So the other day, I sent my ex a very blunt and (and in his view petty) text message waxing poetic about how how disrespectful of him it was to encourage and allow the random, white, broad (who he barely knew) to name the child he knocked her up with (not only the name we discussed naming our hypothetical future child), but the name of a very influential Black legend. I carefully chose my words, and articulated my thoughts as candidly and eloquently as possible. That didn’t matter, I suppose.
Now, I know it may seem petty, but I promise that there was some very specific context that motivated me to send it (and to that end, had me in my feelings — nearly 4 years after the fact).
In any case.
He called me today, understandably perturbed by my text the other evening. I won’t get into the specifics of our conversation, but he did say one thing that really stuck out to me.
He commented that while actions speak louder than words (something that I pointed out when he accused me of having a vendetta out for him — which I truthfully denied, as my actions, despite his damn near unforgivable deed, have shown that I have gone out of my way to remain friends with him), texting is, indeed, an action; not just a static stream of words or consciousness (as I suggested).
Moreover, as the wise Dr. Angelou pointed out, “I‘ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Down the line will he remember these petty text messages? Likely not, but he’ll remember how they made him feel. And, as an INFJ, feeling is certainly action oriented to me.
While I defended expressing my thoughts, he pointed out that the ability to send a text message — a free and open line of communication, without filter or warning — is a privilege. And he was right.
It took a minute for it to really accept that (because frankly, the sentiment reeks of a bit of self-aggrandizing, but I digress), but it’s true. He continued that if I was unable to stop persecuting him for the past (and in that vein, questioning his Blackness and all the other baggage that usually comes along with my random, unexpected rants), it may be better that we not communicate.
That hurts. But, I guess it gives me a lot to think about.
Side note: I sent the text Sunday evening. I had a dream that evening that he reached out to me and texted that I should stop the “Mrs. Grieving” act. The dream was bizarre, mainly because I am not a Mrs., but it dawned on me that I likely still am grieving. And it’s not an act.
Yo. The now viral #hurtbae video hit me hard. It really made me feel some kind of way. Not necessarily because of this fiasco, because before he really fucked up, he was a good dude. And I was grown. I had life experience. Or maybe I didn’t see the signs. But whatever. I digress.
It made me feel some kind of way because of this fiasco. My first real relationship (love) with a dude who was a jerk. Who cheated more times than I’d like to admit (because frankly, we can deny it all we want, but we know what’s up — but, like the Doobie Brothers sang, What a fool believes, he sees; no wise man has the power to reason away). Who lied countless times. Who carelessly left used condoms in (semi) plain view. Who made me feel like shit. Who I was a fool for. Who really didn’t need to be in a relationship.
I blamed myself for so long. It took a long time for me to realize that I am dope. I’m a catch. And yo; it was his fucking fault.
But this video, though. The hurt in this woman’s eyes. Her body language. Her tears. She seems so defeated. It hurts to watch.
Earlier today, a friend posted the following Facebook status. It hits the nail on the fucking head.
Fuck these trash ass dudes. Seriously. Though this shit happened to me damn near twenty years ago, the hurt in this young woman’s eyes is palpable to me. It’s visceral.
“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.” – Cheryl Hughes
On Valentine’s Day of 2013, my then boyfriend gave me a beautiful gold heart necklace as a gift. Little did I know, a few weeks later, he would travel thousands of miles away to be present for the birth of his son that I knew nothing about.
Months later when I found out about it, I left the necklace on the table when I moved out of our apartment. If my memory serves me right, I left a note alongside it that said “fuck it”. He never returned to collect his belongings (he had a friend do it, must’ve been nice — to have your belongings sent for & shit). I wonder what became of the necklace. Fuck that necklace.
I am not a relationship expert, nor do I want to be. I’m just a woman with a lot of life experience. I offer but one perspective.
Let’s clear up a few things about “side chicks”:
Not all women want to be in a relationship
The objective of many side chicks is not to ruin a relationship; rather, it’s taking advantage of an easy, convenient situation
Being a side chick does not necessarily mean the man is embarrassed of her and doesn’t want to be seen in public; rather, it’s a situation where both parties are mutually discreet, and public displays are unnecessary
Most side chicks have no desire to be anything more than that
It’s usually a conscious decision
I’ve played both roles. I’ve been a girlfriend who’s been cheated on. And though I’m not proud of it, I’ve been the other woman — or, the side chick, if you will. It boggles my mind why the main chick (or most people, really) are always quick to blame the other woman for a man’s infidelity. Unless she’s a close personal friend or family member, she owes her nothing. She has no allegiance or responsibility to her.
That said, though, I do believe in karma. And the universe has a way of evening the score down the road. Frankly, the side piece must accept the consequences of her actions (whatever they may be). There are forces with which o
ne must be prepared to contend.
All of that said, side chicks get a bad rap. Like we aren’t human. We’re deserving of a basic level of respect. And, miss me with the “well, you’re not respecting yourself” narrative, because it’s usually a choice. And if one chooses to play that role, she is exercising her free will. And, in my opinion, that is the hallmark of self-respect. And realistically, assuming the role of “side chick” is not settling. Again, it’s a conscious decision.
Now, I am not advocating playing the role of the other woman, but I think it’s worth critical examination.
I read an article, the other day, outlining 21 reasons why Being a Side Chick is Severely Underrated. Now, I’m not sure I would ever take the stance of promoting side-chickhood, and I don’t agree with all of the things that the author suggests, but I’d like to address the top five with which I happen to agree. Also, I’m not sure I really like the term “underrated” — I think “understandable” is more appropriate.
You probably clicked this article because you found yourself in utter disbelief after reading the title. That’s the reaction the majority of people will have because… W ho the f*ck thinks there are any benefits of being a side chick?
Below are my favorite five (though I’m going to combine a few) of the twenty-one reasons, from the article (please read it for the author’s full list). The italics are the article author’s words. The follow up explanations are my thoughts:
1. You get all the benefits, none of the bullshit. / You don’t have to pretend to be interested in anything. Okay, this is a big deal. If a woman is consciously involved with a man who is in a relationship, one of the primary reasons is likely because it’s an easy situation. Both parties know what’s up, and it’s probably not an emotionally charged situation where there are feelings involved (at least there shouldn’t be). That said, you are under no obligation to even appear to be remotely interested in the goings on on his life. Problems with the wife/girlfriend.So what, not my problem.Issues at work. So what, you’re here right now, right?Issues with the kids.They’re not mine, so, uh. You had a bad day? Sorry.
I know that sounds callous, but those are things that he can discuss with his main woman. All of those issues, while maybe problematic to him, are not your problems. And that’s probably not why he’s at your house anyway. And if it is, then you should get out of that situation. Quickly. Being a side-chick is messy enough as it is — you don’t need his problems adding to it.
2. You don’t have to share your bed. Personally, I like my space. Don’t get me wrong, when I am in a relationship, there’s nothing better than cuddling with and waking up next to the man I love. That said, when I am not in a relationship, I like things my way. I like lots of pillows. I like two blankets, all to myself. And I like to kick them off in the middle of the night. I like cranking the electric blanket up to ten — even in the summer. I like stretching out in my queen sized bed. I like it cold. And sometimes hot. Point being, consideration of another person’s comfort is irrelevant. Because it’s all about me. It’s my bed. My space.
3. You can always say “no”. / It’s on your terms. Okay, that should be the case in any situation. No means no, and all of that. But, in a side-chick situation, you’re under no obligation to see or talk to him if you’re not in the mood. When you’re in a committed relationship with another person, you have an obligation to be there for your partner. So, being able to say no, in this context, really doesn’t have to do with sex — it can be the ability to say “no” and check out emotionally. With no explanation.
Maybe I just want to relax in my sweats, not shower, drink wine, order take out, and watch Netflix all day. And let’s say he wants to see me. I can say “no” with absolutely no regard for his feelings or needs. His main chick can take care of all that emotionally needy stuff. I’m doing my own thing. And that’s a lovely feeling.
4. You don’t have to worry about where it’s going. When deciding to be involved with a man who’s in a relationship, you must be very conscious of the fact that you can’t catch feelings. That’s not easy for some people. That said, it makes things so much easier in the long run. If you’re the side-chick there’s absolutely no need to worry about those awkward conversations about where things are headed, or what this is. Because you both know what it is. And what it isn’t. So your time and mind need not be invested in wondering about the future. Because frankly, it’s irrelevant. Ideally, it’s about here and now.
As someone who struggles with anxiety (kind of ironic that I’ve been in these messy situations in the past, right?), the notion of not having to worry about where things are headed is such a wonderful emotional break.
5. There’s no break-up.Now this one is kind of tricky, but great in theory. Obviously, nothing lasts forever, and all things eventually come to an end. But, if you’re involved with someone with whom there aren’t feelings involved or any anticipation about the future, the finale need not be dramatic. Or messy.
We’re going to assume that the wife or girlfriend didn’t find out, and nothing really crazy happened precipitating the ending. Perhaps he developed a conscience and decided it had to end. Maybe you developed a conscience and decided it had to end. Maybe you got sick of him. Maybe it fizzled out. Maybe it ran its course. Maybe he’s replaced you with another side chick. Who really cares?
That said, it need not be dramatic. It ended. That’s that.
Again. I am in no way advocating being in this type of situation. It’s neither good or bad. It is what it is.
Many folks ask: “Why not find a single man? Why mess with someone else’s?” Well, unfortunately, many times it’s pure selfishness. Not all women want a relationship. If you’re casually involved with a man who’s already committed, there’s no risk of it becoming anything more than that. Yes, it’s mad selfish, but usually it’s not personal.
And it’s not all fun and games. You might miss the companionship and emotional connection had in a committed relationship. You might miss the cuddling and waking up to someone in the morning. At the same time, you might relish the freedom and the complete lack of fucks to be had in a non-relationship.
I write this not as one currently in this type of arrangement, just as one who gets it. I get what it is, and what it isn’t. It’s all about perspective.
I like Amber Rose. She’s dope. Very problematic identity wise, but dope, nonetheless. She’s biracial. Technically, so am I. (Y’all already know where I stand on that — I’m a Black woman, but I have a point that I’m working toward.) We both have some fly arm tattoos, too. Okay. let me stop, because that’s not my point. The tattoos, that is.
I bring up Amber Rose because not too long ago, I saw a meme illustrating Kanye West’s evolution to fully embracing whiteness — using his women to illustrate it. I can’t find the meme anymore, so I’ve included images.
The point of the meme, I am guessing was to point out that Kanye once rode for the sisters, dating Alexis Phipher from 2002-2008. As I was looking for photos of Phipher online, I also found pictures of other Black women that Kanye purportedly dated. So at one point in time, he was down with the sisters.
In any case, there was a shift in 2009 when he started dating Amber Rose. Amber Rose is biracial. And phenotypically, she was a distinct shift from his former girlfriend. Okay, fine.
Then comes Kim K. I don’t need to say much more. I think you can see where this is going.
There is a very clear gradient here, when we look at Kanye’s girlfriends. There was a methodical shift toward white.
In my last post, I attempted to wax poetic about my problem with brothers and their infatuation with (mediocre) white women (and whiteness in general, really), and I was reminded about that aforementioned Kanye meme. And it dawned on me. I was my ex’s Amber Rose.
Before we started dating, my ex had a Black wife. Okay, cool. Then I come along. Now, I never promote the fact that I’m mixed. In fact, when he and I met, it was over a discussion about a class I was teaching, at the time, in Black Studies. Socially, we connected on some Black shit. But, I don’t look Black. I definitely don’t look white, yet I don’t look Black either. But whatever. We vibed, dated, cool.
I don’t need to go into detail, again, about what happened next. You can read about it here. But, to put it plainly and simply, he completely ditched us Black women for a white broad — absent any trace of Black. So you see. I was his Amber Rose.
I didn’t really think about things in such a concrete way until I was told that his (now ex) wife referred to me as “that mixed bitch”, and I’m sure she had some choice words about the white broad.
Her comments leveraging my whiteness against him really puts the aforementioned meme into perspective for me. I was his Amber Rose.
As much as I like Amber Rose (and think she was the dopest out of Kanye’s recent three ladies), it bothers me to think that on some level, I may have been my ex’s gateway to full whiteness. He dropped his Black wife, got with me, then dropped me for some mediocre white bitch.
Damn, was I a calculated part of his transition? It sickens me to even think about that, yo.
Was I just his Amber Rose? A convenient transition to full on whiteness?