On Monday, I woke up anxious.
I’d been watching Grey’s Anatomy all night and the Christina-Burke story line was stuck in my head.
Remember that one? Yeah. You do. It’s the one where a young, professional woman of color falls for a mature, professional man of color, slowly loses herself in his expectations of their relationship, and gets left at the altar only because he couldn’t make her go through with it.
(yeah. that one.)
Most of me knows that Shonda Rhimes is to black (professional) love as Tyler Perry is to black (professional) women…
…but when you’re a Nuñez Daughter you don’t drink the same Koolaid everyone else does. All those fantasies others have about money & acquisition being the only things to strive for, or merit being the only thing that counts, or a two-parent home being the only way to grow up sane, or marriages–especially the blessed and sacred union of two professionals of color–being happy ever after? All fluff. Better to strive for spirit and community in every aspect of your life. Love as hard as you can for as long as you can. Ask for help healing when the loving is done. Travel. Be a good citizen of the world. Be your own biggest fan. Accept everyone because God made them and gave them to you to learn from. Live your politics. “Die only when you’re dead.”
(i could write slogans for kindergarteners)
Still, I’m a woman in the world. And this July, this worldly woman is moving in with Mr.
This is a huge step for any independent and ambitious woman. I am no exception. But in April, I was confident. In May, I was ecstatic.
Now it’s June. And shit just got real.
I moped all of Monday. And when I met Asian Dancer for overpriced sushi later on, she just gave me evil *side eyes* the entire time. She knows how excited I’ve been about this move. And she knows I need to get off the Netflix crack. So she tried to be helpful:
Me: I think I’ll have that panic attack now.
AD: No you aren’t.
Me: Yes I am.
AD: Well….how does your pussy feel about the situation? (See how well she knows me?)
Me: (cocks head, listens) Oh, she’s convinced this is a good thing.
AD: Ok. How about your heart?
Me: (without hesitation) No, my heart is good. He’s the one.
AD: And your head?
AD: Oh hell girl.
She dropped me off later with a peck on the cheek and a warning not to let my head get in the way of what the rest of my body is telling me…and to stop watching Grey’s Anatomy. Good advice. But I was still moping when Mr. called.
Mr.: Are you going to tell me why you hung up on me earlier?
(sidebar: except when there is a keyboard in front of me, I am not known for using my words to address a problem)
Me: Yes. I think I’m nervous.
I tell him I’m nervous about moving in. I tell him I’m worried about dissolving into little girlie bits and pieces because that is what women tend to do when they enter a committed relationship with men. I’ve seen it, I know. The best of us manage the dissolution, negotiating the terms of our surrender. But patriarchy is a helluva drug. And black men are hooked.
So I tell him this in so many words. And he badgers me with questions. And he complains that he’s worried too and its not like we’re married and I point out that the issues would be the same and why the hell is this suddenly about him? And his voice gets higher and a little louder and so does mine and then we are both yelling at each other and then there is silence.
Me: Why aren’t you listening to me?
Mr.: I think I’m too nervous myself to be able to listen to you right now.
Me: (yells) Why didn’t you just say that?
(See how sympathetic I am to black man emotions?)
Me: I’m getting off.
Mr.: Ok. Goodnight.
And now I’m stewing. Goodnight? You let me get off the phone? What the hell is this? And I’m frustrated. And I’m ready to pull the trigger. And I’m throwing knives at a big red target with his head in the center of it and I’m hitting every time (sometimes I take his eyes out, other times his mouth). And I put my phone on silent because I’ll be damned if I talk to him when he calls. And then he doesn’t call so I put it on vibrate because I’ll be damned if he calls and I don’t get a chance to cuss him out right then and there. And I am playing with the possibility of putting it back on silent and going to sleep when the little letters on the screen notify me that there is an incoming call. I hit the accept button.
Mr.: (sigh) I’m calling you back to talk and to listen to you. This would be easier if I didn’t love you. But I do. So talk to me.
Like the sun coming out from behind the rain. Like headlights cutting through dark fog. Like smelling colors–
Sorry. Floated away on a cloud for a second. I’m back now. And my nervous is gone like it never existed.
Boys who know how to love and listen to their girlfriends? Priceless.