All Articles Tagged "appreciation"
By j.n. salters
This letter is for my mother. Our mothers. Grandmothers. Aunts. Sisters. And all of the other black women who continue to raise black and brown warriors in this battlefield we call America. Who constantly find ways to make ends meet—in a world that continually fails to acknowledge your worth and beauty—just to keep smiles on our faces. To the only women who can grow roses from concrete. Turn scraps into Thanksgiving feasts. Who continue to love hard and wholeheartedly even when the world attempts to steal your joy. Still you rise.
I just want to say thank you. And that you are appreciated. Loved. Beautiful. Needed. I need you. WE NEED YOU. You deserve so much more than the words on this page. Than your lived realities. Than the media portrayals that negate your wonder. And caricature your splendor. Than the statistics that mock your circumstance. Ignoring your God-like abilities to raise invisible toy soldiers into Gabby Douglases and Quvenzhané Wallises. Turning forgotten flesh into souls on fire.
You deserve to have your faces carved into mountains. Plastered on dollar bills covering the faces of presidents who have stolen from you. Used your image against you. Lied to you. Made your plight invisible. You deserve to have your brown skin on every milk carton and news segment that privilege missing bodies that do not look like yours or your children’s. On the cover of every newspaper that fills its pages with stories of your fabricated inferiority. Leaving your existence in the margins. Near the end. At the back. We are Rosa Parks.
I wish everyone could see you from my eyes. Read the deep history embedded in your rich skin. The pigment of your imagination. The secrets that you hold in the arch of your back. How the sway of your hips creates masterpieces out of thin air. Reclaiming the fetishized movements of Sarah Baartman. How your thick-lipped words echo the endurance of Sojourner Truth. Ida B. Wells. Wilma Rudolph. Harriet Tubman. The everlasting effervescence of your soul that refuses to be broken. The miniature North Stars shining from your crescent-like eyes, leading us lost ones to freedom. Giving us the ability to dodge stray bullets. Dreams deferred. Project hallways turned Middle Passages.
I pray that they will someday see you. In me. In US.
One of your daughters
So you’re cruising along in an amicable relationship, and you’re wondering if, at 6 months or a year into it, your man has long-term relationship potential. After all, if a long-term relationship or marriage is what you’re ultimately looking for, you might have to take stock of your relationship early on before you get too far in – involved, in love, in debt or in denial. After putting in work getting to know someone and spending time with them, you want to believe that your current boo could be your “happily ever after” guy – not just a distraction or someone taking up space. If you want to make sure you’re on the right track, or spinning your wheels, here are some things to take inventory of to make sure you’re headed in the right direction and not wasting your precious time.
Do you make an effort to make your man feel necessary? Does he feel needed in your relationship?
Some women balk at the idea of “needing” a man to do anything or the idea that they should “help a man feel like a man.” However, there are other women who feel loved and appreciated and want to reciprocate that feeling. These women know a good, spontaneous, well-timed ego stroke goes a long way to mutual happiness in a relationship. Of course, that doesn’t mean a self-sufficient woman should morph into a helpless toddler. That would be disingenuous, but there are times when a woman should consider taking a break from running the relationship and allow her man to handle business.
Let him change your tire/Jump A Dead Battery/Check and refill the oil
When I was 16, my dad taught me how to change a tire. “I will never have to do this,” I told him. “I will always have my phone and therefore, always be able to call someone.” He customarily responded, “You can’t rely on people.” So there, in the middle of a parking lot on a bitterly cold, snowy winter evening, at the direction of my dad, I changed a tire. My dad also taught me how to use jumper cables to jump a dead car battery and how to check/fill my oil if the light came on.
Many women are capable of taking care of their own car troubles, but it doesn’t hurt to let your man feel like the hero while you chill in the car. Especially when it’s cold outside!
How are you feeling on this day? Probably a bit tired from ripping and running and cleaning and cooking, and basically, trying to be everything to everybody in your home. It takes a lot of courage to make the choice to stay home with terrible tantrum throwing toddlers, and to be there like no other for…well…terrible tantrum throwing teenagers. The work of the stay-at-home mom is never done. And to think, as the child of one, when I was younger I used to think you didn’t do much of anything.
When I was young, I really didn’t understand all the work you did, or why you would do it. So when people would ask me what my parents did back when I was young, I would say the following: “My dad works in the schools and my mom, well, she doesn’t work.”
I guess I forgot that she woke up at the crack of dawn to wake me up that day, made breakfast so I wouldn’t fall out during first period, and drove me to school when I could have been a flunky on the bus (no offense to the kids who rode it though) battling for a seat in the back. And what was interesting was that when I would say she didn’t work, my elders would correct me: “Oh, she’s a homemaker.” Yeah, my mom worked all right.
In fact, she’s always been the hardest working woman I know. She was working when she was pregnant with most of her children (she’s had six), waddling to the train station to make it into the city to work, and when she came home, she was still putting food on the table and making sure we got our homework done. She’s wiped noses, combed obscenely tangled hair and greased dry scalps, made our favorite cake for our birthday, kept us fresh to death in all the coolest stonewash jeans and jumpers, read over my early journalistic endeavors (and she still has my horribly illustrated self-made books from childhood), and still found time to look beautiful in the bleachers at all of our football, basketball, volleyball and track meets/matches. Yeah, my stay-at-home mom with her degree in criminal justice and six kids worked for sure, even if she didn’t get a salary for it. But I’m sure there were some benefits (Get it!?).
But don’t get me wrong. Working mothers deserve the same amount of credit for all they do as well. All mothers work hard and you deserve your props. So that’s probably why the recent “battle” between stay-at-home moms and working moms made by the media and political pundits made absolutely no sense. Sparked by the words of Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, who questioned Mitt Romney’s choice to seek advice from his stay-at-home wife about women’s issues, she said that Ann Romney had “actually never worked a day in her life.” It kicked off a firestorm about working moms and stay-at-homes, who does more, who does less, and so on and so forth. Folks tried to make Ann Romney the spokeswoman for the self-sacrificing stay-at-home mom, and instead of praising both kinds of mothers, Republicans used the conversation and used these mothers to point fingers and make it a “teaching” moment. Uh, thanks, but no thanks.
I don’t need Mrs. Romney or anyone else to open up my eyes to the great wonders of the stay-at-home mother, because I see you up at the crack of dawn on the train making sure your child gets to school on time and safely. I see you trying to grab little hands and moving to and fro on the streets while trying to lug around groceries at the same time in the early afternoon. And of course, I see you in my own mother, who even now, with grown up children, still sends handwritten notes and cards that say “That’s My Baby!” to congratulate us on our success. We were her “job” for all these years, and it doesn’t seem like she’s ready to retire. That’s why, now that I’m an adult, I have to applaud stay-at-home mothers. You guys could have been anywhere in the world, gone and done anything you wanted, made a stack of money in the profession of your choice, but you chose to be there for your little ones 24/7. You do what a lot of people, including myself, probably wouldn’t want to do, and that’s why you’re so amazing. Just in case I don’t get to tell you on Sunday, Happy Mother’s Day!
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Just today, on Twitter GQPhive asked if he could pose a question. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but here at Madame Noire we are all about the questions; so of course, I was game to hear what he had to say.
His question was this: “How many black men do black women RESPECT?”
He was referring to you, our readers and especially those of you who comment. He said some of the sentiments expressed in the comments section make him wonder.
He went on to say he doesn’t want the site to become “a breeding ground for bitter, black women. That aura will ruin the site’s momentum.”
While many of us have endured some mess at the hands of a black man, bitterness is not the mental mindset we have to adopt. We can choose otherwise. Truth be told, most of us, despite the bitterness, still respect black men.
I know I do. So I’ll take this time to expound here. If you feel the same, please be sure to leave a comment.
How many black men do I respect?
When I was younger I loved black men. And fortunately ain’t nothin’ changed. I can’t even begin to count the number of black men I not only respect but love, genuinely.
Of course it began with my father, the protector, provider and playmate. I knew from an early age that we, my sister, mother and myself were my father’s top priority, his “precious cargo” on road trips, his motivation for putting up with foolishness at work and the reasons he came home at night.
The man set the standard.
If, for the rest of my life, I encounter nothing but disrespectful, unkind, low-class, uneducated, apathetic black men, I’ll never write them all off because I’ll always have what my father has been and continues to be for me, as his daughter and friend.
And my dad is just one. I have grandfathers, uncles, cousins, friends, homie-lover-friends, acquaintances and virtual strangers who consistently make me proud of black men.
Our president is a black man, the man who told me, I was beautiful with no expectations was a black man. The dude I saw patiently helping his son with homework on the train was a black man. The man who developed the program for little black boys in my neighborhood is a black man.
Good, respectable, loveable black men are everywhere. You need only turn off your tv, tune out the bitter women, open your eyes and look.
Who are the black men in your lives who are about the right? Shout ‘em out…in the comments section.