On the Bechdel Test and One Last Hurrah

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So here we come my friends. We have arrived at the end of this road. I thought my last post would be on Cuba, but that experience came and went back in May. tldr; I enjoyed my time there and would go back to visit if I could.

As I have said more often as the frequency of my posts slowed down, I have been busy. Too busy, it seems to write at all here. I have chronicled in a way some important life events on this blog, made and lost some friends on it too. I was a 22 year old wide eyed, I dunno what when I started. And I think my travel posts , well I know they helped some people along the way. People have contacted me, before heading off to x, y or z location, because they came across this space while googling “black in”… and that is great.

But tbh this blog, although I refashioned it as more of a way to document my experiences while black, it has also been a space to talk about or allude to my personal highs and lows. Let’s face it, blogging is dead. And this space as one I feel 100% comfortable in letting things out, just doesn’t fit the bill anymore. So I decided to end the blog in a similar way to how I started it.  This post, like a lot of my musing on my life will not pass the bechdel test. And that is OK by me. My readership of bots and the occasional straggler and the even rarer person who uses this space to keep tabs on me, will not mind.

Today I am 32 going on 33. As I enter my Jesus year, I again take stock of what I have done, what my life has become in a way. I had a really strange weekend… well week. And I figured why not type it out here.

Gazelle is no stranger to black girl pain. And I have posted about it, ad nauseum. I see it in the micro-aggressions of my coworkers, and in how people who I think are friends and sometimes even family over look or brush off my concerns or belittle my experiences.  In 2016, I knew that a lot of changes were afoot. I knew that I was coming back to the US, I knew that that I wanted to make a concerted effort to find someone for whom I would be enough.

For a lot of reasons, some I highlighted in this post I didn’t have time to explore, date, fall in love in my teens and sure as hell did not have time in my 20s.  I feel like I have been playing catchup in a lot of senses. But 2016 was supposed to be the year that changed that. Hurt and disillusioned by someone who I thought I could trust to not treat me like a trash heap, I tried my best to brush being kicked aside and focus on being the best me. And it was a bumpy ride indeed. I swiped right a lot and left a whole lot more. I checked messages on dating profiles. I gave people a chance that I knew I would not have to consider if I was well, lighter or whiter.  And I realized that at the end of the day, Gazelle has standards.  I am not booty call kind of girl. I also have no time for wishy washy behavior.  I deserve to be treated like a human. By December of 2016 I was all swiped out and ready to just be alone all by myself . At least for the first quarter of the year 2017.

Living in the States, and in a very white as state at that, has made me realize how invisible black women are. I am one of very few where I work, I can’t get black cosmetics or hair products where I live. But I trudge on. Many Americans say they are post-racial, but that has not been my experience.

But don’t envision the violins just yet. This post isn’t about be crying a river, well not at least for the reasons you might think.

I have been grappling with a lot. My sense of self. My sense of self worth. I think it’s hard to live in world where you know there is nothing wrong with you, but the entire society is garbage, or at least it’s set up to make you feel like garbage. One of my oft-repeated sayings to myself is something I saw on a poster: “Eres preciosa, es la sociedad que es una mierda” – You are precious, it’s society that is a piece of shit. But you know, if a tree is standing up straigh in a forest, but all the other trees are bent and tell that straight tree that it’s the one that’s crooked. Who is right?

But I have digressed, I think. By the end of 2016 I was ready to shake of some bad habits and useless friendships. I was also resigned to not swiping on anyone else and letting the chips fall where they may with the three remaining men I was talking to. In the end, one came out a champion— but depends on how you look at things, because only Gazelle’s affection was the prize (I guess I should have sweetened the pot). And things were good, I guess. But then there never really is a good and a bad in life. Things just kind of are what they are.

Last week Thursday I accidentally posted a picture of us on facebook. (damn that app!… ha ha). I was showing someone the photo and must have set it as the photo instead. I had two coffee dates, one with a white acquaintance who in the 11 months we have known each other, met and moved in with her boyfriend, the other an Arab acquaintance who muses about finding a mate. Neither convo passed the bechdel test. By the time I came back from lunch I had all these likes and loves and even some comments. Yikes! Not what I wanted at all.

What’s even funnier is that on Sunday, I woke up. I went out with my boyfriend and we did everything we planned to do that day. Then we came back to his apartment and ended up having a conversation that lead us to the realization that we are breaking up.

My silver lining is that I dated a human being. I have no regrets of dating him. Unlike anyone I have ever had a romantic encounter with previously, he treated me with respect he did not lie to me (or to himself and therefore by extension to me).  He did not lie by omission, he did not treat me so callously that I questioned my own sanity and sought counselling (yup LJ Cul de Sac, talking about you). I can honestly say that he is a genuinely good person and in my interactions with him, a stand up individual. I wish him all the best.

It is a relief to break up with someone and not want to punch them in the face or cringe about your connection.  It also is kind of sad, because when I think about other people, including one who knew me for over a decade and he is the only person I can say this about.

So yeah, I am crying a little bit. Not in front of anyone, just by myself in my home. It didn’t work out. The thing is though, I am not sure where the tears are coming from. Is it that I will miss him? Is it that I know I don’t have heart or the energy to make trying to date as a black woman in a brown and white world my second job? I am not sure. They are tears for myself in either case.

I mean, I don’t owe him my tears, right? That is one thing I can have for myself. Sometimes, the responsibilities that I have borne and continue to bear make me feel like I have to give to different people so many pieces of myself that there is nothing left for me. And here I am again, although under the best of circumstances, considering everything, and a piece of me has essentially been refused. That is what it feels like. A few years ago, I wrote a journal entry about something that happened one Christmas, sheesh it was probably like 7—hmm probably even earlier — years ago now,

 

It’s funny how some events we remember as clearly as they were yesterday or right here in this moment, while there remains people, things, places that float away, out of our consciousness.  Then there are those events where we only remember the feeling, the burn, the sting, the sweetness, the bitterness.

Dates, times all meld together, but the essence of it all remains.

Like that Christmas 20—- something or other.

As usual, I had no money, no gifts, but I hoped to make someone else’s life a bit brighter, and to this day I still shed tears for my unrequited gift. 

——————————————-

Aunty A. gave me twenty dollars.  Twenty Dollars, enough to go out with friends, enough to but necessities for school, you know. Shampoo, laundry detergent and the like… If it was indeed that long ago.  Perhaps I wasn’t in college then, perhaps I was still battling my high school wars. 

I just remember twenty dollars, and visiting Aunty A. and going on to visit uncle M. who lived nearby.  His wife had died a while back, but the families remained close-ish.  I felt so helpless, here it was Christmas, and I was at a family who had been pivotal in achieving the goals I wanted to achieve. 

I wanted to do it, and I didn’t want to do it. 

But I did it.  I knew it was the right thing.  I knew it wasn’t the most advantageous to me, but I thought, ” what else do I have to give these boys?”  

so I gave it.  the Twenty Dollar bill. My twenty Dollar bill.  and I felt good about it.   Like I was on my way to being the aunty—- the surrogate big sis I wanted to be.  Like despite my searing poverty, I brightened the life of several kids. 

Yes, it was not much.  It was twenty bucks divided between three not so little kids— 10 for the eldest and 5 for the other two. But it was all I had.  And I gave it freely, of my own volition. 

And then he said it.  The words, I have have forgotten their exact constitution, but the feeling, the same and helplessness that has enveloped every aspect of my life before and after that day, is still fresh. 

“Twenty dollars for the three of us?”  he asked.  When I replied with the affirmative, he scoffed and said something that let me know the gift was not on his level.   It was rejected for its infinitesimal impact, it’s puny size and its gigantic  lameness. 

It hurt.  It cut deep.    

To think something,  that I had prized so much, a gesture that I had embraced with a ravaging earnestness, and gratefulness— was rejected out of hand. 

That child, teenager really, never knew the extent of my sacrifice, perhaps if he had, he would not have been so forthright in expressing his disdain.  

But as it stands, he will never know how efficaciously he helped further destroy my sense of self-worth. 

That day, I learned that people don’t give a damn about  how much you give up for them.  

 

My newly minted ex was a lot kinder than the kid in my entry. But the sting is all the same. Maybe it’s cynical me talking here, but I think the lesson I learned then has yet to be proven wrong. Or maybe cynical me is me.

So there you have it. 10 years and no elucidating perspectives in sight. Life just kind of is what it is. Maybe I will look back on this and see it as turning point or breakthrough. Maybe it will be the beginning of some sort of horrible spiral. If the past 10 years have taught me anything, it’s that I don’t really know and can’t really anticipate anything in life or love.

Some of the greatest leaps of faith left  medown with sprained foot or bum knee. At other times, I walked right through windows of opportunity so big I thought they were doors.

All I can do is take care of me. It’s time, it looks like, to cross off some stuff from my meaning to-do list. Capstone post for blog: Check.

Goodbye virtual world, it’s been real. But nobody really blogs anymore anyway… Goodbye bots??? ha ha.

 

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2 thoughts on “On the Bechdel Test and One Last Hurrah

  1. Liz

    I’ll miss reading your entries! You have some insightful and very real perspectives to share. Best of luck in your next endeavor!

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