Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Nurturing Spirit

I received an e-mail of a commentary entitled “A Fighting Spirit” written by Joy Jones, an African American woman. Her words addressed the aggressive, self sufficient, independent woman who is active in the community and/or church but still yet, she is single. Concern was expressed for the “fighting spirit” that we may possess for our careers and the many causes we stand for. We seem to be concerned that we unknowingly allowed this spirit to cross over into home and love lives. We seem to replace nurturing with caution. There is an unseated fear of opening up to love and we maintain a safe position to avoid being hurt or showing our vulnerability. Many of us have a get them before they get me mentality. After all, we don’t need a man. We can take care of ourselves, right?

If women spent as much time on quality relating as their careers, looks and sitting in front the television or computer screen, there would be less worry about falling in love. Living and loving more consciously.

Jones, compares relating to a slow dance. “Let the man lead and go with the flow”. He has his steps and you have yours. Allow him to gracefully lead you both through the relationship without a fight. This fighting spirit may be running men away, leaving us alone to wonder why.

Where are they? written by Shelia Avent Lockhart, shared more insight as she expressed views on the possibility of overlooking good men. The writer explained that she met her husband at church and that he was always the good buddy and nice guy, but never a boy friend. His dress was inexpensive and he wore glasses. Through their lives together, he had proven himself to be a loving, caring, passionate husband and devoted father. The question arose as to why “Sistas” do not look at a man for who he is inside, instead of looking at the clothing he wears or car he drives. She described a great analogy to the story “The Ugly Duckling”. (No pun intended) She gave love and attention to a good man, who was being overlooked, and in turn, he became the nicely dressed, financially successful man we are excited to see, and the loving husband and father that we all look for in a man.

I must admit, at first I was surprised to think that there are some who view a strong determined African American woman as non-nurturing in the home or accuse her of having a problem if there is no man in her life. I am a very headstrong woman, who has many interests and achievements. However, I am single. I have no hang-ups about love and how it should feel. I am passionate, feminine, loving, caring and am aware of my role as a female and the blessings that accompany that role. I seek love, companionship and a life long loving marriage. I feel that I have a “nurturing spirit”. I not only nurture my companion, family, friends and co-workers, I nurture myself as well. I am confident and secure and I am not threatened by someone being better than I am. In my time alone, I have found out who I am and what I want.

Over the years, there have been numerous, insightful articles written about the sexes and understanding the brain functions and emotional differences. Ellis Cose, an African American author and contributing writer for Newsweek Magazine wrote ”Black Men & Black Women” (Newsweek 1995). This article concentrates on the self-image of the African American male and his relationship with the African American female. His book A Man’s World also sheds light on relating in today’s society. Much like the perspective of Cose, there has been much to say about the male image in society based on the plight of the African American male. But I say, my brothers we are with you. We love and adore you. You are the image of strength and perseverance. You are our husbands, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, lovers, and friends. We sweetly indulge in the dance of life with you. Following your lead, and although we may get out of step momentarily, we gracefully glide back into step with the rhythm through understanding and support.

Science has proven that men and women not only think differently, we process information differently as well. This has paved the way for books like Brain Sex, and articles like “Sizing up the Sexes” (Time 1992) which expands on this theory and share research that expose these differences. In Health magazine’s Super Woman article (1991) the writer touched on the impact that society has on the babies, little girls, teenagers, and grown-up women. It compares the sexes and offers statistical information, which is just one group’s equation. Do we assimilate this information into our daily lives as gospel or do we simply use our own minds and experiences to form our opinions.

Learning about one’s self on an emotional and mental level, compares to the understanding needed for our careers. For example, in a healthy relationship we must understanding from a visual, mental and loving perspective what is good and balanced.

Using a common everyday tool as an analogy; we have all sorts of virus protection for our computers. We go the extra mile to protect them from bad programs. The goal is to purge all the bad and keep the good. Secure and keep safe the data stored inside.

To human beings, this translates to thoughts and actions. What are we doing to protect the health of our mental and emotional states? If we contemplate the time we spend at work, in traffic, at social events and caring for our homes, cars and “stuff”, then we don’t have much time to do anything else. Or do we? We make time for what is important to us. What is most important to you?

I disagree with the suggestion that a woman must “look like” she needs a man for fear of scaring off any potential suitors. My success should not deem me as in-approachable. Did not your parents support you in all your dreams and desires because they wanted more for you? How many of us have had strong women in our lives that have always pushed us to be all we can be? I believe most of us have. Many of our parents went without necessities of life (not to mention luxuries that we enjoy every day) to make a way for us and we were supported in furthering our education to be more than better, we had to be the best.

I was delighted to see the character Claire Huckstable who portrayed a loving wife and mother, and a passionate woman who is successful in her career on The Cosby Show. We CAN have it all and it can be “all good.” In my working environment, I have learned to deal with many types of people and their qualities. This helps me in my personal relationships. I learn to negotiate, sacrifice and compromise I support of the vision. I can feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I end my day. Yet, for most of us, our day is not over with the 5:00 whistle. We go on to make a home for our families and sometimes our parents. We lend emotional support to our siblings and friends. We cook, clean and are all we need to be for those in our lives, and ourselves. We are there for our men when society challenges his manhood.

We have had to be emotionally, physically, and mentally stronger, more intelligent, more financially secure and self sufficient because of the direction society was steering the image of the African American female. We are pressured to believe that by a certain time in life we are to be: at a particular level in your career, married and have 2.5 children, beautiful, fit (if not thin), sexy and defy the aging process for the benefit of attracting the opposite sex. We have had to endure single parenthood, harassment, and violent abuse for years. Now that we have grown strong from these labors, is it still not enough? If not, you are telling your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives and daughters that they have yet more of society’s burdens to carry.

I feel that life should be lived to its fullest. This does not mean that a woman should not want, or need a companion. It is only saying that times have indicated that we no longer have to wait to be married enjoy things in life. Most of us wait later to marry and have accumulated material possessions. Just because someone owns a home or chose to seek other interest as well as companionship does not signify that they are not in need of a significant other. Priorities should be set and time-shared should be quality time. Having someone special should be the icing on the cake for us all. Using love as a game is foolish. The only rules to the survival of a relationship are honesty, openness and communication. We should strive to be all we can be for ourselves so that we can offer our companion someone with little or no emotional baggage. You can not make someone else happy if you are not happy yourself.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kat, This is Sheila Avent-Lockhart. I was shocked and surprised to see my name and information about my story mentioned, it is 2011 now, but loved your article. You are the writer I have always admired! God bless you, and P.S. He (My husband) was never an ugly duckling, but we are going on 27 years now and I love him more than the first days I saw him with the tape on his glasses. He is an awesome man. Tell your readers to look for the gem inside and ask God for him. God gave me just what I needed and I didn't even know it. Take care.