You might have noticed by now that we here at Madame Noire are fans of the HBO series “Girls.” We frequently discuss plot, character development, relatability and predictions with fervor. We agree that even though the show lacks– or lacked– any characters of color, that it is a great show. (Our own friendship circles lack diversity as well.) Our assistant editor even asked for the first season for Christmas. We friggin love it. What makes it so genius is that after college, in our early to mid twenties (essentially the life I’m living now), there is so much uncertainty. So many mistakes made, friendships tested and minor or major freak outs along the way. We can see all of that in Hannah’s story. We see ourselves, even though she’s not black like we.
In last week’s episode, Hannah had an interaction with her new boo thang Sandy, played by the much beloved Donald Glover. In that particular one, Lena Dunham held up a mirror and I saw my reflection oh so clearly. If you’re a fan of the show and you haven’t seen this episode, you’ll want to stop reading now. Because it’s about to be spoiler city.
In the episode, Hannah decides to ask Sandy to read one of her pieces. A few days go by and he hasn’t said anything about it. When Hannah tells her friend this, she says quite frankly, If he hasn’t read it, he doesn’t care enough about you to read it.
But it’s the realness only a really good friend can deliver, so Hannah goes to Sandy and asks him why he hasn’t read her piece. He sighs before telling her that he did read it…he just didn’t like it. He kept reiterating that he thought it was very well written but it just wasn’t his thing. Even though Hannah and Sandy seemed to have little else in common. (Sandy’s a Republican. Who actually prefers to acknowledge his blackness instead of “play colorblind” like Hannah.) The fact that he didn’t like her writing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She walked out on him and the D she was expecting to get that night.
I watched the episode, almost cringing. The situation was just too [painfully] familiar. So when my sister’s boyfriend, who was watching the episode with us, wondered why Hannah was so upset, I might have overreacted and been crunker than necessary in explaining
my Hannah’s feelings.
Me: Naw, if he doesn’t like her work then they’re not going to work out.
Him: So, if a man doesn’t like something you’ve written then you can’t continue to date him?
Me: It’s not that he didn’t like it. If a man has constructive criticism for my work, I might not like it, but I’ll appreciate it. He didn’t have any suggestions to make it better. He said it was well written. It was that he didn’t like what she was writing about. If she’s going to write about something then that means she’s passionate about it. And if he doesn’t like what she’s passionate about, then it’s not going to work.
Whew Jesus. I had to remember this wasn’t my life or my work that I was defending. It just felt like it. It wasn’t that long ago when I was sitting in a similar situation. It wasn’t that my “Sandy” didn’t like what I wrote or even the way I wrote it. It was that it would take him forever to read it. I’d send it, a day or two would go by, and I’d ask if he’d read it. “No…not yet.” A week… the same response. Every time I sent something, and I’d get that response, my faith in the relationship would decline. In his defense, he would eventually read it, it just took too long, sometimes a month. I’d often wonder if I was overreacting, if I was being impatient. I’m still not entirely sure; but today, I’m leaning more towards no. I mean dang. Writing is what I’ve decided to do with my life. It’s a skill I’ve honed since childhood. It’s the form in which I express myself the most clearly and authentically. It’s my mind, my ideas… me on paper…or a computer screen. If you cared about me, why wouldn’t you read it as soon as you got a little free time? It particularly bothered me because I know, though I wasn’t perfect, that I at least supported and encouraged his dreams and aspirations, anytime he wanted to talk about them. I was always there to lend an ear when he needed it. I didn’t say, “Can we talk about this later?” or zone out while he was speaking about his goals. Why couldn’t I get an eye for an ear? A little reciprocity?
Hell if I’ll ever know. But I do understand why Hannah had to be out.
Have you ever had a man who you felt didn’t support your dreams or talent? Were you able to work through it or did it eventually cause you to leave?