Hear My Call

On Jill Scott’s Light of the Sun CD is a track titled “Hear My Call”. It spoke to my spirit during a recent morning jog. It begins:

Here I am again asking questions,

 

A few Saturdays ago I awoke around 6:20 a.m.  No, it’s not exactly normal for a Saturday. But then again, I’m not exactly “normal”. Still dark outside, I attempted to go back to sleep for at least another hour or so. But something kept me up. So I began talking to God, praying for those near and dear to my heart, and asking God questions: Lord, why do I keep compromising? Why is it that I seem to be unable to stay the course? How is it that I find myself backpedaling? Why do I keep settling for men whose intentions are temporal and not directed towards permanence? Why do I move so quickly? Why can’t I hold out? When God, when?

Once again I wondered how I had found myself in a situation that I had sworn I’d never return. It’s amazing how life provides us with exactly what we need despite our best efforts at fleeing and evading the lesson(s).    

Waiting to be moved.
I am so unsure of my perception,
What I thought I knew I don’t seem to

 

There seem to be too many instances when I thought I knew what I wanted or needed. I thought I knew better than God who and what was right or wrong for my life. And then a revelation would come and I would once again realize that I was deluding myself, or worse, delaying the inevitable—and perhaps delaying my destiny.

 

 

Where is the turn so I can get back to what I believe in?
Back to the old me and

 

I am yearning to get back to the old me. I long to be that woman who wasn’t afraid to ask for exactly what she wanted. I want to once again be that woman who was bold enough to stand alone—confident and secure in my womanhood—with or without a man in my life. I yearn to be that woman who didn’t allow life’s circumstances to callous and harden her spirit. I want to get back to the old me who smiled more than frowned—the old me who laughed so robustly and without regard. I want to get back . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, please.

[Verse 2]
I am such a fool
How did I get here?

 

There have been too many instances when I’ve played the fool—by my own hands mostly. I cannot in good consciousness blame others for my shortcomings. Sure enough, they played a role in the “experience”, but inevitably, I have to own up to my own actions. I, like Jill Scott am asking, “How did I get here?” Yes, here! Here as in–a place where I complain more than count my blessings. Here as in—a place where I allow life’s setbacks to disrupt my mood.   Here as in—a place where I stopped believing in my dreams and my ability to actualize them. Here . . .

 

Played by all the rules
Then they changed
I am but a child to your vision

 

It seems that I too “Played by all the rules [or at least what I thought were the rules]/Then they changed”. The dynamics between men and women have drastically changed. One minute I question whether I’m too aggressive; the next minute I can’t decide if I’m not aggressive enough. And here I am though. Here I am persevering. Here I am fighting against adversity. Here I am–desiring more than the life I’ve been living. Here I am God. Here I am . . .  

 

Standing in the cold and the rain
Lost here in the dark
I can’t see my foot to take a step,
What is happening?
Oh, this hurts so bad. I can hardly breathe.
I just want to leave so…

 

When it comes to this “dating” thing I am standing in the cold and the rain—wondering.   And then sometimes it seems like I’m lost in the dark and I’m questioning what is happening. What aren’t things working out despite my best efforts and intentions? And again God, “What is happening?” The sting of disappointment hurts so bad I want to leave the pain behind. The result: I’ve lost my ability to breathe. And again . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please,
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, oh, please, please.

 

God, if you’re there, please hear my call . . . I need to feel your presence; I need your healing.  Please . . .

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A Thin Line Between Submissive and Dominant: The Plight of the Independent Woman

“Men seem to be intimidated by me.”

 

“I feel you girl.”

 

“They see my car, where I live and they get in their mind that I’m some kind of way.”

 

“Yes, they say they want a woman who isn’t draining their pockets, but at the same time they don’t know how to vibe with a woman who’s got her own.”

 

The conversation fades to black and suddenly I hear Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabulous in the background singing “She Got Her Own (Miss Independent Remix)” . . .

 

“I love her cause she got her own/She don’t need mine, she said leave mine alone/There ain’t nothing that’s more sexy/Than a girl that want, but don’t need me/Young independent, yes she work hard/ . . . She don’t expect nothin’ from no guy/She plays aggressive but she’s still shy/But you’ll never know her softer side, by lookin’ in her eyes . . .”

 

There is an obvious paradox to what these three men were expressing as they sang the song and what we, Independent Women, have experienced, are experiencing, and may continue to experience presently and in the future. Me personally, I will be the first to spout out that I don’t need a man, but I certainly want a reliable, honest, devoted, and caring man in my life (just a few of the stellar qualities I desire in a mate). I don’t mind paying for dinner; I don’t have a problem spending my own money in the presence of a man. For me it doesn’t negate his manhood or his being a “gentleman”; it just means that I recognize the shift in cultural norms and I’m not above being fiscally responsible in a dating scenario. Much like the lyrics note, I don’t expect nothing from a man, I got my own, I work hard, but . . . many a man has missed out on my softer side because I tend to be aggressive—or at least come across as aggressive.

 

And that’s a problematic paradox. It’s as if independence and docility cannot possibly inhabit a woman’s personality concurrently. If there is some measure of truth to the aforementioned lyrics, where are the men who agree with Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx? Where are the men who desire an independent woman with a softer side that she reserves only for her man, girlfriends, and family?

 

The day of the above-paraphrased conversation, I was hanging out with a couple girlfriends, and as usual, the topic of men surfaced in our conversation. We talked about how we kept happening upon men who weren’t aggressive in their pursuits to “woo” us. With voices laden with frustration at many a failed effort in experiencing a bliss-filled future with a man whose interest and devotion to us matches that of our own, we soon dropped the topic and made a day of enjoying the sights and sounds of a local festival—just us girls. Nevertheless, what stayed with me after our conversation and the festivities was that our independence—while oftentimes is received as virtuous—has also been internalized (by the opposite sex) as a vice. I’m not sure who made the exact comment that followed me home and has been pestering me the past couple of weeks, but this I do know: this world is overflowing with absolutely beautiful, intelligent, captivating, and loving Independent (and single) Women.

 

A few years back a similar conversation surfaced amongst a different circle of friends and I remember penning the following words, “I will ‘submit’ for the right man.” I place the word submit in quotation marks because I mean to say that I will let the right man lead. Yes, the right man. I know how to take charge of a situation; yes, I know how to take care of myself; yes, I too can be aggressive, but there comes a time in an independent woman’s life when she wants to rest assured that she doesn’t have to be the one holding it down all the time. I recognize that I am a bit rough around the edges, but like a Caramel Hershey Kiss—I am gooey on the inside (don’t misconstrue that analogy). But don’t get it twisted; I’m no doormat.

 

Oftentimes it feels as if we (independent women) are misunderstood. We come across as brash, but in reality, we are powerfully loving creatures who have much to offer to a man who proves to be loyal, dependable, and loving—to name a few.

 

“Where are all the good men hiding?”

 

“That’s a great question. I can tell you that it ain’t in church.”

 

“They are the worst.”

 

“Girl, don’t I know.”

 

We scan the crowd. Suddenly, my mind drifts and I hear Katy Perry in my ear . . .

 

“I knew you were/You were gonna come to me/And here you are/But you better choose carefully/’Cause I, I’m capable of anything/Of anything and everything/Make me your Aphrodite/Make me your one and only/But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy/So you wanna play with magic/Boy, you should know what you’re falling for/Baby do you dare to do this/Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse/Are you ready for, ready for/A perfect storm, perfect storm/Cause once your mine, once you’re mine/There’s no going back . . .”

Much like Katy Perry has pointed out–we, Independent Women, are capable of anything and everything.

  • We are capable of loving a deserving man without condition—we all have limitations, but they don’t define us, or our man.
  • We are capable of holding down a job and still coming home to fulfill the domestic needs of the household.
  • We are capable of raising our children alone, but prefer to take on that responsibility with our man.
  • We are capable of speaking our mind when the situation calls for it, but we are also capable of being quiet when no words need be spoken.
  • We are capable of taking care of our man’s needs because we want to, not because we feel obligated.
  • We are capable of honoring our commitments regardless of life’s circumstances.
  • We are capable of this and so much more; we’re just waiting on the right man to recognize ALL the good that we are capable, and desirous, of extending.

Man—don’t sleep on the Dark Horse!