Singledom…this is not a word, but I feel a need to make it a word; let’s do that here. We single women of color sure have gotten a bad rap as of late, and it is important to celebrate ourselves every once and a while. Oh yes, montages of four black women cheering and hollering at the ends of movies runs across my mind, but sometimes it is necessary…especially in times such as these.
For the past several years, I am sure you have been inundated with the headlines, the newsflashes, the urgent warnings, the de-cries, the declarations, and the general overall “de-craziness” of being a single black woman. If you’re not a black woman, I am sure you have witnessed all of the above.
The Washington Post cries, “For every 100 single black women, there are only 70 single black men.”
“42 percent of African-American women have yet to be married, compared to only 23 percent of white women,” a recent report on ABC news declares.
CNN has even gone as far as to blame the high number of single black women on black churches. I now groan whenever I read an article or watch a news story portraying successful black women as lonely, arrogant, lacking femininity, and well…lonely.
And if that wasn’t enough, our self-esteems take another thrashing when we come across those damn xtraNormal.com animated shorts- exaggerating the attitudes of successful black women. It seems being single is nothing to celebrate these days; overnight black women have found themselves stuck in the middle of a twisted Terry McMillan novel, waiting to exhale and get our grooves on.
I find it ironic to write an article celebrating single women when I myself am in the deep nuances of a serious relationship. One would question (and I don’t mind), “Why would you want to celebrate the joys of being single when you are in a loving relationship? Why an ode to what amount to sheer loneliness?”
I pondered this question myself; society has set black women up to believe that if we are lucky enough to be in a relationship, then we have been saved from those gloomy statistics, and must revel in the joys of being part of a couple. And while I am absolutely crazy about my boyfriend, a proud black man, and I relish in his affections, I am not naïve, nor so high up on Cloud Nine that I cannot see the positives in being a single woman too. Even in a relationship, I cherish the occasional day when I am idle and without a care in the world:
A lazy Sunday afternoon drifts lazily on high
Her mocha limbs sprawled in four directions
Ghirardelli Squares™ lay waiting nearby
and closer- a journal screams of confessions
not a soul will ever hope to hear
except…maybe…the First Lady of Song
A cell phone dutifully collects missed calls
and messages from those she holds dear
to her heart- no need to be perfect, no need to belong
free of attachment-she writes her own lyrical laws.
Let us celebrate the joys and liberties of the modern woman, whether alone or attached. Let us not be defined by the 70%, the 42%, the number of children we raise, the number of degrees we accrue, nor the number of dollars we earn. Whether or not we are in relationship, remember the times when being alone was not the death sentence we feared. Take that occasional day to watch a sappy chick flick, while eating something deliciously sinful, hair undone, feet scratchy, and our clothing…well…is…unmentionable.
Let us never forget our girlfriends; make a pact to continue girls’ night even after declarations of love, vows of forever, and drifting on Cloud Nines. There is something wonderfully romantic about the single woman; there is a calm, a freedom…a peace that cannot be discarded. Let us take those positive attributes of our singleness to create balance in our romantic, as well as our platonic, relationships. This is my ‘Ode to Singledom’.