in them and is not in fact, a black woman
See the thing about that fire and that “fierceness” is that it’s born out of our oppression, out of always being told that we are ugly, that our bodies are too fat or too muscular, that we don’t have the right kind of hair — and having to deconstruct all those things and tell ourselves that we are beautiful even though society is telling us that we are not.
That strength is born out of always having to defend ourselves against white supremacy and anti-black-woman-patriachy. From years of not seeing ourselves represented in anything aligned with beauty, of buying products that are made to make us look like not ourselves.
So there is no way you could have an inner black woman in you. You have not experienced our struggle, you don’t know it, you haven’t lived it, and you can’t imagine it.
See, you can’t sit with us, because we haven’t been able to sit at your table since our existence in this country. And while we were being excluded from your table we made our own, and it is fabulous and fly. And of course you now want to try and have a seat at our table, take our table, use it and ignore all the labor that went into creating THAT table.
But nah, sorry boo boo.
You ain’t never going to be us, you can try to wear your hair like us, you can try to dance like us, talk like us, wish you were us, but know this —
“If white American entitlement meant anything, it meant that no matter how patronizing, unashamed, deliberate, unintentional, poor, rich, rural, urban, ignorant, and destructive white Americans were, black Americans were still encouraged to work for them, write to them, listen to them, talk to them, run from them, emulate them, teach them, dodge them, and ultimately thank them for not being as fucked up as they could be.”
From “Our Kind of Ridiculous” in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon (via wheretruthechoes)ethiopienne)