2016 in Review: Highs (so few), Lows (so many), Dating Woes

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So, I have been doing much reflecting on this shit-show we call 2016. Caught in yet another discussion with someone on the plight of black women, specifically dark skinned ones, specifically dark skinned ones with African Featuers, specifically dark skinned ones with African features whose bodies are not of the main stream ideal variety and are more curvy (whether we are regular, overweight or obese).

And I breathed a heavy sigh. Maybe a year ago now, a mixed friend, one who is black and Asian made me feel pretty bad…ha ha . We weren’t friends quite yet, but I was making a comment about standards of beauty, especially as internalized by men and how that translates into how different groups of women are treated. And her response was basically to state outright that no matter how bad it was for the kind of black women I outlined above, it’s worse for her because she is mixed and fetishized for her Asian-ness. I sort of just sat there quietly: I knew then that there would be a limit to the kinds of convos we could have.

I was talking about feeling invisible, of dealing with really shitty situations and people who try to make you feel less than dirt (even if they deign to date you), I was talking about being at the bottom of the totem pole, and her reaction was basically “Well you’re lucky because I never know if people really want me for me or because of how I look”….

 

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I don’t know Kat, I really don’t know…

Honestly, the second conversation was practically triggering as I had filed this lack of empathy incident away in my “Oh well, we knew human beings lacked basic empathy.” file.  I mean, I am talking about not even being under consideration in many circles, and you are talking about being wanted by many.

When I talk about these things, I am not looking for pity. I am just looking for people to acknowledge that maybe, someone has it worse than they do, that maybe it’s a little harder for some of us than it is for others. I acknowledge my privilege all the freaking time! I know it’s there, I know I enjoy it: I work in a space where most of the poc serve the food or clean or are security guards. I was born in a hospital in country that had 5 doctors total— 4 years ago (have no idea how many there were when I was born!).

But I digress.

Yest another conversation, this time with a black man, educated one, elite educated one, elite job holder now… who was lamenting his lack of matches on social media. Because I had gotten more matches that somehow meant that things were so bad for him.

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seriously

 

This is despite the fact that the negro had 3 count em 3 girlfriends (all reasonable attractive, at least two really well educated with white collars jobs, a plethora of travel experiences… etc. etc. etc….  in the past year alone, along with FWB/DTF – type deals as well. Ugh. No. You don’t have it worse. Nowhere in the neighborhood of worse.

After listing all the awful (honest to God awful individuals I have dealt with this year, his response was “well, I had better quality” but you had better “quantity” …..

Last time I checked having five bags of garbage as compared to his one containter full of recyclables means his house is a lot neater than my own.

And no, I am not comparing people per se, I am comparing experiences. But this entry has become more like an intro. more on the horrors of the individuals I’ve interacted with this year in the next post.

On Love: GAzelleism of the week

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So I wrote this God knows when, I am just cleaning out my closet of sorts.. I think this is 2016 post, but it might be from 2015…honestly I have been recycling some of the same feelings. But in the interest of throwing out the trash, here it goes: Another GDS original.

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Preach Ernest! source

You can’t love people who have neither the desire nor the fortitude to love you back… well you can love such people, but it will probably be to your own detriment… just saying.

Love is built on three reciprocated pillars: Respect, care and trust. I don’t care what kind of love we are talking about if one of these three are missing you’ve got a problem.

Sharing common DNA does not necessarily mean that these three pillars will be there going both ways, (so that each person is both a lover and is loved). Really, really, wishing your feelings were reciprocated won’t make it so in romantic relationships either… ha ha…

So if you have a frenemy, explain your relationship status as complicated or feel the dire necessity of shaking them haterz off even amongst family… You may want to reexamine your motivations for staying invested and connected to these individuals.

Hanging onto people who don’t want to hold you… will just leave you all ALONE in the end.

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Lessons learned and they sure run deep!!!!  source

On Feeling Validated

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It was refreshing a few days ago to have a few different conversations with single women I know about life and love and standards of beauty. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t served cold platitudes of “Oh but Gazelle, you are beautiful!” (and what does me or you KNOWING how amazing I am have to do with society’s tendency to pick apart the notion and dump it in a trash heap?)

Or, “You don’t have to be statistic if you don’t want to be, just get out there and try.” (Um, ok. Yeah all I have to do is get out there and keep going at it. Why didn’t I think of that??? Gee, your advise is amazing.. cue the rolled. eyes… ha ha).

or the worst of them all “But so and so is a black woman and she doing just fine.” (Oh, ok so by your logic, we have a black family in the White House, so all black people in America are doing just fine socially, economically and politically, and if their not, then it’s their fault??????)

So conversation one, was with an Asian friend. Whenwe were talking about I was no longer on a dating site (all halal I assure you…ha ha) that she is still plodding through, she at first was very frank with me and told me that she didn’t think I tried enough. We are friends and I get it. I am grateful for her honesty. And even more grateful for the chance she gave me to explain why I just am not all Pollyana about this stuff anymore:

I come from a place where people like me more often than not end up alone, and I have made peace with it. I’m an educated black woman with African features and a curvier (and by no means fat… I am still really confused as to when one became a euphemism for the other… sigh) figure. I don’t know when people who look like me were ever in, but we’re not the “it girls” of today. And Apparently the dating/courting scene is a lot more superficial than I thought when I was younger, fresher and more optimistic. And my younger, fresher, more optimistic about live and love days were when and how I discovered these noble truths (and yes, I realize that they don’t have to be truths for everyone).

And I feel super respected for once

But yes. I am the person least likely to get an OK Cupid Reply. I am more likely to have fewer matches on Tinder.  And the same goes for any other dating site/arrangmeent/set-up in the virtual world or in the real one. I am just not who most people think of when they think of the girl of their dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I am the type to get hits now and then, from way to old pappi picantes and other inconsiderates who haven’t read my profile. Or even worse from random men who think a way to a woman’s heart is through vulgar messages. :-/… but that’s every woman’s lot these days.

Wow check out those figures! Why am I so complacent about being a statistic???? Shame on me, GAzelle …ha ha

Don’t get em wrong I am not a pessimist. But I am damn sure a realist. My predicament is not unusual but it felt good to talk to someone that didn’t judge and didn’t call me a whiner. Instead she just said “oh, I didn’t know. Sorry. I guess I understand a little better now.” She told me not to give up hope (yeah girl, too late… ha ha… And the well just marry a blue collar guy solution is well… meh.. it clashes with compatibility, I think).

Another friend, one whose physical characteristics are closer to mine gave me understanding nods sighs. Can I just say it felt good to be validated. To not even have to explain myself and defend the validity of my own lived experience!

I’m not delusional. I don’t have low self-esteem (I will kick someone to the curb with the quickness!) I don’t have too much self-esteem. I’m just real. and as for her, well she too is trying, putting her best face forward and herself out there being open to love.

Somehow other people here me (complain) about my dating/lackofalovelife woes and ASSSUME I am not proactive or assertive or optimistic at all. WRONG

I understand how things work. And although I wish they were different, there’s but so much I can do to fix where I fall on the totem pole.

Actually Eff the totem pole!

My problem is actually that all of these concerns fly out the window far too quickly when I’m in certain settings and situations.

Sigh. At any rate, I’m just gonna live life and be me. If that means finding and marrying somebody (educated) that I love and who loves me back, and has the same values that I have, similar passions (broadly defined) with whom I share a mutual attraction then great. But Gazelle can do but so much.

Actually, the only thing Gazelle can control is Gazelle. I started this blog with woe is me, will I ever find someone posts. I’ve posted periodically about the fish that had to be thrown back in the sea (and not quite so much about the ones that never too the bait, since I’ve chosen this rather crude analogy… :-/

But it’s been over 8 years and I think I don’t want to spend to much time thinking about what I already know. For now, it’s enough that my experiences and perspectives were validated. Someone out there knows that life for me, is not about trite platitudes doled out as advice or other people’s lives held up as examples for me to follow (without consideration for the privileges we do not share).

My experiences and the viewpoints that have developed as a result are valid.

Now if I could only decide between (re)downloading Tinder onto my blackberry… or signing up for another service….

Or maybe  should just hold my American passport up in a bunch of profile pictures (that should have them rolling in) ha ha… #Youneverknow 😉

On Being a Dark Girl: Oprah has done it again!

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The O Network will be featuring a documentary called, Dark Girls, about what it’s like to be a dark skinned woman. Naturally as one of those said Dark Girls I am very much interested in what this film has to say about us. (And ahem, why was I not called for an interview?)…ha, ha…

I have the O Network, and so I will be tuning in, and will undoubtedly have much to say.

This documentary comes at an interesting time for me, I think.  I was verbally abused by a ruddy looking dude (perhaps he was homeless?) in DC.  It all started with the usual street jargon that people yell… I think this guy yelled at me “Hey Gorgeous!” to which I did not reply and just kept walking.

Well he was a nasty thing, and after feeling slighted said a bunch of things, the only one of which I can remember is “You don’t want to talk to me because I’m black? Well, you blacker than I am!”   Um, whaaaaaaaat!!!!!!!  My first instinct was to laugh and keep walking.  He obviously looked like a lunatic. A man in his forties, dirty clothes and God knows what else (I did not get a good look at him) yelling stupid nonsense is no skin off my back… or is it?

I think I read someone’s comment on the documentary about how black people sometimes use the word “black” as an insult.  Of course, this is what that caramel colored fool did with me.  Somehow, it might have affected me more than I thought?

Precisely!

Maybe not, I think being back in the DC area and hearing random things like hey beautiful, relatively often makes me feel a little PTSDish… like I’m back in one of those places where cat-calls are the norm.  Usually, I don’t care.  Usually I don’t even remember the situation once its past. Unless of course, the circumstances are unusual, or the man is particularly bold or witty.

I think this buffoon falls into bold category.  Part of the reason why it stayed with me is because it’s safety issue.  All he did was put out vitriol demonstrating his lack of good manners, but it was enough to make me think, if only for a few seconds, about what to do if it got physical.

I wanted to shout this stuff from the roof tops, but decided to post it on my blog instead.

Sometimes, in Egypt or Morocco, I would walk around with my hand in a fist, just in case.  I unlearned that habit in the year since I’ve been home.  I don’t want to relearn it either.

Nor do I want to give off the sentiment that either place was entirely unsafe (a perusal of entries while in either country will make that clear).  But I stood out a little more in North Africa so more attention both positive an negative was a given.  But what is the motive of people like that weird guy I had the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with?  I guess the truth of the matter is that he would have been nasty even if I was white as snow, some men don’t know how to deal with rejection…. ha, ha….

Do-do birds like him aside, being dark-skinned is not all a pity parade, I don’t think so anyway.  But I know that a lot of people do in fact think like this.  For large swaths of people, a darker-skinned woman must be exceptionally beautiful to be acknowledged as beautiful.  (It’s annoying, but I often hear things like oh she’s so fair, so white, so light, she’s so pretty…. meaning fair skin=pretty…) but beauty is subjective.

I’ve never dated anyone my shade or darker…it wasn’t intentional, (then again, I haven’t dated many people). So, it’s not impossible for dark skinned people like me to get some love…ha, ha.

And don’t you forget it!!!!!!!!!

And yet, there have been plenty of times where I have been left confused.  Confused because someone, who looks a certain way I had decided somewhere in my subconscious, is not attracted to people who look like me.  Each time it has happened, I have to sit myself down and reevaluate my preconceived notions about myself and how others see me.

Somehow I think that if a guy that looked like Fabian Rios would come my way, I would take him, no questions asked….ha, ha…

At any rate, here’s to Oprah for giving me something to help unpack what it means to be a “dark girl.”