They couldn't see my beauty as a black woman goddess


root - Posted on 05 July 2008

One AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMan's journey through LOVE, art and Black History month

by Valerie Harvey/PNN

I no longer believe in romantic love. Of course it all sounds nice in the beginning when you first begin dating someone and you're both putting your best foot forward. After three marriages and a few relationships, I have a "bah humbug" attitude toward love at best.

I remember once when a man that I was seeing asked me to make reservations at a very nice restaurant for Sunday brunch. I made the reservations right away. We talked about it a lot and I looked forward to the delicious food and the unbelievable ambiance. My date stood me up! He didn't bother to call me and cancel. I was so angry and upset. I called him two days later and he gave me a very lame excuse. "I had an emergency," was all that he would say.

Needless to say, he was too cheap to pay for the nice restaurant. At least that was my conclusion. But why on earth did he tell me to make the reservations in the first place? He probably wanted to impress me. I guess that he didn't think that I would really make the reservations. Maybe I was wrong about his reasons for not showing up. I felt very discouraged and insulted. He didn't think enough of me to call and cancel, I had to call him. I never heard from him again. Just another example of a man who is trying to show off and has no intention of following through with whatever he has promised.

I also remember a man who wanted to begin a relationship with me. Unfortunately he didn't want to go out in public. I figured that he had to be married or living with someone. He denied it over and over. In fact, he never did admit that he was married or cohabitating. Why else would he be against going out? He wanted to have a date on which he would pick up some takeout food and just come over to my house. I imagine that he didn't want anyone who knew his wife or girlfriend to see us out together, in public.

I believe that both men behaved the way they did due to low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. African American writer James Baldwin writes, "One can only face in others what one can face in oneself." They couldn't see my beauty as a black woman goddess, because they were unable to see the beauty and the divinity in themselves.

Since Valentine's Day is this month and I am an African-American woman, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the dating scene for African-American women. It is very bleak from where I sit. Can I even refer to it as a dating scene? I refer to it very loosely, in fact.

Most single black women are not dating. They are either lamenting the fact that they are not dating or they are on the lookout for a suitable dating partner. The pickings are quite slim. Due to the very real shortage of African-American men, there are not enough black men to go around for all black women.

Falling in love is a very lofty goal for women in general and black women in particular. There is a tendency to want to be in love, maybe to be in love with love itself, rather than to be in love with a man. Many black women dream about a "Prince Charming" type of man who will come along and solve their problems. This man does not exist, but that doesn't keep quite a few men from pretending that they are Prince Charming, in order to make themselves seem more attractive.

The difficulty that black women have finding love ties in well with Black History Month. . The lack of self-love within the black community is possibly responsible for the mangled relationships between African-American men and women. Negro History Week was started in order to help African-Americans to recognize our achievements and to love ourselves. Black History Month started as an expansion of Negro History Week, which Carter G. Woodson began in 1926. He was the director of the then-known Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson chose this week because it included the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and the fraternity Omega Psi Phi ‘s celebration of Frederick Douglass' birthday on February 14. This coincided with "Negro Achievement Week" in 1924. In 1976, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, changed the weeklong Black History celebration to Black History Month, because of the American bicentennial.

In 2008, Black History Month has evolved. In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, there are countless celebrations occurring all month. There is a cooking class at the Elmhurst Library in Oakland on February 25, 2008. It celebrates the food of our culture and keeping ourselves healthy and well fed in a soulful way. There is also an African film festival on February 28, 2008 at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. It showcases our African heritage.

Iawanza Kunjufu, an equal rights advocate, "Remember, our number one problem is not drugs or crime, but self hatred. Study your history and learn to love yourself." If we in the black community would embrace our blackness and love ourselves, it could lead to successful relationships between black men and women.

Be sure to check out Valerie's first book, Love Lights the Way, a compilation of poems on the subject of love at www.poormagazine.org. To order a copy call 415.863.6306

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