If You Want To Live Well, Let Go Of The “Keeping It Real” Trickbag
THE FOLLY OF KEEPING IT REAL
During a recent conversation, Evia, blog host of Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine talked about how many African-American women unwittingly act in ways that are unattractive and severely limit their social maneuverability. She said,
Okay . . . re how to talk without saying anything much, it’s actually a dynamic process and specifics depend on the situation. It’s a survival skill. Mainly, you never, ever say anything that will come back to bite you or others like you in the butt.
[Another reader had asked:] Also why do I need wiggle room, if I’m representing myself, and I only plan to be myself?
You need wiggle room to enhance your surviving and thriving. None of us can predict life, so you must always give yourself a way out or space to switch up–just in case.
This goes back to the way some bw see themselves–as serious, always telling the whole TRUTH, being responsible, hardworking, plodding along putting one foot ahead of the other, etc. like stodgy mules–even though it doesn’t work to their benefit in lots of cases, obviously.
Self-Image. I would like instead for AA women to think of themselves as and cultivate the image of charming butterflies that flutter around. Such a butterfly would never make heavy statements or limit itself to showing only one side of itself. It knows it needs wiggle room so that it can keep on fluttering wherever and be seen. LOL! People like having that type of butterfly around. It’s lighthearted. It’s delightful to look at, but no one expects it to do anything concrete or memorable. That’s not what a butterfly does.
That butterfly could actually be very shrewd, could be moving with stealth, but no one would ever expect it to be and it sure won’t tell ALL. If you’re always just being “yourself,” you limit your movement drastically.
For ex. when I’m around practically any male (preteen to 95), I behave like a charming butterfly because that always works to my advantage with men (even with very young males). It makes that male feel good. That’s a win-win situation for both of us. That’s not the “real” me; that’s just one of my FACES. Note: I fortunately don’t have to spend any time around any ghetto-acting male.
Mules. Mules have to DO concrete things. They’re expected to act like mules at all times. People don’t particularly like to look at them, but they’re necessary. Too many AA women have decided to look and act like mules. People put pressure on mules that they would never put on a butterfly. Very few people would pressure a butterfly to answer a question because that delightful creature might–gasp!–fly away.
It has to do with the way a woman thinks about herself. This is what she projects.
You should NEVER present your “real” self to strangers. WHY would you do that? Only do that with others who’ve earned your trust. We all can cultivate many faces and if you haven’t done that, you should work on that ASAP. Unfortunately, many bw will ‘let it all hang out’, but when others use some of that as a noose for them, they have no wiggle room or way out.
Talk, be lighthearted, but keep it moving. Smile, be charming, but be evasive–like a butterfly. If you’re evasive long enough, the typical person will back off and go on to the next person. If the person persists, use what they’re asking you to change the subject or smile and start to remove yourself from their presence (like the butterfly). Say, “Excuse me, but I’ve got to finish doing . . .” or simply “I’ve got to go.”
Always remember though that you don’t EVER have to answer anyone’s intrusive questions IF you don’t want to do so–unless in a court of law or similar situations. You don’t have to talk to people just because they want to talk to you. I’ve been criticized for not talking to certain people online, but I KNOW I don’t have to talk to anyone if I don’t want to do so, and just because someone asks me a question doesn’t mean I have to answer. Ebonically speaking, “They ain’t nobody!” I talk if I CHOOSE to talk or answer. We all can make that choice.
The basic issue here is one of boundaries, as Khadija has pointed out, and as I pointed out about those “nice guy” males. You have to have boundaries when dealing with any other person. You have to believe down deep inside yourself that the inner you belongs to no other human being, but YOU, and that NO ONE must cross your boundaries. No other human being has the right to cross those boundaries to access inner areas of you or even any of your outer assets unless you CHOOSE, in your best interests, to give them permission. Here’s the clincher. In any interaction with another human being, virtually all of the time (except for maybe with your children), YOU are the primary person–the MOST important person. No one else is as important as you to yourself. No one. This is why the subtitle of my first book is “First and Foremost.” You have to believe that you are NUMBER 1.
In response, a reader named Tracy said,
Evia, for some reason, “butterfly” is very difficult for bw to grasp, simply because when you dare to walk around happy and bright eyed, you are called “fake” or , God forbid, “white”..
I truly believe that the phrase “Keeping it Real” was invented to keep bw in Mule/Sista Soldier mode. Real means letting it all hang out, not thinking thru or controlling your emotions, and basically not caring about the image you are projecting. It’s easy to be “real.” The girls that I mentored in church had the hardest time with being “fake” because they were always having to think about what was coming out of their mouths, what they were wearing, and yes even their facial expressions. I would try to get them to think of something funny or happy that would make them smile, or to soften their expressions – but sadly some of them couldn’t even muster a good thought.
The scariest part of all – the sharing. The only thing these girls wanted to talk about was tearing down some other girl. Or the last fight they had. Or a beatdown that they saw recently. THAT made them smile…I understand teenage cliques, but I believe that in some circles, it may be a matter of safety for them to be a “real” or “down” Mule – Butterfly’s could be crushed easily. Still, hopefully some of them will remember and use their lessons later on in life.
A CRASH COURSE IN FEMININE GRACE FOR RECOVERING MULES
There are resources that explain and teach more attractive behavior. The kind of comportment that will better serve those African-American women who are seeking abundance in every area of life. Melina, blog host of The Art Of Being Feminine, has an entire blog dedicated to the feminine arts. Specifically, tips and techniques for becoming “a feminine, womanly, mysterious, and ideal woman.” I believe the information Melina is sharing is extremely important for any woman who wants to live well. Here’s a suggestion I’ve previously given to the feminist ideologues among the audience:
TRY NOT TO HAVE KNEE-JERK RESPONSES AGAINST THE “ART OF BEING FEMININE” BLOG BASED ON OTHER WOMEN’S CONTEXTS
Let me repeat an observation that I made in an earlier post,
African-American women often buy into ideas that have no real relevance to their particular circumstances. This often comes up whenever Black women discuss the importance of marriage.
When analyzing ideas, Black women should keep their own circumstances in the forefront. African-American women are operating in a context that no other group of women are operating in. Other women may face similar issues, but at nowhere near the rate of African-American women. Black women need to stop tripping, recognize that other women’s context is not our context, and respond accordingly.
African-American women are operating in a context of a huge unmarried rate (relative to all other types of people) and a 70 percent-plus illegitimate child rate. In this context, African-American women can’t afford the luxury of calling ourselves “overcoming” the perception that we want legitimate marriage—just like every other race and ethnic group of women on the planet.
To paraphrase some other important points that Halima has made in earlier comments and blog posts:
Unlike the White female theorists who can afford to characterize marriage as a site of oppression, African-American women need to understand that marriage is important as a potential site for division of the hard work involved in raising children. Unlike the current situation where African-American women are bearing almost sole responsibility for raising Black children (as is clear from the 70 percent-plus out of wedlock rate).
Unlike women from other ethnic and racial groups, African-American women are being targeted for male disassociation and social disfellowship.
White women are generally protected and provided for within overall White American society (see the examples of how David Letterman and Kanye West were quickly chastised for publicly demeaning a White woman). White women can afford to talk that stuff about how they refuse to be “obsessed with marriage”—because they’re already reaping the benefits of marriage!
African-American women can’t afford the luxury of characterizing desire for marriage as “obsession” with marriage. African-American women are suffering the real consequences of the absence of marriage within the African-American collective. Consequences like the physical danger posed by legions of (mostly fatherless) predatory, violent criminals. Physically dangerous environments like Dunbar Village are one of many results of an absence of stable, two-parent families created by marriage.
I’m not talking about marriage as somehow saving the African-American collective. I’m talking about how the mass absence of marriage is drastically lowering the quality of Black women’s lives. And sometimes, such as within many Black residential areas, is creating physical danger to Black women.
White women and other women can afford to “trip,” and pretend like they don’t know the reasonable availability of marriage opportunities within their own group is doing something good and important for them (and their children). African-American women can’t afford to “trip” like that.
Don’t let the things you don’t like about that particular blog stop you from picking up pearls of wisdom that can enhance your life! A woman having feminine skills plus 21st century freedom of movement (especially in the Western world) is an extremely powerful combination!
AS YOU TAKE YOUR RIGHTFUL PLACE ON THE GLOBAL STAGE, WAIVE GOODBYE TO KEEPING IT REAL
Ladies, “keeping it real” does not serve you well in the non-ghetto, global village. As an astute blogger named Focused Purpose has put it, “release your grip on that trickbag.” Quickly, if you want to thrive in the outer world.
*Audience Note* I’m extremely busy at the moment with some business projects, so I’ll mostly sit back and listen during this conversation. Please feel free to talk among yourselves.
Tagged as: pop culture detox