Thursday, October 20, 2016

She's Gotta Have It 30 Years Later

Image result for she's gotta have it
Spike Lee's seminal movie, She's Gotta Have It, was released 30 years ago this year.  Wow!  I still remember the first time I saw it.  I was 24 years old, only a couple of years out of college, working my first professional job.  I went to the theater inside the Renaissance Center with one of my girls from high school and college.  I had always been a sucker for a good romantic story, and one with Black people my age was something I had to see. And, Spike was the up-and-coming-movie man for OUR generation, so this movie couldn't be missed.

My friend and I settled into our seats in one of the back rows of the movie theater not really knowing Spike's movie style but expecting to be entertained.  And entertained we were, from his portrayal of crazy Mars Blackmon, to those moving sidewalks that became his trademark. I liked all of the characters in the movie, especially Nola Darling, even though I couldn't relate to her need and desire for multiple men in her life.  It wasn't lost on me, though, that Nola only did what many men do, but unlike many men, she was very open about it.  Of course, the men in her life couldn't handle her honesty and freedom and were hell-bent on forcing her to choose between them.  

I hadn't had much intimate interactions with men at that time, and I really didn't get why she didn't just settle down with the tall, good-looking, and steady brotha.  I thought she was a bit promiscuous!  Sorry, Nola, but I did think it.  Over the years, though, I came to understand Ms. Nola, and what she was looking for.  She didn't want to settle for less than what she wanted in life or in a man.  If she couldn't find what she wanted in one man, she would try for two or, hey, why not three? One man who was dependable and romantic, one who was suave and rich, and one who was easy and fun, fun, fun.  And, each man was presumably good in bed and willing to be with her on her own terms, at least for a while.  Oh, yeah, I can see why she did it.  For me, it would be a brotha who could sing to me like Peabo, be as fine and sexy as Idris, make me laugh like crazy Chris Tucker, and be my NWA like Ice Cube.  Wait, that's four and I'm still missing my Halleluiah brotha, my Afrika for Afrikans brotha, and my Iron Chef brotha.  Chef G. Garvin, where are you?!
So, yeah, I get it.  Each of these brothas would fulfill a certain need that, when combined, would create the perfect man for me.  And it is sometimes very tempting to try and fulfill your needs and desires through multiple relationships.  Because it is damn near impossible to find one somebody who possesses all you desire in a romantic partner.  I've certainly never found it, and I know I've never been that person for any of my (few) men.  But, life tends to teach time and time again that it isn't always easy or safe to juggle multiple relationships, no matter how satisfying you think they might be.    

Okay, let me switch gears here, because as I write, this blog post is changing.  It was never meant to be a review about She's Gotta Have It (and yes, I know there is a new Netflix series). Nor was it to be a philosophical discussion on the reasons for and hazards or merits (such as they may be) of juggling multiple relationships.  No, it began as a reflection on my thoughts about love, relationships, and the type of woman Nola Darling seemed to be, and how my perceptions have changed over these last 30 years.  See, even though I thought Nola was too out there for me, I admired the bold, beautiful, independent sistah.  She seemed so self-assured and had such an interesting, creative life.  Back then, I was nothing like that. I had no real life experience, and certainly none with men.  (Yes, I was a slow starter...what can I say)? Back then, I envied Nola the confidence she seemed to have.  Eventually, though, I came to realize that she wasn't very confident at all, that she was struggling to find her real identity just as the rest of us were.  But, knowing that, today I still relish the perceived Nola, the woman with the sex appeal, the one willing to go for what she wants, living on her own terms.  At this time in my life, I no longer see her as a peer who is just too dang fast for my tastes, but as the embodiment of the freedom for which I am am still searching.

Wow, this really is awkward. I am over 50 and still striving to be free.  So, this post is really about that and how I am searching for something that society says I should have already attained at my age while simultaneously frowning upon my desire as a woman to live without limits. Is there anyone out there who can relate without judgement?  And, is there any hope for me to figure things out and learn to be free, even at my age?  I pray so. I believe so.  Therefore, every day I strive to live a free life, full of joy, peace, and love. One where I can walk with my head held high, my shoulders straight up, and my ample hips swaying proudly. Where I can be unapologetically me, however I want to be, with no limits to myself.  Just like Nola Darling, I've gotta have it!

Celebrating Life! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Inaugural Post: Here's To Celebrating Life!

Do you ever feel as if you are:
  •          Lost in a forest not knowing which way to go?
  •          Standing on the edge of a great divide?
  •          Afloat on the sea wondering where the waves will take you?
  •          Tumbling through the clouds hoping for a soft place to land?
  •          A pawn in the great chess game of life? 

Well, I feel like any one of those most days, and if you do, too, and are over 50, you just may be in the right place.  So, welcome to Awkward After 50.  This is my life.  I am over 50, about to be 55 actually, and sometimes still feel as unsure of myself today as I did when I was in my twenties.  Perhaps even more so, because back then I was young and had my whole life ahead of me.  I could be excused for the faux pas I made and the insecurities I exhibited.  But, what about when I misstep now?  With whom can I share these experiences and my feelings about them?  I wondered; are there others out there who can relate?  To find out, I began an internet search for blogs, FB posts, and Tweets with related themes geared to the more mature crowd.  When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I decided to just start writing myself, and Awkward After 50 was born.

The title was inspired by Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl series, but the reality is all my own.  I’m sure by now you are aware of the young sistah, Issa Rae, the creative powerhouse behind the web series Awkward Black Girl.  If you don’t know her, you’d better check her out now at  Although she writes from her perspective as someone in her 20s and 30s, some of the situations in which she finds herself are ageless and still resonate with me, and there are 30+ years between us.  This blog will speak to, dissect, examine, and attempt to work through the angst sometimes felt as a younger baby boomer who still grapples with issues I thought would have been long past, whose life is still missing pieces and isn't quite what she expected.

Now, I am fairly successful, greatly blessed, and extremely grateful, and yet I truly feel that something is still missing?  And that something can become so important and so all-consuming, that the most random, unrelated words or experiences can lead to the most profound thoughts which reduce me to tears.  Here’s an example:  The aforementioned Issa Rae has a new HBO comedy series called Insecure.  In the first episode there is a scene where the main character (played by Issa herself) is presenting a new project to a classroom of preteens.  Issa was hit with questions like why she isn’t married, why she wears her hair natural and cut short, why she speaks like a white girl, why, why, why.  It was really funny and I cracked up watching her dodge those bullets and hearing her audible thoughts that run as continuous first-person commentary throughout the show.   However, my humor quickly turned to melancholy as I thought about the students’ responses to this beautiful black woman, who on surface may appear insecure, but is really brave and fearless.  Those thoughts led to remembering my own responses to similar questions throughout my life:  Where is my plus-one? Why am I not married? Why don’t I have children? When will I cut off my locs and straighten my hair, etc., etc., etc.?  And, those remembrances made me sad for my younger self who didn't know where I fit in life and built a wall of defense just to get through.  A further realization hit me that rarely do I get asked those questions anymore.  As loathesome as they were, does no longer being asked those questions mean that there are no more expectation for me to experience love, romance, marriage, beauty, etc.,  that my time for that has past?  Such reflection quickly turned my laughter into sorrow and I literally began to weep.  I cried for the awkward girl I used to be; for the awkward woman I once was; and for the woman I now am whose life continues to be somewhat awkward and uncertain. All this retrospection occurred in less than 15 seconds! 

Thankfully, though, I didn’t end there.  You see, in the midst of my angst I began to count my blessings and thank God for all the Light that is within and around me.  And, that led to my final thought, that even being awkward over 50, I keep striving to be the best I can be.  Despite the negative messages conveyed throughout society about those of us who are in our middle years and beyond (especially those who are Black , Female , and Unmarried ), life is good and deserves to be celebrated every day.  Ultimately, I guess this blog really is about encouraging myself to keep believing in myself and working to be my best me.  And, I hope that in so doing, I can create a dialogue that will inspire and encourage you to live your best life, too, whether or not you are, like me, Awkward After 50.  

Awkward After 50
Celebrating Life!