...welcome to the musings of the flawless amour...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Therapy Stigmatic for African Americans?

This is my second time watching TV One's new show, Love Addiction.  My first reaction was: "Can women be this stupid?! No. Seriously.  I need answers."  But then after watching further, I see what the producers are trying to accomplish as well as the potential of the show altogether.

Each week the show focuses on a couple (all of which have been black to date), exposing the glaring faults in the relationships.  Friends and family members share their concern for the unhealthy characteristics they have noticed and stage a love intervention to help their loved ones finally see the light.

Now, for reasons stated above, I have a love/hate type relationship with this new reality series.  Ironically though, the things that make me hate it make me love it.

In my experience it seems that therapy among black people was somewhat taboo.  I find that with the current influx and popularity of relationship experts that we are starting to catch on.  Even I was under the impression that therapy sessions were solely for white people with deeply rooted psychological issues, as if blacks don't have the same problems.  Hell, we probably need it more given the many different issues and complexes we have to battle daily.

One of the biggest issues with black people, in my opinion, lie in successful relationships.  There are a lot of us who just don't know how to have one, what it takes to keep one or how to even get out of a not so good one.  The fact that these women (for the few episodes that I've seen, they're the "victims" in the situation) are forced to see what they choose to ignore is good.  Whether or not they are truly receiving what is being said is another show in itself.  Both men and women who grew up without their father in the home run the same risk of suffering from some form of abandonment issues.  Instead of seeking help to work through their complexities, they seek out a quick fix, almost always losing themselves in sex, bad relationships and/or other unhealthy activities.

As a young woman who was raised by my mother, I see and have seen instances where I could have fallen into the trap, trying to fill voids left by my parents' decision to split.  I could have easily been the girl who craves attention from men, thinking sex was the way to achieve that.  Thankfully, I have my mom and Jesus on my side.

I'm a firm believer that fathers are supposed to be their daughters' first love, showing them the game.  In some instances, my dad has shown me what I should look for and what I should tolerate when it comes to the man I choose to be in a relationship with.  I absolutely melt when I see a girl who is head over heels for her daddy and often wish i had that same luxury but instead of being bitter about the situation, I play the cards I've been dealt, in an attempt to make the most out of my situation.  Unfortunately, most girls don't possess that ability to compartmentalize what they're feeling long enough to function in a healthy manner.  This leaves them susceptible to a cycle of bad men and decision making.

Love Addiction is an enlightening series that I think everyone should check out at least once.  Aside from the seemingly ignorant fools they choose to showcase week after week, I vouch for the show and I hope that it helps people, especially black people, that we're not too good for therapy.  We all need someone to vent to and, in turn, we need good, sound and unbiased feedback.

Have you watched Love Addiction? What're your thoughts?  Are you against therapy?  Why or why not?  Feel free to check out the clip below if you aren't familiar with the show.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Dating Game

 How much is too much information to divulge on the first date?

Just recently, I finished B-Sides & Remixes by Ran Walker. In the book we learn through the main character some of the intricacies of dating. The author uses both the A and B side of a record as a metaphor to show that when getting to know someone there is a strong possibility that we're only getting the A-side; the side that's okay to put out to the public rather than the stuff that may be frowned upon.

Dating is all about getting to know someone on a friendly level in hopes of things progressing into something greater. During this time, people learn details about the other and ultimately decide if the nuances are something that can be worked with. The idea seems simple in theory but we are all works in progress so naturally, most if us hold back in the dating phase for fear of scaring the other person away which can sometimes backfire on us. I'm guilty myself.

This past weekend I had my first interracial experience. Surprisingly, when he asked me out I didn't hesitate in telling him yes. Of course the potential shade I would receive from unknowing strangers in the street crossed my mind but that didn't stop me from trying something new (word to Sanaa Lathan & Simon Baker up top). I was actually anticipating the glares. It was hilarious to see how people responded seeing us walking aimlessly downtown.

We settled on lunch at Navy Pier. The speed boats on the lake proved to be the perfect back drop for a beautiful day in Chicago. We sat and watched other couples and families enjoying the weather while we simultaneously learned about the other. Things got real when he asked me about my 5-year plan and where I see myself within that time. After he learned that children were not in my immediate future (or marriage for that matter) I asked how many children he'd like to have.

…wait for it

I noticed the hesitancy in his voice when he answered.

"Uhh…it doesn't really matter to me…*long pause/me waiting for the rest of the half assed answer* I already have three children with my ex-wife…"

O_o <---my face as I fall a step behind him in stride as I reply in a high pitched voice, "Oh. Okay."

He proceeds to tell me the story of how they met and why they divorced. I take this opportunity to get as much info as I can, now that the metaphorical record has been flipped over. I learn that he's a 28-year old war vet (enlisted for six years; three tours to Iraq), has suffered a considerable amount of injuries that are unknown to the naked eye and was diagnosed with PTSD.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I stan for Shonda Rhimes and her genius of a show, Grey's Anatomy. On it, two surgeons fall for each other one of which is a former army man who suffers from the same disease. Once my date told me of his diagnosis, the only thing I could see in my mind (aside from the big red flag waving ferociously) was the image of Christina waking up to Owen's hands wrapped around her throat as a result of the disorder. Take a look at the 2-minute and tell me you wouldn't freak out too!

I will admit that the thought of him having a 'moment' freaked me out a little. Ok. A lot and yes, I may be jumping the gun a bit, imagining us in the same situation as Christina and Owen but whose to say something like that couldn't happen to me? I mean, the man is obviously skilled in ways a normal civilian like myself is not. He is equipped with a special set of skills that I have no way of defending myself from.

Overall, he was a gentlemen and I did enjoy myself but I would be lying if I didn't say the PTSD didn't change things for me. The fact that I know he's looking for another wife and someone to build a life with scares me to the point that I probably won't be seeing him in that capacity anymore. I'm still young and not looking for the same things he is at this time.

Does that make me shallow?

What do you think? Is there a such thing as telling too much on a first date? If you were in my shoes, what would you do about the war vet? Although my mind is virtually made up I'd love to read your opinions/insight.

Talk to me!