Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living Single With Faith, Hope & Purpose - Ebony Magazine

If you're free TONIGHT, Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 8 pm, please join me (@Enjoyceinglife) and @EbonyMag for their FIRST ever Twitter chat based on "Single Ladies," my article about the state of dating and relationships in the October issue of Ebony Magazine. 

Having a real conversation about the state of dating and relationships with six single African American women in Atlanta was not at all what I expected. While I never thought the discussion I was moderating for Ebony Magazine would be a male-bashing session, I did not expect it to be as empowering for me as it was.

I was dreading bringing up the unmarried statistics or unearthing the media's favorite dead horse: "Why can't black women find good black men?" But the ladies even had interesting perspectives on those tired aspects of the reality of their lives that, as a thorough journalist, I had to address. What was most encouraging, especially because I'm single, too, is the positive outlook that all of the women - ages 27 to 43 - had about their prospects for a satisfying relationship in their future.

Outside of my cousin Krystal Gambrell, and a new friend I met that evening, Alisa Benjamin, I'd known all of the women a year or so mostly through our professional relationships. But as sisters sometimes do, we had a little wine, cheese, fruit and desert in the comfort of my parents' home, and fell into an easy conversation about what can be a hard and painful topic. Their clear-eyed comments were refreshing. Some of my favorites had to do with dating as a single parent, which speaks to my experience:

"It's my job to make sure my son respects me and doesn't see different men in an out of the house. With most guys, it increases their respect for me because I guess it shows that I have values and standards." - Kia Smith

"Someone has more of an advantage when he has children, and I can really hone in on what type of father he is. Are you the father who sees his child once a month and that's OK with you? That's not a good sign that you want to be there for my children." - Tracy Nicole

We did talk about being approached by married men, online dating, the endless pressure to get married, and, of course, how quickly sex comes into play. But the most moving part of the discussion came when the ladies shared the importance of faith, hope and purpose:

"[When I was in my 20s] I thought that walking down the aisle, having a ring and a baby would complete me....But I hadn't found my purpose...Now that I am focused, I can't keep the guys away. When guys see you are a woman who is focused and driven, you don't have to worry about the numbers." - Erin Harper

"When I say I have hope, it's because of [my previous marriage]. I have hope that if [my first husband] found me, then somebody else is going to find me. I want to be open to the same type of integrity that he had and the trust that I had in him and not be guarded because of all the stuff that we do see. I know it's real, but that relationship was real, too." -  Cecilia Bailey

So if you see Gabrielle Union grinning at you from the newsstand over the next few weeks, check out my piece in the October issue of Ebony. Can't wait? Here's a pretty good excerpt. There's also a roundtable of single black men in Washington, D.C., in the same issue that is certainly eyebrow-raising. I'd love to hear your thoughts about their perspectives on dating and relationships as well.

Okay, so my 6-year-old daughter - on her birthday - records a video - through a patio window - of a photo shoot that is being done of a round table about dating and relationships I conducted for Ebony Magazine. My wonderful mother provided direction to the photographer, who was so gracious in his acceptance of her suggestions. I love how my baby handles an iPhone and how my mother always has my back! You just can't beat family.

I am so honored that Ebony's FIRST ever Twitter chat is based on my article!!! Hope to see you on Twitter TONIGHT, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 8 pm, for @EbonyMag's chat about dating and relationships. I'll be tweeting from @Enjoyceinglife. I can't wait to hear your feedback!

Keep on Enjoyceinglife!

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