By: Leah Lee
To be a black woman is to be a product of royalty. We have been sculpted and molded and perfected through centuries of vicarious and glorious women and embedded with their magical genes. My mother raised me with this mindset. She told me that I was too important to be treated as anything less than royalty. She also told me that loving yourself woudld be the hardest parts of growing up and that only once you learned to do that were you mature enough to love somebody else. Basically, she was saying a kingdom can only run if there is an equally worthy queen and king to rule it.
I realized over the years of growing up that black mothers take the independence of their daughters very seriously. It’s like common motive passed down from thousands of years ago that us queens are perfectly capable of ruling alone, or that we would have to get used to it, because stereotypically, our relationships aren’t destined to work anyway.
On the daily, my mother would preach to me how crucial it was to steer clear of men like they were a deadly contagion. Usually I wouldn’t question her wisdom and lengthy sermons but I was getting older, and there were clearly so many things I didn’t know yet so I popped the question, “what’s so bad about boys?”. She told me that men talk with a sweet tongue. At the time it sounded like a line from a cheap fortune cookie but I figured it was an answer that would come in time.
As I entered high school I found myself willingly changing to better adjust to the new group of people that I was surrounded by. I tricked myself into believing that being this “new me” was natural and part of the growing up process. My grades were low, I wasn’t active in school, I hung out with the wrong crowd. I just wasn’t the me I was before. There were moments where I was careless and did whatever I wanted to do.
I found myself being very rude to people as if I was in competition with every girl. Really I just wanted attention and looked for it in all the wrong people. I was putting myself in a position to be respected by the wrong people. I would create drama and spread around the names of people. I knew all along that it was real bad but for me it was a game.
It lowered how others saw me and made me less than royalty. I never really wanted to be in a relationship in high school anyway because I had no desire to be held down yet. But even then I still found the real me to be mature and valuing the chance to start a partnership even if it meant that I had to settle for someone who acted just like me. I wanted somebody to be my partner in crime and to call my own.
It seemed to make life look so much easier and brighter and I desired to be a part of this joyful new experience. Unfortunately, I knew I was not yet confident enough in myself to look beyond the type of guys I attracted and reach for something better so I decided to just give whatever came to me a chance, and my senior year I decided to uncover what it meant to be in a relationship.
The young man of my choosing was a popular football player, who at the time, I believed was up to my standards. We talked to each other all summer and made heart filled promises about how much we cared for each other. We would talk day and night right up until it was time to come back to school and could finally see each other in person.
I’d started to catch feelings for this boy and was excited to make a commitment and to share moments together and create a strong bond. I was eager to grow. I was reluctant to jump into this relationship and took my time. To this boy I apparently took too much time and he cheated on me before a bond could ever be established. I didn’t really care because we weren’t official anyway but I still couldn’t help but wonder how disrespectful it was to not respect my time.
My feelings weren’t hurt but I realized that I didn’t like the way I used to treat people and it opened my eyes.I realized this; if a woman portrays herself in a negative light and disrespects herself then a man of equal standards will approach her. I want to express that as a woman, respect from others come from respect from yourself first.
I ended up graduating from high school a morally outstanding student with new friends and a better sense of self worth. I’m worth more than to seen as a woman for everybody. I’m worth more than to have my happiness and time wasted. And ultimately I’m worth more than to be treated anything less than royalty.
I realized that you get the respect you deserve. Although you can not put a price on a person, you can have a value on them. As black women, it seems like we get lost in the ugly shadow the media placed over us. Our relationships are not supposed to be… right. Only tolerable and cute. Our image has been tainted with an imaginary blueprint of how you have to be to get an equally worthy man that rises to your standards.
This blueprint comes in many different forms, none of which mention how a strong foundation to a relationship starts with yourself . Be yourself in it’s purest of forms and be confident. You wouldn’t want a king who didn’t believe in himself as no king wants a hesitant queen.
It is important to understand that having a man in your life should not make your life complete but be an addition to your life for motivation to open up new doors. A relationship isn’t the icing on the cake but, the sprinkles on top, not the missing puzzle piece but, the frame around the puzzle. It is no body’s job to to make yourself happy except for yourself. Stop finding and seeking for someone to bond with and start meeting and introducing because your findings are not always worth keeping in your life.
I’m now a freshman in college (I know I’m young!) and have personally taken tremendous strides in how I have grown as a black woman. Although I can admit I found myself tempted to go back to my mushy and less than royal ways of bullying and not holding myself to a high standard, a little sprinkle came my way.
I have recently met my boyfriend who I take much pride in saying thinks just like me. He has helped open my eyes to a bigger picture in life and has help guide me away from backwoods that many walk into as a freshman in college. I didn’t look for him, I met him and very much happy I did. Even though the finer things in life has just begun, I can still find myself hoping to rule a kingdom one day. Pick your ‘fro, fix your contour, and hold your head up high queens and you will one day meet you perfect black man.
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