Black Entertainment Television is all fun and games until ish starts getting a little too real — or at least strikingly close to the reality you fear/are bracing for. Last season I was hooked on “Being Mary Jane” and often found myself amused by the lead character’s antics, save for the season finale where I shook my head for nearly two hours straight at the thought that any women would be so desperate as to pull the moves Mary Jane did — particularly at her age. This season, I sat through the first couple of episodes thinking the same thing, until somewhere along the way I got the sinking feeling that what I saw on screen was a foreshadowing of my future in about seven-10 years and I said, no more “Being Mary Jane” for me. At least not right now.
My reasoning has nothing to do with MJ, Mara Brock Akil or Gabrielle Union and everything to do with me and my failed attempt, at the ripe old age of 29 (okay, I’ll be 30 in six weeks), to make peace with the reality that I’ll likely be single for the rest of my life. Yes, I’m serious and yes, I’m as disgusted with myself for thinking that way as you likely now are with me as well. Let’s move on shall we?
I realize there’s a certain level of irrationality to thinking this way but, like the legal system, I also believe in precedent, and if we look at the way my love life is set up, I might as well go ahead and plead out. For some reason, relationships have never been one of those things I was able to do and, in the life-long list of things I’ve worked, asked, and prayed for, they’ve just never come to me in any meaningful, useful, positive, lasting way. While an optimist might tell me, Wait on my Boaz, (by the way I hate that saying so please don’t put that in the comments section) the realist in me says, You know what, B, nothing in your past suggests things will be any different in the future and if the tide was going to change, it probably would have by now so how can we make the best of this life without this aspect in it?
You can see how watching Mary Jane sneak-drink every night over the fact that she’s not married with kids might not be such a good influence for me, right? And yet, I still found myself pulling a very MJ-ish move a couple of nights ago as I laid in my bed googling single parent adoption from my Android like, if all else fails... If you knew me in real life and understood the fact that I just decided last year that children were even an option for me — and I have no qualms about people blatantly admitting they hate kids — you’d get why that was such a big, and possibly ridiculous, deal.
I’m sure you don’t have to know me, though, to understand getting to a point that a career simply isn’t enough. I may not have been raised on dreams of white picket fences and 2.4 kids, but it certainly would be nice to have a companion greet me when I walk through the door and ask me about my day. Or, let’s make this more real: Can we split the rent on this apartment, son? Money may be no object for MJ, and while I do have dreams of living like her one day — provided I leave NYC and move to Atlanta — right now I’m haunted by the ghost of Sallie Mae and the very likely reality that if I want to buy a house, retire, have a damn kid, that’s all going to be on me. And that’s a very scary thing.
And so, watching Mary Jane act out her fear in what appears to be very extreme ways on television, just started to feel unhealthy at some point as I realized I’m probably four-five years from wilin’ myself — if I haven’t already found myself at the peak of that slippery slope.
And don’t get me wrong, there have been many a day that I’ve thought, thank the Lord God almighty I am single and don’t have to deal with certain relationship nonsense. But other days I resort to another controversial n-word — normal — and lament how the romantic reality I’ve found myself in isn’t typical no matter what the stats say and determined that can only mean something is wrong with me. And considering that’s about the same mental space MJ was in when my viewership fell off a few weeks ago, I feel pretty secure in my decision to watch House Hunters on Tuesday nights and digitally highlight a few Iyanla Vanzant quotes on my tablet rather than feed into my somewhat over-hyped fear of eternal singledom and start acting a fool in these streets. But that’s just me.
Until I see signs of life on Mars — otherwise known as my vagina — I will continue my internal boycott of “Being Mary Jane” in the name of mental health. But, if MJ finally gets a boo who’s not married/doesn’t have a baby on the way with someone else/isn’t just a booty call, let me know so I can start watching again.