For Colored Girls Who Are Okay With Being Colored.

This weekend was the opening of Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of the critically acclaimed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. There was much buzz around Perry, a Black male, taking on such a resounding chorus for Black women all over the world. We wondered, “is he capable?” “is he going to feature Madea as one of the ‘colors?'” “who the hell told him that he could tell our story?”

Even I was on the you-are-not-the-right-one-to-tell-this-story bandwagon early on. Guilty as charged. I always thought that Tyler Perry left his viewers hanging with unresolved plot lines  and rushed character development and, for someone who has gone from slap-stick comedy in his stage plays to million dollar movies, I just didn’t correlate the Tyler Perry I see in my head (who looks and talks like Madea) to such a important piece of text like For Colored Girls.

Many of my friends and college classmates  gave varying degrees of opinion. From the “my-feminism-will-not-allow-me-to-agree-with-anything-a-man-does-even-if-it-is-good-makes-sense-and-I-can-relate-to-it” to a resounding cyber-applause for Tyler Perry, the movie, and the realness of the characters.

I took all of these thoughts, feelings, and opinions into the theater tonight and realized that this movie isn’t about Tyler Perry and his previous cinematic efforts. It’s much, much more.

It’s about the bravery of the women who portrayed a differenct facet of Black womaness, many times, a side of our Black womaness that we want to keep hidden in the shadows and foggy mist of our imaginations.

We don’t want people to know that we are broken, abused, hurt, forced on our knees to serve as the trodden path of those who “rule” over us.

We don’t want people to know that we mistakenly love the wrong ones and let go of the right ones.

We don’t want people to know that the facade we put on as Super Black Woman (fly your cape!) is many times just that: a fake.

We don’t want people to know that beyond our academia and righteousness that we genuinely just want to love as hard as we can, without letting go, with out apologies.

We don’t want people to know that sometimes we make mistakes and our most valuable selves, including our children, suffer at the hands of our refusal to let go of love.

We don’t want people to know that the men we love sometimes do not love us back. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

We don’t want people to know that those same men who do not love us are worthy of forgiveness and we spend every waking hour trying to help them receive that same forgiveness.

We don’t want people to know that despite the front we put on, we want to be fucked. Yes, fucked. Without rhyme or reason.

We don’t want people to know that we have the desire to be fucked because our daddy’s fucked us first.

We don’t want people to know that there are tons of pieces that have been left behind, scattered across the Diaspora and without them we’re a mess.

But with them, we are resilient, brilliant, and worthy of every thing we secretly desire when no one is watching.

We are everything Shange and Perry expressed in that film. No matter how far you try to remove yourself from it, that’s you. That’s me.

Dirty bitch. Glorious woman. His whore. His wife. Their mother. Their aborter. A thief. A giver. Afraid. Brave. Killers. Life givers. Jealous. Selfless.

We are. And that’s okay.

Who are we to shy away and be afraid of our pain? Our joy? Our failures? Our triumphs?

Who are we to not reach the end of our rainbow?

On the Chase,

 

Alisha L.

:: Fear Factor ::

Eek! Fear!

What are you afraid of?

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a male suitor about the state of our “relationship”. (If you can call it that).
After a few hit and misses (more misses than hits) and a seemingly roller coaster type experience over the last few months, we both got revelation on something.

We were both continuing to deal with each other out of fear.

Fear? What? Ain’t nobody afraid of nothing!

Oh, yes we are.

We realized that the insurmountable fear of being alone, not having another potential come around in the timing we would like was too great for us to just cut ties and go our separate ways, even after we both verbalized our discontent in the current situation.

Oh, ladies, you know how it goes: He doesn’t call when he’s supposed to. He doesn’t show up on time. You catch him lying. He has piss poor character. You know, those types of things.

We’ll overlook them, however, to fill the basic need that all women have: to have an emotional connection with someone.

Mid conversation, he told me about how earlier that day he stopped to help a young lady change a tire. She was struggling with getting the car jacked up and figured he would stop to help her.

In a matter of minutes, he changed the tire, she thanked him, and as he proceeded to walk to his car, here came a young guy walking across the street to them.

“Thanks for changing my girls tire, man.”

He stood there in shock.

The girl’s boyfriend was standing across the street while his girlfriend was changing the tire. Yes. You read correctly.

Disgusted, my guy friend left. He mentioned that as he was changing the tire, the girl told him that she was working on her MBA and recently bought a house.

But, you’re dating a dude who wouldn’t change your tire for you.

My friend was confused. “How could she date a dude like that considering all the good things she has going for her?”

I told him, “she won’t leave. She’s afraid.”

“Why?” he asked.

“He fills a void in her life that every woman needs: he’s that warm spot in the bed, holds her hand, tell her that she’s cute, he’s there to listen to her… and for many, that’s enough. It matters not about character or the type of things he brings to the table. The basic emotional need has been met. It won’t be until she relinquishes the fear of being alone that she’ll have a ‘light bulb’ moment and leave the relationship.”

He and I sat there and silence.

We realized something: we were guilty of the very same thing.

We both knew the timing between us wasn’t right and we were in two different places, but because there was a quiet fear that if we let go of this one that another one may not come along, we tagged along to each other. (anybody been there?)

I tell this story for one reason: fear is real. Fear is paralyzing. Fear will cause you to spend entirely too much time in situations (jobs, relationships, church families, etc.) simply because you’re afraid of not having enough or another chance at that thing you’re losing.

Essentially, fear is the common denominator for mediocre lives and experiences.

Many of you, however, are still very afraid. Afraid of being alone, not having another chance, or if you do have another chance, it will take soooo long to return, you’ll grow weary waiting.

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

Choose to let go of the fear. And when you think you’re standing alone, remember that you are not.

“…be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5

Being fearless,

Alisha L.