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Taking It Personal

Posted by JD on Thursday, December 17, 2009 , under | comments (2)

Me and the blogger behind Elegant Ignance had a conversation about a month ago where we both expressed surprised at how many blogs there are. We both said that had we known that there were so many blogs, we probably wouldn’t have started ours. Someone then pointed out to Crystal, the writer of EI, that she has a different perspective than others and there being ‘a lot’ of blogs doesn’t make her blog any less valuable.

I started HappyAboutThis almost three months ago and I am still finding my voice. I want to balance my desire to write about what I am interested in verses what I believe people want to read. The more I read the blogs that are available I think there is plenty of room for my perspective.

There are some purposes that I definitely don't want H.A.T. to serve.

I’ll never issue advice--I’m not qualified to advise anyone on anything unless they are preparing for a speech, media appearance, or need other professional communications advice [If you need such advise, please contact me, I have reasonable prices and great recommendations].

This is most certainly not a sensational or satirical blog…they’ll be no titles like “10 things Black Men Can Do to Control Their Jumpoffs” or "How Lacefronts are Ruining Relationships." In fact, H.A.T. will not be a blog that focuses on relationships either.

Furthermore, H.A.T. is not going to be a political or racial discourse blog, although I do provide commentary of that nature and welcome such discussion.

So what should it be?

A few months ago someone I was following on twitter lamented the decline of the “personal blog.” The blog that follows someone’s life through ups and downs, not a niche subject blog i.e. limiting your writing to race or healthcare or dating etc. Personal blogs give readers regular insight into the writer's mind and allows readers to view and consume their opinions in context. I believe this is the biggest advantage of having a blog overall and I plan to take advantage.

Turning H.A.T. into a personal blog will be good for a few reasons. At least 2 times a week (I’m not exaggerating) someone tells me that I need my own reality show. People seem to be interested in me, what I do, why I say the things I say, and why I am so dramatic and without filter. Let’s see if that interest wanes once I’m handing out my fuckery several times a week.

Finally, taking this personal will make the posts less random. Readers will know why I’m writing about certain topics and will have a better understanding of why I believe the way I do. I am definitely a fan of "personal stories" (and I have and will continue to print OTHER people's personal stories on my blog such as Justin Cooper's tale of his bouts with depression and Greg C's story of 100lb weight loss). I think this blog will be a great place for those who like a lil soap opera while they peruse the web.

I am hoping that these changes will give me the opportunity to achieve a few goals with my blog.

• Grow my commentary writing (Place articles in publication etc.)
• Increase the precision of my writing (you know, nailing it on the head).
• Become more concise (nailing it on the head briefly)
• Start something and continue with it (I’m not disciplined whatsoever)
• Expand the number of viewpoints to which I have access (Please don’t be ignorant in my comment section *hovers over delete button*)
• Examine my own skills, abilities, beliefs and opinions (I like to be challenged, very few people’s opinions and skills sets are fully formed or perfectly expressed and executed, let's discuss!)

All of this, hopefully, with the help of some thoughtful readers.

The look of H.A.T. will be revamped pretty soon and I am considering switching from blogger to wordpress. However, in the meantime, posts will continue with a new slant starting Monday.

Feedback is welcome!

Single Black Women: Like a Broken Record

Posted by JD on , under | comments (20)

There’s been lots of talk lately about single black women. In part, this is due to lots of articles in the mainstream media about how successful black women are increasingly not finding husbands but also because of an article profile of the writer Helena Andrews in the Washington Post. Andrews’s book, “Bitch is the New Black,” is a collection of essays on single black women that, although is not yet completed, is already scheduled to be a movie of some sort.

There were blog posts that captured my thoughts relative to Ms. Andrews work and the plight of single black women. One was over at The Beautiful Struggler the other on Brandon Saint Randy. Finally, there was a brilliant and very concise piece written on Andrews and the plight of black storytellers over at The American Prospect that I wish I’d have written *shaking fist*.

Beyond those three, other blogs and blog comments that I’ve read lacked sensitivity toward this serious issue and mostly people took the broken record approach using their space in the blogosphere to remark on what black women are “doing wrong” and rehash all the ‘bad things’ they’ve seen single black women do, or, worse, to personally attack Ms. Andrews based off what little information was provided about her in the Post.

How dreadful.

If you read my blog or follow me on twitter, you know that I’m single, I live in DC, I’d like to get married and have a family, but I realize the odds are not in my favor. I’m not miserable, I don’t need to try online dating, I don’t need to smile more or date outside of my race. I also am not a successful bitch, I don’t look down on men who make less money than me, I meet men all the time, I’m not targeting the tall and handsome Ivy League graduate prototype, I’m not chasing thugs or athletes, I’m not overly conceited or confident, I’m not a snob nor am I bourgie, I’m not a mean person, I don’t need to lose weight to attract better men, people like me, and I have lots of hobbies. I’m a normal girl, I like myself, I like my life, men seem to like me, and being single is a breeze for the most part.

Now that that’s out of the way, you won’t have to (mis)use my comments section to tell me what I and women like myself (whatever that means) need to do to increase our chances of getting married. I don’t need or want your advice. Consider this discussion officially elevated.

Let me tell you why I’m single and why I worry about being single over the long-term.

Over the past 7 years of being single (yes, 7) I’ve met lots of wonderful men—hardworking gentleman with goals and plans to get there. However, in terms of compatibility, I have yet to meet anyone whose company I truly enjoyed or with whom I felt a strong mental and emotional connection and a sense that our lives were moving in the same direction. I’m not saying that this can’t happen, but the pool of men I’m swimming in is increasingly small as the statistics show. Love is a numbers game. I’m not winning yet and the reality is I may never.

It’s that simple.

My worries about being single don’t center around my present— they center around my future e.g. my desire to be a mother and have a partner with whom to raise my children, to have a live-in second opinion on financial and other personal matters, to build wealth and have a built-in support system…the opportunity to be a part of a team. Those desires and the LEGITIMATE worry that I won’t ever have those things (whether due to my own shortcomings or not) shouldn’t be dismissed by some silly writer’s pen and shouldn’t be used to categorize me as some single lonely bitter shrew. (see above)

Seeing what my single and older friends were going through, I decided that I was not going to let some mythological husband determine whether or not I became a mother. That, at least, I can control. I set a goal of adopting two kids: a boy a 31 and a girl at 33. I will be 28 years old March 2010.

(Raising a dog alone is hard enough! Two kids? I'm gonna be plenty tired!)

This morning, it occurred to me suddenly that if I plan to stick with this goal, I have 3 years to prepare myself...I'm close...but no cigar. Although, I make a lot of money I've also enjoyed my years being single (I've travelled A LOT, worn nice clothes, owned some nice cars, and pretty much partied it up *makes it rain on*). Now, I have 3 years to aggressively save toward a home and being able to go through a pricy overseas adoption. 3 years to move to a location where being a single parent won’t be so logistically difficult (I don't want to be a single parent in DC). 3 years to get to a place in my career where I will actually have time to spend with my kids who will have only one parent to on whom to rely.

I may not be in the position to adopt my first child at 31 as projected, but I am beginning to attack the appropriate life, financial and business planning to ensure that I meet my goals at some point. I am doing this as a team of one. Had I seriously considered the fact that I may never marry and may never have a second income with which to pay a mortgage and raise kids, I might have been a tad more responsible in my spending habits. But that's neither here nor there (or in the Mac store on South Beach,'s not at the Louis Vuitton store in San Juan Puerto Rico either--I checked there as well).

Being single may be a breeze now and relationships are definitely hardwork (my parents have been married over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot)…but marriage has serious benefits (both financially and emotionally), to deny that is silly, and even sillier still to act like women (or men) are wrong for wanting those benefits and worrying that it will never happen for them.

I am telling MY story so that as you peruse the internet and you run across stories written about single black women, perhaps you will be encouraged to practice some level of sensitivity. Try to see single black women as individuals rather than caricatures and member’s of a group that needs to be “set straight” about what they are “doing wrong.” Don’t assume we are all lonely. Don’t assume we are all “pining’ away. Don’t assume we want your advice. In fact, don’t assume we are anything other than individuals who are less likely than our white counterparts to be able to achieve the marriage goal---like so many other disadvantages we face as a result of the racial dynamic in this country.

I hope that’s not too much to ask.