Manifesto: Dare To Be Happy

Lately I’ve been in the middle of a whirlwind of productions and projects, which led me to hole myself up in bed over the weekend and bury myself in a mountain of unread magazines. There, in the midst of pillows and those annoying subscription cards, I discovered two things: 1) I will more than likely remain single and 2) I really should be kinda upset about it.

From Jill Scott’s editorial in Essence about the “wince” she makes when she sees a black man with a white (or just non-black) woman, to the recent panel discussion questionably titled “Why Can’t A Successful Black Women Find A Man,” it seems that to many, my successful sistas and I are kind of in the pits, because we are single, female and black. Ouch.

I say don’t believe the hype. If we are told not to accept what the world gives us and strive for more in our careers/finances/lifestyle, why don’t we do the same for our love lives? For many of us Parlouristas, we are chameleons in our careers, always adding to a growing list of talents, trying new things and being pleasantly surprised by our potential. We acknowledge and respect the past while remixing the future. With great opportunities come great responsibilities and sometimes stressful situations, so why make your personal life another issue? There is no doubt that being a woman of color in this world has it’s own set of peculiar challenges, however when we make obstacles for ourselves it does nothing to lighten the burden.

Simply – be open to change.

I’m no guru but when you are flexible with your expectations, a surprise that you may love could be right around the corner. It worked in my career and with my personal life, single or in a relationship. Ever thought about dating outside your expectations, income bracket, neighborhood, industry, social circle, race or even your sex? [Sidenote: Kissing a girl at a bar after four tequila shots or watching the “L-Word” does not count. Don’t be messy ladies.]  At the end of the day, it’s not about how many points you can check off of a list, but how someone makes you feel. The whole point of flexibility is to learn more about yourself and be comfortable with who you see in the mirror. Expectations may breed disappointment, but with comfort comes confidence — and that can get you through the hardest day, single or coupled-up. I learned the above the hard way, and am still learning, but I can testify that relaxing yourself can do wonders.

Consider this a call to arms for spring. You are fabulous, so take advantage. Why “wince” at someone else’s situation, inter-racial or not? It may not be your thing, but there is no point in calling out the obvious. Dating preferences are based on a variety of factors, be they historical, superficial or genuine. Having your opinion is your right, but don’t use it as ammunition to justify your situation. Not all of the “good ones” are in jail, married, not into your race, etc…they are all around you. Move forward and holler at that cutie you never even noticed was checking for you. They may not be your “ideal,” but maybe your “ideal” is not working. Why worry about “never being able to find someone”? Are you OK when the emails and phones are off? Can you sit in a room and generally enjoy your own company? If not — don’t expect anyone else to.

Genuinely happy people make good girlfriends, wives, friends, sisters and mothers. With happiness comes responsibility as well, and it’s not all good everyday. So you are OK? Great! Now what about your home-girl who is having a tough time? Pass it on to her. The day I resolved that I wanted to do better, better things started coming to me. I ended a relationship that was not the best for me (or them) and in-turn, found peace with being single. I wanted a better body and found a great dance class that helped me drop some weight. Basically, I faced my own faults and am working to fix them. It’s not easy. But my sweat and tears is for my growth and I can see it working everyday. I am calmer, braver and more organized, and that’s only after one year. I still have my days where I eat lots of cake, drink wine and am generally bitchy but — it’s all a process.

So after those magazines scared me half to death over the weekend with their threats of dying single and loveless, I jumped in my car, rolled down all of the windows and blasted my favorite song. Because if I’m going to be single and upset, I should at least have a soundtrack and go out with a bang, right?

JBaker happily had a cookie after writing this…and then did five half-hearted crunches. E for Effort.

image: Veer

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVEEEEE you! I had a cookie and did NO crunches- so even more props to you 🙂 ha!

  • Fa

    Ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mojo

    sit alone in a room and enjoy your own company. i’m all about it!

  • Sol Chantal

    You hit the nail in the head…oh so many times! Finally! someone who is OK with being single. All my close girlfriends are single, including myself, and it’s becoming a drag hanging out with them. They are account directors, own their own businesses, LOOK GREAT! I don’t get it! They want to miserable just because they don’t have a man. But these are women that get approached EVERYDAY.

    I’m so happy that I’m single. It could be because my last relationship was probably the worst thing I’ve ever done. So it could be that single life is treating me better than my ex. Either way, it was great to find someone that appreciates dating, having fun, and not worring about being single.

    Too many men out there. All we have to do is pick one. It’s really that simple.