There are wide degrees of ideals and philosophies surrounding the term feminism. Feminism or to be a feminist has become (or always was) somewhat of a dirty word. It carries an ominous connotation which includes recklessness, boldness, defiance, egocentricity, obnoxious, strong-willed, demeaning of men, Lesbian, man-haters, ball-crushers, Bitch, and the list goes on…something which seemed to be important in the development of womanhood-to empower and embrace self has become a place of judgment. This judgment is served from our male counterparts, partners, women alike and even other feminists, and even feminists of other “colors”…so it becomes this tangle web of layers, from micro to macro aggressions which we face head on, in this labyrinth of being and existing.
My question then is, how do I walk in my strength and power without diminishing the efforts of my partner? My philosophies surrounding the greatness of women does not include keeping or placing my partner in the position of a footstool. Neither do I wish to have such a partner. For I think, whether your partner is of the same or opposite sex, what (at least for me) remains attractive and sexy, is confidence. What I love in a person is the spirit. I love a shining spirit which is fearless, kind, loving, humble, easy-going, funny and yet, powerful…and when that person knows this, I’m liable to lose my mind! It is indeed sexy to have a mate who understands the worth and contribution brought to your world, without having to hear about it in a nagging, bitchy way. The balance is: Be confident. But not obnoxious. Be secure and grounded, but not too passive. Be gregarious, but don’t behave as a 4-year-old who needs to be the complete center of attention and my world. Be assertive, but not overbearing and overpowering. And don’t you dare think that you can control or manipulate me.
So, can I be a bold feminist, and still exhibit some femininity? And will my graceful swag of being a woman (Slithering wiley with one leg gently before the other, gracefully allowing my arms to sway in it’s own dance with the wind, accentuating the sway of my hips in the figure 8, and allowing my eyes to smile and curve into an almond shape, half closed, but piercing-to pull you in, while the soft pillows of my lips pour deliciously sweet and richly articulated language that hypnotizes your senses) diminish my intelligence? Position? Am I still not a feminist when I decide to stop-pick my battles, let you win this one? Have I succumbed to the subjugation of an abusive relationship? (I’m always testing and analyzing my relationships to ensure that I’m not indeed in one)
Nevertheless, my answer is no. All relationships deserve some type of compromise, collaboration. There are indeed deal breakers. But, for the most part, through communication and having a bad memory, we can survive it. My goals surrounding relationships include to never lose myself. I will love you with every fiber in me; but you will not overpower my life. For in essence: I belong to no one. And you do not belong to me. Every day together is a gift unto each other. And that to me, is the present. And, a partner who NEEDS constant attention, and is threatened by the friendships I have with other people either needs to be trained or let go.
It is healthy to have friends. Friends are a necessary and valuable addition to your life. Choose your friends wisely. And cut the bad ones, the parasites, QUICKLY. Friendship is about give and take-after all, it is indeed a relationship. Friendship (and I’m not talking sex here) is intimate, passionate, and supportive of each other’s growth. This is why, in any marriage, or sexual relationship, the friendship component is crucial. It is the foundation to a life long partnership. So, appreciate and nurture the friends in your life which are compartmentalized into sections of your life which serves you and them. While your friends don’t share your bed, they share your lives. And the same rules of balance and respect applies.
So, did I go off into a deep tangent? Not really. I was pleasantly surprised this weekend. I needed my sisters. My friends. And I’m usually a private person, and don’t often discuss my relationship issues. However, I learned that we all go through the same things; and a strong word of advice from a friend, a sister can really help. I learned, that sometimes, all you can do is cry. And a good sister/friend will hold you. And let you cry. I learned that a friend who loves you will not join in and bash your partner-she will come and respectfully listen to both sides, and provide solid objective advice. Her heart is pure, without envy for you. She wants you to be happy. She wants your partner happy. She wants what you want. And will tell you when you’re wrong. That is true Black feminism.
So, to go back to the initial train of thought…Black Feminists, we can be strong. We can be bold. And yes, we can compromise, and collaborate. We can uplift our partners, and humble ourselves. We can let ’em win. We can work things out. And let go. No fighting. We can be silent. And that is true power.