career, dating, friendships, love

Stop Telling Black Women to Settle

Black people have a really hard time moving about the world freely. From blatant racism and discrimination to systematic efforts to disenfranchise us, we’ve had the lion’s share of trauma passed down through generations. Black women, according to Malcolm X, are the most disrespected persons in America. To avoid playing into oppression Olympics by insisting we have it worse than Black men, I’ll assert that our oppression is different.

Sexual violence, domestic violence, pay inequality, intimate partner violence, and microagressions in and out of the workplace that dissect everything from our hair to manner of speech is often part of our daily lives. For many of us, we were made aware of our developing bodies not from our mothers or other female caretakers but from much older men who shouted their observations as we walked down the street.

Some of us sought refuge and found meaning in education. Some of us started businesses where our talents shined even brighter. If you’re like me, maybe you took your career and business by the horns and settled into being a BOSS. Maybe you worked through past trauma by seeking a therapist. Perhaps you have a workout routine, enjoy traveling, have hobbies that are fulfilling, and have a tribe of girlfriends who are supporting and loving. And in the midst of all of that, with all that you have going for yourself, someone will still see nothing wrong with telling you that you need to have a man.

Let’s say you thoughtfully write a list of qualities you want in a partner, being wise enough to separate the non-negotiables with the “nice to haves”. You’re open minded and try online dating, speed dating, and even let a friend hook you up. But the men you meet hit some qualities but fall short in the critical areas you’ve prioritized.

The 6’3 muscular light skinned guy with a good job has a young child – no. The chubby short man with lots of money has homophobic views – no. The handsome IT engineer has religious beliefs that are not in alignment with yours – no.

Sis, I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. I don’t care if your mother told you your clock is ticking. I don’t care if your friends are hassling you because you can’t bring a plus one to couples’ game night. You have spent years working to be the better version of yourself. Why on earth would you partner with someone you don’t even really want?

Loneliness sucks. And I’d be lying if I said it’s silly to want a boyfriend/partner/husband. But take it from me if you haven’t heard it anywhere else: being alone isn’t nearly as hard as being with the wrong person. And with this world doing everything it can to chip away at us, you owe it to yourself to choose YOU, always.

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