Fairy Tales

I can remember stories, those things my mother said
She told me fairy tales, before I went to bed
She spoke of happy endings, then tucked me in real tight
She turned my night light on, and kissed my face good night
My mind would fill with visions, of perfect paradise
She told me everything, she said he’d be so nice
He’d ride up on his horse and, take me away one night
I’d be so happy with him, we’d ride clean out of sight
She never said that we would, curse, cry and scream and lie
She never said that maybe, someday he’d say goodbye

The story ends, as stories do
Reality steps into view
No longer living life in paradise – or fairy tales

-Anita Baker Fairy Tales

I think a lot of women grow up believing in Fairy Tales. Not just the Disney one’s but the ones our friends, family and society try to weave for us. You know that fairy tale that love is all about roses, horses and being saved by your prince. Love is Perfection. Love and marriage = happy endings.

Well, if you’ve discovered my blog, you know that I don’t believe that. I’m here to tell you the truth…life just doesn’t work that way. There is no perfect person. No perfect ending. No fairy tale for you to believe in. Relationships take work. A lot of hard work and determination to put forth your best effort.

Many of us don’t put forth our best effort. We may say we do, but in reality we are selfish in relationships. We do what we want and say what we want and still expect the other person to just deal with it.  Sound familiar to any of you?

I love Anita Baker and when I was going through a painful period in my divorce this song would be on replay. These words spoke to the state of where my mind was:  She never said that we would, curse, cry and scream and lie. Dang. I felt that. I couldn’t understand how we got to that point. The point where it all fell apart and I sat looking at the broken pieces of glass on the floor and seeing my soul reflected in them.

That was some painful sh*t. I had to realize that the dream of marriage wasn’t what it was cut out to be. It was a lot more than just parties, great sex and travel. It was two people trying to make something work that they had no idea about. We couldn’t both be selfish.

We had our first big argument on our honeymoon. I thought it was a sign. Who the hell argues on their honeymoon? I cried. I felt alone. I wanted an annulment. Yes, I was acting like a spoiled brat but I was believing in fairy tales. When did you ever see the Prince yelling at Cinderella?

That disillusioned followed me through my marriage. He was not my prince saving me. He was the boogeyman. I was putting my own irrational restrictions on him. I didn’t need saving. It wasn’t his job to save me. I was imagining him being something that he wasn’t. But, here’s the kicker…I didn’t even tell him that I had all these unrealistic expectations of him.

I expected him to know what he should be. Now, we all know that men say that they aren’t mind readers, yet here I was trying to make this man read my mind. I wanted him to guess the role he was supposed to play and just play the dang role. I didn’t want the man that he was, but the one who would slay dragons and make everything better for me. I would be unhappy and wonder when would my prince arrive? Why wasn’t he here? When would he show up. He never did.

LOL. I told ya’ll I was tripping, right? I was disillusioned.  But, it’s true. I own my part in my own unhappiness.

So, what I’ve learned is that I had to change my mindset. Think about who I am and what I bring to the table. Take that and decide what I wanted. Do a needs assessment. Stop believing in fairy tales and figure out me.

Stop looking for someone to rescue me and look for someone who would be loyal. Someone who would support my dreams and make me believe that even after we argue that we will still love and respect one another. Someone who wouldn’t curse me out or lie to me. Someone who would see this flawed woman standing before him and love each and every scar. Someone who I could do the same with.

There’s no fairy tale when you make your expectations known and attainable. It’s no fairy tale when you truly just want a wonderful human being to love you just as you are. If that happens, trust me you can make magic.

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Great Marriages and the Reality

My Facebook friend posted this link last month for a piece entitled “It’s time to accept this fact: A really great marriage is rare”.  I read the article and the researcher made some great points. It wasn’t a woman arguing that people shouldn’t get married, but that great marriages were rare and that there has been a shift in our society whereby women don’t need to marry because of the shift in our circumstances and/or cultural norms. Women have more options and don’t need men for financial security, sexual satisfaction, to have children or for social approval. Women have in essence changed the game. We’ve become more powerful.

I pondered that theory and I have to say that the researcher has a point. When you look at the changes in our society over the years, you see that not only in other races, but especially in the black community, there is a shift. More black women are earning more than their black male counterparts. Thus, it makes it harder for college educated women to find their ideal black man “IBM” who has equal or more to her in terms of wealth. Black women are working hard and waiting until later to get married. But, when you’re ready to get married, your IBM doesn’t come in riding on a white horse to sweep you off your feet.

Fairytales are just that. Fairytales. Not meant to provide any form of reality for our young girls. But, could I as a feminist really truly believe that I needed a man for anything? I don’t know if I was ever sold on the whole happily ever after fairytale that other little girls were taught because I knew better. My reality didn’t include a happy queen and a happy king. In my post yesterday, I talked about how my dad is an alcoholic so any chances of a prince charming taking care of me were replaced with the reality that he didn’t exist. People had faults.

Those faults translated into the fact that I grew up in a single parent home and I knew that I never wanted to be like my mother. She wasn’t a bad mother. She just short changed her life to have me and my siblings and to be a wife. Would she have made the same decisions now in today’s society? I don’t know. I would like to think no. I think she would have given birth to me and gone back to college like my grandfather insisted. I think she would have accepted that she could be considered a social pariah in a small town, but she would have been just fine raising a child on her own after getting her degree. She would have been considered a game changer by my standards.

But, she didn’t change the game. She followed her heart and cultural norms. Those norms shaped and impacted my belief in marriage. That fostered with the environmental factors and social shifts helped me realize one thing…I didn’t need to get married. I didn’t need a man for anything. Men were dispensable objects that had no real value other than fixing my car, maintenance on my house or just friends who I could toss ideas about my career path with. Not worthy of having the title of husband or father because I was jaded and I didn’t believe in happily ever after. I would never sacrifice my career to be a wife or mother. It wasn’t an option.

However, that changed when I found someone who wanted to marry me with my flaws and all. With my jaded view of reality in tow, he sought about finding refuge in my heart and spirit so that he could show me or whether prove to me that men weren’t dispensable objects and I could be both a wife and a mother and I would love it. Problem was that I didn’t love it. I loved him. I loved our family. I loved our son. But, I didn’t want to live my life being disappointed and feeling lonely and unloved. Yes, people have problems. I get that, but when the problem is the two people what do you do?

You make a decision on how your life will play out.  Whether it be a comedy, love story or tragedy, you have to know marriage is what you make it. It takes two people who share, not only the same value of marriage, but the desire to keep it healthy and functioning. You will make mistakes, nothing is perfect, but if you want to find someone who at the end of the day you would rather fight with than without then you have hit the jackpot.

“The painful truth is that really great marriages exist, but they are rare. What we as a society should probably be telling married people is, “If you have love, passion, companionship and equality in your marriage, you are wealthy beyond words. If you don’t, you have two choices. You can decide that your marriage is the best you’re going to get and try to be content. Alternatively, you can leave your marriage to play the lottery of finding that perfect partner, accepting that you are unlikely to win and may have to stay single for the rest of your life.” – Danielle Teller

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