I Wasn't Born to be a Wife

The year was 2006. I, a newly minted freshman at Howard University, stayed up past midnight in my dorm on a three-way phone call with my besties from high school who were both attending college in New York. “Happy Birthday!!!,” they screamed when the clock struck 12, and we squealed with delight. Even with a late birthday, I was still the first of our crew to turn 18—an official “adult.” (11 years later, I know that adulthood beginning at 18 is a whole ass joke, but that’s another topic for another day).

The next morning, I got ready to go to class, and my home girl met me in the lobby and happily pinned a dollar to my shirt.  I looked at her puzzled, and she responded with her signature Texas drawl, “don’t worry about it—it’s a southern thang.”

As the day drew on, I received more phone calls, more Happy Birthday hugs, and my shirt was piling up with George Washingtons'. Heading to my 11am class about $12 richer, my phone rang. It was my mother.

“Hi mommy!”

My mom, responded: “Now, you can get married without my permission.”

Wives Blog Confused

I paused. Stared at the phone.

She laughed. “Happy birthday, my daughter.”

“Thanks mommy.”

After a couple minutes, I politely excused myself from the conversation, stating that I was going to be late for class and that I would call her back. I’m the youngest of my mama’s kids, so it was quite an accomplishment for her to have three “adult” children. What she said though, stayed with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mama, but I was slightly annoyed that before she wished me a “congratulations on going several years without accidentally killing yourself,” she talked to me about getting married.  To who?? I was still a child.

But this wasn’t new.

As far back as I could remember, my mother—a modest, prim and proper Baptist woman from the countryside of Jamaica, had talked to me and my sister about marriage. We were forced to accompany her to the laundromat, to clean the entire family’s bedding, play and school clothes. We were herded into bathroom, accosted with smells of bleach and other cleaning supplies, armed with rags and toilet brushes to learn what a good scrub looked like.  

When I whined to her about my brother not having to do any of the house chores, she’d simply reply, “he’s going to have a wife.”

We on the other hand, would be wives.

 I didn’t have a word for it then, but that’s probably when I became a feminist.

In retrospect, I can’t blame her. My mama is old school. Church every Sunday, marriage before children, no living together before marriage, type. Sex? Don’t even hug the person too closely before the rings are exchanged. Modesty was key, no skirts above the knee, kinda thing. I mean, let’s be real. Her mom-- my grandma--was a housewife who had 14 children. And even though my mom worked, and her marriage was... (another topic, another day) this kind of mindset was engrained in her.

I knew from an early age though, that life for me wasn’t JUST going to be about finding a husband and having children. As early as 7 years old, I had career goals of being either a musician or Oprah, and maintained hobbies and interests that didn’t only involve church. But as I grew up, and interacted with other young girls, especially those of Afro/Caribbean descent, I became increasingly aware of what society expected of us, and what I “ought” to be doing to prepare myself to be someone’s future wife.  My sister and I were in training, whereas my brother was virtually absolved of any household responsibility—something that seemed to be popular among boys. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, that attitude can trickle down into other things---entitlement, irresponsibility and the rampant “boys will be boys” mentality that have these grown folk running around acting an entire fool.

It’s more like boys got to be boys, and girls had to prepare to be women.

But I digress--

In terms of the marriage piece, y’all know that I am all for Black love. I’m all about romance, friendship, healthy relationships and building families. It’s equally as important however, for women to be able to grow up into who and what they want to be, personally, and professionally, in addition to being wives--if they choose to be.

There’s undue pressure from the time we are girls that to “get and keep” a man is the highest achievement. (In my 29 years, I’ve learned that you can’t get or a keep a man that doesn’t wanna be got or kept, but again, another story for another day.)

It’s also funny, that I’ve participated in conversations with some men who express a slight disdain toward women, claiming they “ just always want to be married” but then deem her unworthy, bitchy, crass, or worse—angry and bitter—if she reveals that it’s not that high up on the priority list.

Newsflash, beloved—Disney has been lying to both of us for years.

Finally, I’d surmise that if I perceived my biggest goal in life was marriage ( for arguments sake, in the so-called traditional sense) I’d likely be fine with doing all the damn cooking and picking up after a man and children. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s who I was.

But I see my future being a little more balanced. My partner will understand that the goal is to take care of each other, and of our home. Tending to our emotional and physical needs in the way that makes sense for both of our personalities, not just because it’s demanded of either of us. Because the fact is, if a woman is expected to do everything inside of the house, in addition to working, then that begs the question of what exactly the man’s role is?  We spend so much time talking about what it means to be a wife, but what does husbandry look like?  (You guessed it… another question, another day)
Now. I can bleach down a bathroom, and also cook some killer meals, but I’ll raise my future girls to do that so they, themselves can eat and because they have to wash their own ass—not necessarily only to be found competitive as a wife. I’ll raise them to have goals, to be generous, to have standards, to be a good person, teach them emotional intelligence, how to recycle...Shit like that. Because, her personhood, her individuality, her personality. —all those things matter for her to be whole, notwithstanding a partner.   

He who finds a wife, does find a good thing, and I completely agree.

But that’s not the end, or the beginning of her story.

He Said He Doesn't Believe in SoulMates

This past weekend was mad eventful. Like, I actually left the house more than once and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.  Let’s be real-- as much as I look forward to the end of the week, sometimes by the time it arrives, I am OVER IT and just want to stay my ass at home, braless and free, ordering food I have no business eating-- (in my mind, if you order through seamless, those calories don’t count against you) and binging my favorite shows. This time around, I was feeling unusually social, and my girls and I had already planned to see Girls Trip (which was HILARIOUS, btw—go see it if you haven’t already) on Friday, followed by dinner and drinks. The outing put me in an amazing mood and inspired me to be kinda mixy for the rest of the weekend, so the next day, me and my friends went to a  Jerk BBQ bashment on a Brooklyn rooftop. For my non- Caribbean massive, that basically means, Issa vibe--, plenty whining up of waists, BYOB, great music, great food, and great company.

Take a look.

I went with my line sister, her twin sister, and my best male friend--who also happens to be my neighbor-- ended up coming after he got off work.  We partied with our Howard University family until late in the evening, where us closer to 30 folk decided to make our way home. (We need our sleep).  Best Friend had to work in the morning anyway, so we hopped in his whip and made our way home. More often than not, when he and I go out and he drops me home, we have these deep conversations about life before we part ways.  This time was no different. Still on the edge of tipsiness, and in between bites of the most amazing slice of pizza I’ve had in a long time, we started talking about my favorite topics-- relationships. 10 minutes in, he dropped a bomb on me.

“I don’t believe in soul mates.”



“Well, why the hell not?,” I asked as I wiped the tomato sauce off my chin.

And what he said next, blew my mind— "You can develop connections with many people throughout the course of your life. Doesn’t mean that they are “the one.” There could be multiple people that you have a deeper level relationship with.”

I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. While I comprehend the notion of meeting, engaging and loving many people in a lifetime —after all, there are BILLIONS of people on the planet—Jeez Louise,  that sounds EXHAUSTING. Who wants to do that?

Best Friend continued: If you think about it in that sense, you’ll feel less pressure. Especially after you break up with someone, even though it might not feel like it at the moment, you’ll find another one who suits you.

Also, it should be noted that BF is in a committed relationship with someone that I met and like. They complement each other, are doing well, and as far as I know have a strong and loving partnership.

But I had to unpack what he said. Y’all know that I can be a hopeless, head over heels, hand to forehead, romantic, but I also—and forgive the pretentiousness of this next statement--- don’t like a lot of people. (Very particular and sensitive to folks' energies.) And while I know that Disney isn’t real, I’ve always been enamored with the “true love conquers all, One True Love,” that we’ve been fed. Take my favorite Disney Princess for example. In 90 minutes, sis Ariel fell in love with, traded her voice to a SEA WITCH and grew a whole entire pair of legs to be with her man.


Even with Cinderella, ol boy found his way through his entire town looking for baby girl to fit this custom shoe.  And I realize that love isn’t always that magical. Or if we’re being honest,--that one sided. In real life, Prince Charming would have absolutely found another foot to fit the shoe, and Ariel might have not been down for the long distance relationship. In real life, love is hard, frustrating, liberating, amazing, beautiful and all of the above.  But here I was, sitting in his car, in my entire feelings that Charming could dare give “Cindy’s custom footwear to some other chick!”

By Best Friend’s logic, though, I realized that, that’s not “her” shoe. It just happened to fit, and there will be others that wear the same size.


And I guess that makes sense, but I would be lying if I said the Hopeless Romantic in me struggles to accept that.

What do y’all think? Is there such a thing as a Soul Mate?

Do you think that there’s just one person that is “for you?”  

Even deeper – can you “miss” that person? We love to recite the saying that “what’s for you is for you,” but then… is that how people end up alone? Should I be concerned? 

I'm joking, obviously. 

... but, for real

Fix it, Black Jesus.

Would love to hear from y’all.

Join the conversation.


The Power of Vulnerability

Pull up a chair, sis. (And fellas too) This is exactly what it sounds like.  Let’s get right into it.

Vulnerability. Man, look.

The simple mention of that word is enough to make me shift my weight and squirm in discomfort.  
Allow me to explain:  I consider myself to be, pretty much, an open book. Folks know that I share my experiences online---that I can be super transparent and often use my daily situations, accomplishments and failures to both express my humanity, and to encourage myself and others on this journey called life. Even with all the perceived negatives of social media, I’ve come to find that shared experiences make one feel less alone. To know that you’re not the only one going through life's challenges in the way that you are, can be a huge relief. At any rate, even with all of my so called “openness”, I still have the tendency to distance myself from certain situations that call for just that.  What are they? You guessed it; matters of the heart.

First, let’s look at the definition of the V word. I can barely say it without flaring up my acid reflux.

Vulnerable: adjective
susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.

Bruh. Who the HELL wants to be that?

It is simply basic human instinct to strive, at all times, to protect ourselves. Even the homie Sigmund Freud said, that "the deepest essence of human nature consists of self-preservation."

What a mind f**k.

How in the hell am I supposed to self-preserve and seek love at the same damn time?  And that, my friends, is the question I ask myself every day.

I have literally ruined great potential partnerships by my unwillingness to open up completely, in that regard. As caring of a person that I can be, when it comes to dealing with relationships with men, I have only allowed them to get but so far, until I feel myself falling. Then, I take a lap and trap myself behind this proverbial wall.

Now, this wall? It’s not like Cheeto Satan’s alleged wall, but it might be just as absurd. In my mind, it’s made of glass, so technically, I’m able to see bae on the other side, and he can see me. (hey boo!) We talk to each other, we send cute gifts and exchange texts and calls. Every now and again, I come out from behind it when it’s time to be intimate, but I always return to my side and he’s simply not allowed to cross the line.

Not only can that make one look emotionally unstable and partially insane, it can also be truly exhausting for the other person to think for example, that he’s getting ready to play basketball, and then I show up with a hockey stick, some cleats and a relay baton, smiling.  Girl, get your life.

The truth of the matter is, in order for me to truly love and be loved, that wall must come down. This is also not just a woman thing. I recognize that male vulnerability is a unique nuanced experience, that can be beautiful and just as difficult.

So, what does it ultimately boil down to, friends?


Jazmine Sullivan said it best:  *sings* ‘’I’m not scared, of lions and tigers, and bears, but I’m scared of loving you.”

I feel you, sis. It be’s like that. We all know that when you lend your heart to another person, you're essentially giving them the ability to break it into a million bite sized pieces. One day, I’ll tell y’all the full story. but basically-- many moons ago-- a bright eyed and bushy tailed Grace entrusted her heart to someone. Needless to say, brotha man violated in the most horrific of ways, and I haven’t quite been the same since.

Therapy? Yes. I go. But a decade later, I realize that I am still subconsciously fearful of the possibility of being hurt to that degree ever again. That said, a more recent romantic situation has taught me how much I can lose if I don’t overcome this obstacle.

I've come to understand that you have to harness the power of the V. (no, not that V. Nasty… Although, that post may soon come) and let it work for you. Understand that:

1. Great things are on the other side.

You might get hurt, granted. That's life. But you also might flourish and find the great love that you’ve been yearning for. Discernment is key to deciding who and what to expose yourself to, but completely guarded emotions, cannot and will not work.

2. Self-Sabotage ain’t cute.

It doesn’t look good on you. Why push yourself further away from the things and people who are beneficial for you?  As ambitious women especially, I have no doubt that we will go for the jobs, apply for the promotion-- but with love, we hesitate. Emotionally blocking yourself for the sake of safety is natural, albeit. But it can also be unproductive.

3.  You’re worth it: Say it with me. Vul-ner-ability. You will literally get nowhere from behind a glass wall. In order to move forward in love and in life, you have to open yourself up. It might not always get you the answers you want, but you will have the ones you need.

Trust yourself.

If for the first time, or like me, again.  

After all, Freud also said, “out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength.”

It’s about time for me to take his-- and my own--advice.