Valentine’s Day? Don’t Say “I Love You.” Say Something Else (In Italian).

image and poem by D. Blake

image and poem by D. Blake

Hmm…It’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve yet to venture outside to witness the parade of couples flaunting their love–no, I’m not bitter or anything like that. 😉  I simply don’t celebrate many special (any) days.

Still, I thought I would do my part by sharing some words in Italian and Englishi that, were I in a relationship, I would use instead of having to say “I love you.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

D.

—–

*Yes, I made a decision not to use the imperative in the first line, which would have been: Amore, non legarmi alle parole piccole…

I’m still undecided whether or not I will change it. 🙂

Cercarle

Amore, non mi leghi alle parole piccole,
insensate, indefinibili, ma inebrianti.
Le parole volano, ne sai, quando sono parlate.

Invece di cercarle nella voce mia,
cercarle nel mio comportamento,
cercarle nei miei taciti pensieri,
cercarle nel mio cuore che batte ogni respiro
fino alla prossima volta quando ci incontriamo,

e cercarle in questi occhi che non ne avranno mai
abbastanza di vederti e vogliono bruciare
l’immagine di te nell’anima mia per l’eternità.

—-

Another version:

 

Basic Translation 

Search for them

My love, do not bind me with little words,
meaningless, indefinable, but intoxicating.
You know that spoken words are fleeting.

Instead of searching for them in my voice,
search for them in my behaviour,
search for them in my unspoken thoughts,
search for them in my heart that beats each breath
until when next we meet,

and search for them in these eyes that will never have
enough of seeing you and want to burn
your image within my soul for all eternity.

Relationships | OkCupid, Exoticism & Creepy Italian Men

I am amazed.

Luckily the above screenshot isn’t from my inbox, but the messages aren’t that much off.  It’s been about a week since I decided to make myself visible to “straight people” on OkCupid.  Almost 300 profile  likes and even hundreds more messages later, I am beginning to wonder how “straight women” survive the barrage of messages I am sure they must get.

Now, let’s be real here for a moment; 300 profile likes in a week is not a significant amount.  However, according to OkCupid, as a 30-something queer Black woman, I probably shouldn’t even be getting any attention from anyone: Black, White, Asian, Indian, Native America, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and Human, whether gay, bi or straight.

So, getting that much traffic and positive responses to my profile left me…a bit baffled.

Why? Well, apparently, the general idea that some people have, whether it be OkCupid or Satoshi Kanazawa, is that Black women (and Asian men) are…wholly unattractive….to everybody.   Not only are we supposedly unattractive, or perhaps because of it, we are also unmarriageable.

Never mind the possible reasons why so many people have been dedicating their time and energy to putting us in our place…or reminding us of where they think we should be.

Never mind the fact that OkCupid overtly suggests to its Black users (particularly female) that they should add some “whiteness” to their profile to make it more appealing, because “[a]dding ‘whiteness’ always helps your rating! In fact it goes a long way towards undoing any bias against you.”

I imagine that OkCupid thinks this some sort of positive strategy. Let’s now all jump for joy! Woo hoo! It’s great faking to be White! Yay!…Not.

This brings me back to my OkCupid experience.

I make it pretty clear on my profile that I’m not really looking for a romantic relationship, just new friends and perhaps an online pen-pal or two from some culture in which I take interest (eg. Japanese and German).

I also make it pretty clear that I have zero interest in being exoticized and ask kindly to be bypassed if it is the case that the person is looking for their next “Black” conquest or “African” goddess or are obsessed by the “darkness” of my skin.

Of course, all of my warnings mean very little to the significant number of mostly Italian men who enjoy creeping on my profile, sending me messages in both Italian and broken English that add up to be the same thing:  how soon can they put their penis in my vagina.

The point is this: online dating, regardless of who (race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/etc.) you are as a woman, is no walk in the park.  

Of course, there are great people out there, who will contact you in a respectful manner.  However, there is a pretty hefty number out there who simply want to know just how good your “big lips” feel on their nether regions. 😉

Until Next Time,

D.

Remember to follow your path by trusting your instincts.

 

Relationships | Black, Female & Dating…Or Trying To? According to the Statistics, Why Bother?

Disclaimer:  All images used in this post are from the “Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism” by Rebelle Magazine. The images are a part of the “I Am, Too, Harvard” campaign, revealing the experiences faced by Black students at Harvard.

Please, visit both Rebelle Magazine and the campaign sites by clicking on the highlighted links! By the way, almost all of the pictures relate to my experience while at Stanford–I hope the students there will do something like this as well.

Also, I use the word “we” often, not to say all Black women are in agreement with me, but to express my solidarity with those who do have shared similar views.

 

 Now, on to the post!

Image from Rebelle Mag: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

 

Today, I came across the 2011 article “Why black women are justifiably bitter: The bleak relationship picture for African-American females” today.  While the article was far from shocking, it really laid out in a clear and undeniable manner the reality that many Black women face in trying to make gains in the dating market.  

Plus, the article was far more favourable than the now-withdrawn 2011 Psychology Today “Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women” (links to a Psychology Today rebuttal of the argument).

The article follows on the 2009 blog post by OkCupid, “How Your Race Affects the Messages You Get,” that indicates that Black women were, for the most part, shut out of the online dating world, being the users who sent the most messages while receiving the least replies.  Black women were also the most likely to respond to messages.  Black men as well as other races, OkCupid’s statics showed, do not consider Black women as relationship material.

Feeling depressed yet?

Image from Rebelle Mag: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Well, it gets worse.  It follows that if Black women are not considered relationship material, then surely marriage is out of the question.  That is where the article comes in and eloquently explains why Black women have every right to be angry/bitter in general.  Because although we are not considered for marriage, we are surely considered for sex.  As the article points out that “7 in 10 black children are born to unmarried parents.”

Oh?  Really?

I am not surprised given the dating statistics. Of course, given the grim statistics on incarceration and African-American men, it makes sense that marriage would seem unlikely.  Nothing wrong with having had a bad moment in life and having had to go to jail/prison, but it does make getting married more problematic.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

So, why I am writing about this?

Well, because I am frankly tired of reading the negative online commentary about Black women, whether it is about our hair, our skin colour, or weight, or our strength of character and fearlessness (a.k.a. our masculinity).

Men who have a problem with strong women, ought to avoid dating Black women, in my opinion.  Black women are not raised to be cowed by anyone.  We understand clearly where the dominant society has decided to relegate us and how some (apparently a majority) of our male counterparts view us.  (Let me not get into this statement: “black men who, according to social science data, are more likely than any other group of men to maintain relationships with multiple women.”)

 

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

We understand clearly that a good portion of our male counterparts are eager to mobilize themselves by marrying up and thus marrying light. We get it.  We get it that the kinkier and nappier our hair, the broader our thighs, the bigger our lips, bottoms and hips, the louder our voices, the more likely others will to try to shut us down or shut us up.  We get it.

The thing is…

We don’t give two cents about it.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Unworthy men and women (for our LGBTQ population), please continue to ignore us.  Please, continue not to respond to messages. Trust me, it’s much better this way, because we won’t be wasting our time on you.  And who would want to?  I am beginning to feel really sorry for those who do.

You see, while some people may see Black women as available (sending so many messages) and desperate (responding to so many messages), the fact is some Black women simply won’t do two things:

  1. Wait for permission to say what we want, and
  2. Be impolite to someone just because we don’t like them.

Have you ever thought about that?  Have you thought about the fact that some Black women simply own our sexuality and are polite?

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Can people get beyond the need to assign to us the roles of either

  1. the gold-digging concubine or
  2. the food stamp baby-making mammy?

Can we get beyond this already?  

What? No, we can’t? It’s far too important for maintaining the status quo?

Oh, well, forgive me.  I thought it was okay to be seen as human.

Image from Rebelle Magazine: Black Voices at Harvard Share Their Experiences with Racism

Of course, this is all just my personal opinion.

 

NaPoWriMo: Day 5…Who knows…

Scongelare*

Doli agreed with me about the pleasure,

though twisted,  to be found in action-less love,

through the act of loving, not taking measure,

not caring why or how it came to be, of

 

not knowing when or where it will go, loving

simply because there is no other choice but

to love, disregarding old boundaries, trusting

the depth of time to heal any old wounds, cut

 

through the bitterness that hardens our hearts

every time we love and then lose ourselves

in that loving, that careless tossing of parts,

that ultimate destruction of self that delves

 

too deeply within us, rooting us to

the bitterness of having said  “I love you.”

 

 

(Scongelare means to figuratively unfreeze, or literally defrost)

 

[Relationships] To Rebound or Not To Rebound? Um…I don’t think we actually have a choice…

For a few days now, I have been thinking about that space in between relationships, oftentimes called the “rebound” period.  Why?  Well, because I am in it, but not just in it…

I am actually recognising and admitting to myself that I am in it.

Now, for some people, this may seem quite a strange concept.  The inevitable question is: how could you not know that you were on the rebound?

Image Found: SomeEcards.com

Well, the answer is easy enough.  I just never thought about it.  I simply lived with a kind of go with the flow mentality that led me easily from one relationship to another from the age of fifteen.

I am sure I am not alone in this.  More than likely, there are many, who just never seem to be out of a relationship or out of the dating experience.

Of course, there are some people who might say, “Hold up, D! I know you were single from years XXXX to YYYY! I was there listening to you complain!”

And while that may be technically true, i.e. that I was not in an established relationship, I was most definitely casually or seriously dating on a regular basis in between and complaining about those dating experiences…and not my last relationship. 😉

The other day, I was talking with my friend, V. about being single.  V. is about eleven years younger than I am and told me that since he had started his dating life, he had spent more time being legitimately single than not.  His words gave me a serious pause for thought…especially as I was just about to head out the door to what could be seen as a–oh, I don’t know–date.

Image Found: Fremdeng.ning.com

His words acted like a very loud warning bell, stating oh so clearly, that I needed to back up and think about what I was about to get myself into! (Thanks, V.!)

Seriously, if I were to add up all the times when I was not in a relationship and not dating in any fashion between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five, I think I would come up with less than five years (and that figure is really generous on my part).

Five years of being single out of twenty years is really not a great deal of time.  Not only was I operating on a permanent rebound status, I was also not being fair to the people who dated me, either casually or seriously.

Even more importantly, I wasn’t being fair to myself.  I wasn’t allowing myself to heal and to learn lessons from my experiences, so that I could make better choices moving forward–not that I am not grateful for everyone and all the experiences I have had.

Image Found: Examiner.com

Still, it would have been far better for me and for those who had been involved with me had I waited and sorted through the feelings that can emerge when a relationship ends, such as sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, envy, guilt, shame, and that general sense of abbandonment (even if I had been the one to end the relationship).

Instead, I found myself in many emotional tug of wars.  However, I was the one working both sides of the rope,  attempting to pull people closer to me when they seemed too far away from me at one moment, only to pull them far away from me when they seemed too close to me in the next moment.

After my conversation with V. and subsequently my therapist (yes, I have started therapy again ), I began asking myself why was it that I hadn’t chosen to remain single for long periods of time.

Certainly, some might imagine that it would be an issue of fearing being alone…but anyone who knows me would easily refute that.  I love being alone, even in a relationship. Furthermore, I rarely experience loneliness.

Seriously, I really enjoy solitude. 🙂

Julie Andrews, Sound of Music. Image Found: TheAge.com

Perhaps I thought that that was what ought to be doing, i.e. dating and “moving on with my life.”  You know, gallivanting in meadow with the magical spring weather that forces you to embrace the warmth of new love…or something like that.

I am of the mindset that it is more than likely this.

Perhaps it was an effort to “reset” my last experience, which oftentimes enough had provoked some kind of painful emotional response.  Thus, being with someone new was a lesson that intimacy wasn’t something to be feared–remember, I really like my own company and so it is easy for me to isolate.

Well, the point is that I am embarking on a journey to understand this experience of being on the rebound and also working through it.  Thus, when the time comes for me to actually have another relationship, I will be better able to understand what I want from it and what I can give it.

If you are like me or the contrary to me (actively staying away from dating and relationships), then taking a moment to pause for thought on this subject might not be such a terrible idea. 😉

Until Next Time,

D. 

A New Poem: The girl with the light eyes said,

The girl with the light eyes said,

The girl with the light eyes said,
“I would never have the courage
to marry another woman.”
She’s staring at me in awe,
though I don’t know why;
her light eyes even lighter
after she speaks and then waits,
enduring the space of silence
between us,
though I don’t know why;
I’m a lesbian, I love women.
I’m a lesbian who sleeps with men
every now and again
or so it seems in 15-year increments;
who is curious about others’ disbeliefs
sometimes distorting the face

from uninteresting,
from mediocrity,
from youthfulness,
from gullibility
marring the face
of commonplace society

of man plus woman,
of white against black,
of old envying young,
of bigotry and misogyny.

Still I am a lesbian, I love women,
could love all women,
prefer the company of women,
would live and die for a woman,
would give all I have for a woman,
because I am a woman and am worthy
of being loved by women,
of being able to commit myself to one woman
for the rest of my life.
*
Words that pass absently through mind.
It’s a library where we're standing
by a copy machine and I am photocopying
in entirety a book that I have no option but to read
like the face of this girl standing before me
and my face becomes distorted as I search
for mockery or untruths—
“Why not?”

-db

Resolve…resolutions (Part 1)

I would love to say that what I have woken to is all wonderful, and that my time away has been restorative.  The truth is, opening my eyes has meant having to see those parts of myself that are pretty, well…you know, dark.  I am not saying, something like “Oh, woe is me!”   Heck no!

What I am saying is that I recognize that I have been slowly chipping away at all the good that I have worked so hard to achieve over the last few years.  And what exactly the point of that is, I do not know.  It is, however, exactly what I have been doing.  I have allowed my health to deteriorate, my weight to gain, my physical appearance to become disheveled, my thoughts to shift to black, my creativity to be stifled.  And why?

Was it depression?  Possibly…okay, probably.  But why?  Was I missing home for the first time in my life?  Possibly…okay, probably.  Was I feeling lonely and wishing that I could meet someone special? Possibly…I refuse to say probably here, because I prefer denial on this topic.  The point is, today, I looked in the mirror and found myself asking the same question I had asked myself upon my arrival to Rome two years ago… That’s right, it’s been two years since I started this romance with the Eternal City.  The question was:  Who are you?  The image in the mirror did not reflect anyone I knew, or wanted to know.  I wanted to hide myself from myself…and then I thought, Why hide?  This is simply another step on the path to who are becoming.  Perhaps that is a bit too zen…For me, however, it worked and it is still working.  So, I have come to a decision to charge of my life from this point forward.  At this point, you are probably thinking How, D?  

Well, that’s the tricky part, isn’t it?  Imagine if everyone knew just how to make their lives better, wouldn’t that be great?  Well, I certainly don’t know how all the steps that I shall need to take in order to take charge of my life, but there are ten (yes, 10) resolutions to which I have come.

Okay, so I know that one should normally make resolutions at the start of the year.  That’s that whole New Year’s Resolution  thing.  Got it.  Since, however, I have always tended to like keeping an open mind about the future, I’ve never really seriously made resolutions for the near year…and I don’t think I ever will.  Making resolution for the end of the year seems to be something that I can handle more easily… It’s a bit more…short-term.  I mean, I have only two and a half month’s to get these ten resolutions together or stick to them as the case may be.

So what are they?  Well, first I have say that I plan to give a weekly update on my progress in maintaining the resolutions.  Ten resolutions in ten weeks…I can dig it, can you? 😉

By the way, any support on achieving all of these would be lovely!

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.