“Colored Single Girl Chronicle” Part 3

Aug 16, 2010 @ 7:28 am | By TheFeministGriote | 3 Comments

Eat Pray Love Edition:

When I started this series my main objective was to highlight the pluses of being single and how this time should be cherished and not be viewed as a form of penance, but in doing some soul searching and searching the universe for clarity on this subject,  I realized that being single is not monolithic i.e. it does not look the same for every woman. Let’s take a look at the cult phenomenon Sex and the City. I don’t know many single women in that tax bracket that can spend an exuberant amount of money on shoes, clothes, and dine out every night. That is not my reality or the reality of anyone within my proximity.

Truth is race, class, and education plays a big role on how you digest the single pill. For the entire summer, I have been wanting to see the movie Eat Pray Love. I planned on reading the book before seeing the movie, but it did not fit into my feminist summer reading list so I opted to just see the movie. Of course we all know the premise of the movie Liz Gilbert played by Julia Roberts decides that she is tired of her present life and has lost her balance and purpose in life therefore, she decides to take a year off and “find herself.” The journey of self-realization starts in Italy,  leads to India, and then culminates in Bali where love and balance is ultimately achieved by the protagonist. One of my ultimate goals in life is to acquire at least 40 stamps on my passport. Actually, my passport is one of my most coveted possessions (second only to my mac laptop and ipod). Because of this, I found the movie beautiful because I can see myself traveling extensively like that, but unlike Julia Roberts character in the movie I don’t have the luxury of checking out of my life and getting a guru.

I, like many other women I know who have lost their sense of self- identity in a man/lover and is now faced with the daunting task of rebuilding ourselves, our esteem, and changing our self-talk had to do all of that while juggling school, family, organizational affiliations, work, and any other pressing life issue that cannot be put on pause.  When I was at my lowest point emotionally and I was struggling with a really bad breakup that was also the time I had decided to go back to school and I managed to make all A’s that semester. Mind you, I wasn’t taking music appreciation or P.E. I was taking all 300 level courses which had heavy philosophical components and extensive reading. I had to come to grips that although my finances were shaky, my heart was broken, my emotional fortitude was greatly compromised I still had a life, goals, and things that needed to get done regardless. I couldn’t tell Bank of America I am too emotionally distraught to pay my car note this month. I couldn’t tell my boss that I am nursing a broken ego/heart and therefore, I want to take 90 days off. Unfortunately, life does not work that way for us working stiffs. We have to become masters of multi-tasking and learn to tackle our demons while still remaining active in the here and now.

Julia Roberts character represents a privilege class of women who can afford nannies, guru’s, personal yoga instructor’s personal assistants, and the most precious commodity of them all time for self. For those of us whose careers do not afford us that type of disposable income or did not marry up, it is IMPERATIVE that we carve out time for ourselves and reclaim our power. My last semester in school I took a class called “Women’s Autobiography” as part of the syllabus I had to have an artist date once a week. This is time that you pre-plan to spend ALONE indulging in something that makes you happy. What makes it special and important is the fact that you planned it ahead of time. It is not to be done on the spur of the moment you are to deliberately make an appointment with yourself to feed your inner artist and let her do what she loves to do. I found those times precious. I reveled in them. I still continue them. I also read a lot of self help books, I prayed a lot, and I found new passions to give my love and attention to. Trust me if I could afford to check out of my life I would, but I can’t therefore its incumbent upon me to find a different way to nurture my soul and heal.

Unfortunately, as women too many people and things depend upon us and we can’t just abandon all of our responsibilities. One of the greatest things that I discovered was the art of saying NO. When I was trying to numb my pain I allowed myself to be volunteered for everything. I made sure my schedule was perpetually packed so I would not have an opportunity to think about how lonely and broken-hearted I truly was. That worked for a brief period of time until one day I broke and all the emotions came flooding in then I realized not only am I still emotionally hurt I am now physically tired which exasperates the situation. I learned then that I must learn to say NO and deal with my  issues. That meant recognizing that the pain and sense of loss I feel was real and I needed to confront it in a real way. “I had to do the work,” which is what the character Richard tells Julia Roberts in the movie. There is no quick fix to a broken-heart. There is no ultimate vacation spot that will purge your soul, there is no magic weight loss, or fabulous dress or shoes that will fill the hole you presently have in your heart, but I do know the more honest you are with yourself , if you commit to loving yourself better, and demanding more for yourself you will come to a place where you will think about the hurt, but it will no longer hurt!

3 Responses to “ “Colored Single Girl Chronicle” Part 3 ”

  1. Being a guy and all, I still feel what you’re saying. So often we’re caught up trying to “be on point” in certain avenues of our lives, that we miss the most important ones. I’m certainly not the person to knock love, but recently I found out that loving someone or asking someone to love you is idiotic unless you love yourself first. And not in that whole Richard Simmons way, but in a spiritual sense. And like you said, to do that, you must spend “time with self”. Of course I would love to spend “time with self” in Bali, riding waves and sipping coconuts, but the pleasures of life aren’t dispensed equally among us. So I; like many others, have to find the moments of solitary to enjoy time with my greatest friend, ME. Most of us will never know ourselves, and even worse love ourselves. But for the few that dare to venture into themselves and learn to love what they find, life is a beautiful thing and even more stunning with someone else. Love the interpretation of the film, and the conversion of it into something practical.

  2. I often think of my love life as a part of my education (metaphorically). Sometimes you don’t get the grade you felt that you deserved and sometimes the lesson could actually be in the failure of the course. The film Eat Pray Love filled me with an abundance of mental notes but my reality would be to put them into practice the only realistic way I can which is maybe during the last 20 minutes of my day (sad to say). Being a heartbroken Colored single this economy is a serious task and I commend each one of us that deal with it. Many of us choose to be single while others are forced into this shocking reality. I similar to Liz looked back and could not remember being single long enough to focus on myself. I left a relationship and breathed for literally hours and warmed up to the next subject of my life’s story. From him I broke it off for a year and continued communication which was not much of a help. When all contact needed to be severed I did so and felt empowered. I almost victimized myself again by moving on to the next source of affection and temporary satisfaction but I chose to make that a healthy friendship and maybe it may grow into more but for now I’m trying to balance myself and trust me that is more than enough to handle. Being an individual is a daunting task which only makes a relationship seem impossible. Baggage isn’t a woman with kids baggage is a woman that doesn’t know herself… It may take all eternity to truly know who you are but trying to cope alone and actually being in the process of self is a great signal that you may be ready to grow. In the end like the film Love may throw your balance off but it is the only thing worth losing balance over. The Bible says that Love is the greatest of all things. I wish you much Love!

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