By Nikita Haynie
Musical chairs, do you remember this activity from childhood? The music plays as everyone walks in circles striving to be the last one standing. Once the music stops everyone is scrambling to find a chair but if you’re not quick enough, you’re out. I liken this activity to dating in your 30s. Why? Well there are massive amounts of single black women exhausted from the extensive rounds of musical chairs in navigating dating and criticisms of singleness. I believe every woman in the 30s club will agree with me when I say: DATING IS HARD! Throw in dating apps, texting, social media, and being a BLACK WOMAN you have the recipe for Dating Difficulty 101.
A few nuggets for your consideration when engaging with single black women:
I. STOP SAYING, “JUST WORK ON YOU! LOVE YOU! POUR INTO YOU!” For those shouting this, we’ve been doing the work. When are we going to start challenging black men to do theirs? Your homeboy who has a new chick every other month, your brother who has trust issues but won’t sit still long enough to heal from a relationship before jumping into the next one, or the man who decides to pursue women he’s not ready for because adjacency to a woman with a purpose makes him feel better about lack of his own. Black women desiring companionship doesn’t mean we don’t love ourselves, both can coexist and be true. However, we also don’t want to serve as emotional punching bag for an emotional terrorist to disrupt all of our self-work. Black women deserve love that doesn’t require suffering first, struggle love isn’t cute. We love ourselves we just don’t love the BS men want us to settle for. We’re doing the work.
II. THROW THE EVASIVE QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS LIKE: Why are you single? You must be crazy? Maybe you should date white men. You don’t want kids? Your standards must be too high? What you waiting on? THROW THESE IN THE TRASH. This is
3) You need to mind your damn business
Regardless of relationship status or preferences don’t ask these questions. If black women choose to partner with a white man or anyone from a different ethnicity it’s our prerogative. Gather your own people before you come knocking at our doors with your intrusive questioning and assumptions.
III. CHAIRS CAN TAKE UP SPACE, A HUMAN WILL NOT. Time and experience taught me when choosing a partner/companion, purpose is key. Some humans love taking up space in people’s lives for the hell of it. Space filling is perpetuated enough by white people in real time every day in the lives of black women. The great prophetess Fantasia once said, “If you don’t want me, then don’t talk to me, go ahead and free yourself.” There is nothing wrong with making connections and networking with new individuals, but I’m referring to space fillers and time wasters. The room is full step aside.
I recently came across a video clip of Tracee Ellis Ross, comedian and actress, discussing singleness with Oprah Winfrey during her Vision Tour. I encourage you to watch the full interview here. Tracee profoundly stated, “I like many of us was taught to grow up dreaming of my wedding and not of my life. And I spent many years dreaming of my wedding and also waiting to be chosen. Here’s the thing I’m the chooser. And I can choose to get married if I want to but in the meantime I am choice fully single. Happily, gloriously single.”
Single black women are made to feel their singleness is a deficit; however, I believe in the power of shifting your perspective. In my own journey of singleness I’ve had to challenge myself and here is what I’ve found peace in embracing and walking boldly in:
Black women don’t have to settle for anything and anyone. Black women don’t need to shift our authenticity to be worthy of love. We are already worthy in our individual uniqueness and essence. We deserve to be loved in our fullness. Black women are the mothers of the earth. We are multifaceted. Love shows up in a multitude of ways in the lives of black women. We are more than someone’s wife and someone’s mother. We are not too much, we are only too much for the undeserving. In the words of the iconic Toni Morrison, “You are your best thing.” Believe that. Embrace that. Own it.
So while musical chairs is fun, knock those chairs over, turn up your music and write that book, take that trip, start your business, but most importantly LIVE UNAPOLOGETICALLY SIS!
Nikita Haynie is the Assistant Editor for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Nikita is a writer, author, and educator. She is a creative that writes content intersecting faith, black womanhood, and culture. Proud optimist. Follow her on Instagram: @thenikitahaynie. Check her out at NikitaHaynie.com