Does Independence Trump Being Submissive?

As someone who grew up in a single parent household, I saw my mother be the leader, provider, and protector of our home.  Of course when I would visit my father during the summer I saw that, too, but what I saw over an 8 week period didn’t overtake what I saw for the other 44 weeks of the year.  I thought my BFF in high school was crazy when she told me her father told her mother she couldn’t cut her hair. (WDDDA???)  Living in a house with a woman who was fiercely independent and growing up to be her clone, I couldn’t fathom a MAN telling me I couldn’t cut MY hair. 

The Bible tells us that a woman is to be submissive to her husband.  When this topic comes up for discussion with my friends, I always tell them, “I have no problem being submissive, as long as my husband gives me something to be submissive to”, which essentially means that if he is allowing God to be the head of his life and the overseer of our household, I have no choice but to follow him.  But…can a woman be submissive without loosing herself? 

Cooking seems to be a big thing when it comes to the dynamics of a relationship between a man and a woman.  Besides Southern Dad, I’ve only cooked for one other man in my life.  (And it just so happened he called me when I was about to eat dinner and sort of invited himself to my house.)  Cooking is sort of a personal thing for me.  A friend and I are supposed to hang out with her dude and his friend this weekend, and as we were going over the menu, I was stunned for three reasons: 1. This woman is the EPITOME of independence and feminism; 2. This woman embraces cooking, cleaning, and going when her man calls; and 3. Why am I about to cook for a man that I have never seen and probably won’t see again after this weekend??? 

I totally understand wanting and needing to spend time with your significant other, and I have to admit, sometimes I get a little salty when I make plans with my girls, then when one of their men calls, they drop everything and go running.  I have to admit I don’t really like this aspect of myself because I never want to be the bitter, single friend.  And for the most part I check myself because the last thing I need is somebody telling me I’m the jealous chick.  But I wonder if this is a part of being submissive or something totally different.

And then I wonder, will I, Elle, the fiercely independent, “I’m Every Woman”, “I make my own decisions” person, become this woman who submits to a man?  And if I do, will I still be true to the essence of me?  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I can do that.  Like my mother, I’m a worker.  And like my father, I want things to go my way.  I like to that when I am a part of a relationship that there will be a nice balance of Elle independence and submissiveness.  I never want to ask permission to go anywhere or do anything; I’ll say where I’m going and when I’ll be back.

For those ladies who are married, engaged, or in a relationship how do you remain yourself but become submissive to your mate?  Or do you say to hell with being submissive and remain the same woman you were before you were in a relationship?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

What’s Wrong with Elle-The C*ckblocker Edition

It ain't no fun if you block your homie from getting some

This weekend I attended a live show with a few new and old friends.  As I was enjoying the music, I noticed a cutie at the end of the bar.  As usual, my wingwoman, @msrasberryinc, was in the building and proceeded to wing on my behalf.  Turns out the fella is from the South, lives about an hour away, and is single (Ms. Rasberry found this out from Ol’ Boy’s friend).  As we’re vibing and chatting after the show, he asks Ms. Rasberry and me what we’re doing next (Ol’ Boy is riding shotgun with his friend); then Said Friend comes back from paying his bar tab and stands between me and Ol’ Boy…KNOWING we were talking.  (Ok, I let that slide.)  Then, out of nowhere, Said Friend says, “It’s been cool ladies; we’re getting out of here”, and holds his hands up for Ms. Rasberry and me to give him a high-five.  Ol’ Boy gives me a nice, warm hug, and says “It was great meeting you; hope to see you around.”, gives Ms. Rasberry a hug, and he and Said Friend proceed to exit stage right.  They are halfway down the bar when I lift my hand and open my mouth to yell Ol’ Boy’s name.  I then come to my wits and realize not only will that be slightly desperate, but he probably wouldn’t hear me over the music.  I look at Ms. Rasberry, put my arms up, and ask, “What the hell just happened?!” with a perplexed look on my face.  I was so thrown that I didn’t even get a chance to ask him for his number.

It was very apparent to Ms. Rasberry, my “Auntie” Madeline, my boy TyAnthony, my cousin TGS, AND my friend KSK (yes, I called all over the country this weekend because I was pissed) that Said Friend was a c*ckblocker.  Men, and women, whatever you do in life, DO NOT be Said Friend!!!  First, it’s unbecoming to c*ckblock.  What grown people do that?  Be happy that your boy met a nice young lady.  Second, you could be blocking your blessing.  How, you may ask?  Your homeboy’s friend may have a friend for you (Said Friend told Ms. Rasberry they were both single).  Third, it’s just really unattractive, and if something pops off with your boy and this new girl, she’s going to be looking at you crazy until she realizes you really are a nice person…that’s if  you truly are a nice person. 

Can I just say that I’m proud of myself for not typing EVERYTHING that happened?  You all know I can be a little wordy.  So, have you ever been blocked?  Or maybe you were the blocker.  In any event, please share your tales of c*ck-blockery.  Madeline did say that if it’s meant to be, I’ll see him again…so let’s all touch and agree that I run into Ol’ Boy again…SOON!!!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

The Modern Day Minstrel Show

The promotional poster for "Bamboozled"

Last night, I was watching one of my favorite movies (and probably Spike Lee’s most under-rated motion picture), “Bamboozled”. If you’re not familiar, this movie is a satirical film that focuses on a modern day minstrel show and shows the fallout of those involved.  (I remember being excited about this film during my freshman year at FAMU, and I’m sure I went to go see it with multiple friends, but the only person I remember being in the theatre with me is my boy Brew.)  If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to find it and watch it.  Actually, my first Black Movie Night this summer will probably be this film. 

Watching the film last night had me thinking about the modern day minstrel shows we have on television now.  Show producers don’t have to find any actors to play in these shows.  Why?  Because they can find people who want to be “famous” and will do darn near anything for a buck.  Since this movie was made in 2000, there have been multiple shows that have come out that have been minstrel in nature, such as “Flavor of Love”, “I Love New York”, “Frankie & Neffe”, and “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, just to name a few.  And with the exception of “Frankie & Neffe”, yes I, too, contributed to the tomfoolery and was a viewer of each of these shows.  I lived to see what crazy antics would take place.  Probably because I live a drama-free life and wanted to see how foolish people would actually behave on national television. 

So, what do we do?  Do we continue to watch the public image of Black people deteriorate back to the days of Mantan Moreland, William Best, Lincoln Perry, and Bert Williams?  Do we allow these images that we see on our tv screens to define who we are?  I don’t think so.  As Pierre Delacroix stated in “Bamboozled”, Black people are not monolithic.  We’re more than rap stars’ and atheletes ex-girlfriends and ex-wives.  We’re more than a washed up rapper looking to regain his 15 minutes in the spotlight.  We’re more than an R&B singer’s birth family who’s looking for our own celebrity.  We’re more than some women who think we’re more important than we are just because we have some money and live in a mini-mansion.

We’re first generation college students who go on to have successful careers in social work.  We’re entrepreneurs who hustle to see our businesses succeed.  We’re people who fight for our country and serve with grace and poise.  We’re immigrants from other countries who strive to make a great life for our families.  We’re people who work hard and play harder.  And sometimes, we’re just a Southern girl living, laughing, loving, learning, and making her own way…in the city.

An Ode to DDOT

For those of you that know me personally know that I live in Southeast DC…not Capitol Hill SE, but across the John Philip Sousa Bridge SE.  I love my neighborhood.  I’ve been here for two years and have met some of my neighbors.  I’ve gotten involved in the community and for the time being can’t see myself living anywhere else. 

But then comes DDOT (or the District Department of Transportation).  Almost a year ago now (my timing may be off a few months), DDOT started the Great Streets Iniative in various neighborhoods around the District to make them more vibrant ecomonic and/or residential areas.  My neighborhood is no different.  Excited to see the change, I have sacrificed numerous times during my stay by avoiding traffic on Pennsylvania Ave SE and taking alternate routes home so I can miss the construction or by parking a ridiculous distance from my home on multiple occasions because there is no longer any parking on Pennsylvania Ave or because there is construction in the parking lot behind my building so those people have to park on my street.  There have even been instances where the water has been turned off for various reasons.  And through all of this I have never complained…until now.

In the past when the water has to be turned off, we’ve received notification via a letter posted on our doors to let us know when the water will be turned off and when we can expect it to be back on.  This has never really been an issue for me in the past because 99% of the time, it’s during the weekday when I’m normally at work.   So imagine my surprise when I get home last night from work to discover I have no running water.  I called my neighbor/go-to girl for all things related to Ward 7, Ms. V., to ask when the water would be turned back on.  She let me know our street should not have been affected at all.  It should have only been the 3800 and 3900 blocks of Pennsylvania Ave.  The water was scheduled to be off from 9 pm Monday night until 5 am Tuesday morning.  It is now 10:04 am, and I still don’t have running water.  This is totally unacceptable.  Not only was I not notified that my water might be turned off, it is now 5 hours after the slated time it was supposed to be back on. 

I normally don’t use this blog to make such personal statements, but after walking with Ms. V. this morning, my anger increased, and I realized I needed to do something to let DDOT know that this is ridiculous and will not be tolerated…  And don’t worry, I plan on sending an e-mail to the community liaison as well, just in case she doesn’t read this blog (but why wouldn’t she?).  So if you know her, let her know it’s coming. 

If any of you experience any type of negligence against you, your neighbors, or your neighborhood, stand up for yourself.  Let your voice be heard!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Take Time for You

Yes, I realize it’s been almost a week since I’ve written anything.  Honestly, I was tired and really didn’t have too much to share with you guys.  This weekend I attended “Refresh 2011”, which is a conference geared towards the African woman (yes, I know I’m not African), but all women could gain something from attending this event.  I realized (not that I didn’t already know this) that you have to be able to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.  There were a lot of anecdotes I took from this event, and I want to share some of them with you.

  • Be sure to take time for you.  If you don’t take care of yourself how can you take care of the important people in your life?
  • From the organizer, Ekene Ajune, she reminded us that the Bible says “Love your neighbor as thyself”, but if you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love your neighbor?  And if you don’t love yourself, don’t love me.  I don’t need that negative energy.
  • It’s ok to have the foods that you love but aren’t good for you, just have them in moderation.  Maybe once every week or every two weeks.
  • You have to get some form of exercise at least 3-4 days a week.  It’ll make you feel better plus you’ll be healthier for it.
  • No matter what it is, take some quiet time for yourself.  (I went grocery shopping yesterday, and while I normally LOATHE going to the store, I actually enjoyed shopping.  And as I put up my groceries when I got home, I did it in silence.  No television, no radio, no talking on the phone.  It was the best 5 minutes of my day.) 
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin.  You don’t have to say “Yes” all of the time.  Sometimes you have to tell people “No”, and it’s ok if you do.  If they are your true friend, they’ll understand and won’t make you feel bad for doing so.  And if they’re not your real friend, it’s best you find out now rather than later.

I’m done with my little tidbits.  One last thing I will share with you was the quote I received on Saturday-“You can rewrite your story.”  I really needed that, and I’m sure some of you do as well.  No matter what has happened in your past you can change your future.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.