My dad and I used to spend hours watching movies when I was younger, basically whichever ones he recommended. It’s how I fell in love with Braveheart and enjoyed flicks such as The Warriors, The 13th Warrior, Goodfellas, The Godfather I and II, American Me, Once Upon a Time in America and any other well-done gangsta/battle flick. But Dad threw in one love story that has always stuck with me, The Way We Were. Many of you will remember this movie coming up when Carrie on Sex and the City likened herself to Barbara Streisand’s character, Katie. After Big married the model, Natasha, Carrie dropped Katie’s famous line “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell.” Now while Carrie didn’t quite fit into the typical box, she was hardly a major outlier either. Katie, on the other hand, was this super political, bold woman with curls so tight she was a humid day away from a fro. Even as a twelve-year-old I connected with her character and just could not make sense of the ending. How could it go down like that? (Spoiler alert) How could she and Robert Redford just completely call it quits and walk away, given all their love, not to mention their child??
Then incidents as early as high school would begin to shed a little light. I recall getting into an argument about the self-hate of brothas with s-curls in the presence of a B-list R&B singer who had an interest in me and him later telling my friend something to the effect of “she’s too serious, too much.” I was more turned off by his comment than he was by my argument, I’m sure. Further moments such as these exposed a veritable pillar of adulthood: being the person that makes other people comfortable with themselves can get you exceptionally far. And in the dating world this has meant watching a bunch of simple, boring and basic chicks win. And there are many variations. She does what is expected of her. She doesn’t complain or dissent. She isn’t mercurial. She is “even” and “wakes up in the same mood as when she went to sleep” (actual quotes). When asked about what’s going on in the world she says things like “I can’t keep up with ________, it just keeps changing.” She isn’t informed enough to know you are speaking nonsense, or at least is too bent on being liked not to call you out when you are. She hasn’t a hair out place and spends far more time on clothing and self-maintenance than on things like thinking, reading, learning (Chris Farley airquotes). If she is bright she works hard not to rock the boat in any way. She’s just lovely. To be clear, I’m not juxtaposing this kind with the hyper “extra” woman either, the woman fighting for attention all the time. She’s typically just the other side of the same insecure coin as the basic gal. I’m speaking up for the women like me. We are bodacious and sometimes brash, because we just can’t help it. Sometimes hair is plain ol’ everywhere. Speaking out of turn. Cursing…a lot. Picking battles wisely but not fearfully and knowing when it’s time to object. Passionate, emotional, sensual. Weird, quirky, interesting.
She is machetes. She is honey.
These complex melodies make your mind expand, your libido pump and your blood boil. She's not cruisin' for a bruisin' but trust you don't waan test the rocket launcher. At some point she makes even the nicest of folks wanna kick her out of his/her apartment (raise your hand if we’ve been "serious" and you haven’t told me or had to fight not to tell me I can go at least once. Anyone, anyone? Nope). She's not off her rocker, she's just not always what you want her to be. She sees you as you really are. She’s who you think about when you are with basic boo. She’s the one who challenges you and therefore the one with whom you are scared to be.
This is for Harriet. For Nina. For Lauryn. For Lolita. For Celia. For Angela. For Zora. For Venus & Serena. For all of those incredible women who thankfully made the mediocre uncomfortable. This is for all of the amazing women I know who don’t fit into a box. If you haven’t already, may you find the person who wouldn’t change a hair on that head, a word out that mouth or a thought in that head. You.Are.The.Shit.
And I know many of you aren’t going to feel this one. But hey (shrug), if I said it, I meant it. Bite my tongue for no one. Call me evil. Or unbelievable.
*update: THIS! Warsan Shire - "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love"