Contributing writer, Maxine Foster, explains why “our people are beautiful, so beautiful and I can love again with time. I wish I knew then, what I know now."
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Reality Check

As a child in Jamaica, my father always opens the car door for me and I love that about him. He had other flaws I didn’t care for which I suppress in the back of my mind for awhile. I did not watch any form of television adapting other culture lifestyles or ways. But I watch each day through the curtains of my window, the next door neighbor opening the car door for his woman. I would admire these couple, smile within uttering to myself, “When I grow up I will meet a man just like him…cause I am a lady.” Back then, I did not know all men are not the same, as the man I saw being a gentleman to his mate. I truly felt many men have those characteristic of being gentle and loving. It was later on in my years of adolescence I began to understand, realize all men aren’t the same and it’s rare to meet men who have the characteristic of being humble, gentle, compassionate yet strong.

As I sat listening to some roots reggae music, music that I haven’t heard for such a long time, the radio disc jockey interrupted my feeling of traveling back to the eighty’s introducing the reggae artist of the song I was listening to; it was some beautiful lyrics and rhythm. The artist spoke on his new album, growth and where he would be performing next. What had me so glued to the radio that day was the artist statement. He stated when women get hurt, wounded by their men, two things occur, either they become bitter or quote and unquote “go the other way”-to a woman. I sat listening, shaking my head as I utter to the voice from the radio whose face I cannot see, ‘this is not entirely true my brother.” As I listen to the reggae artist speak on his music, beliefs and success, I thought about his comments and wondered, “Am I one of those bitter woman?” I reflect back in my past experience with my own race, some made me smile, laugh out loud, was good and some allowed me to feel pain, anger, residue of hurt, bad. But you know the bad always overshadow the goodness in the person we befriended or the things one may have done for us. I sat thinking on this artist statement, which I felt partially, he was right, spoke on a male perspective but I understood his reasoning. Yet, I believe, maybe I did not hear him speak about this; the saying goes also for men. There are men, similar to a woman, that are cubs, roar like lions, wounded, bitter, carrying childhood pain, issues, grudges, hiding behind a mask, playing tough, deceiving many women, leaving serious damages. I call a couple of women and men I knew, sharing what I heard which brought about controversy. I asked them how they felt about their men or women. Why did I do that? I am flogging myself now. The responses were hurt, hurt, hurt, anger and partial hurt. “I am in that category too. Some females stated, black men have become so hostile that their behavior allows other race to stereotype all blacks behave the same way. Another commented, “I have nothing to do with black men anymore.” “I love my black men but they are so mean…treat women like garbage, the next female reply.” “I have no comment about black men….all I can say is…it’s an experience with my own, another wounded female said quietly.” The brothers stated, “When I say hello to a black woman, she is always ready to dismiss my greetings, quick to shout, fight or scream…no man wants an angry sister, he stated firmly.” “Other race is tenderer than my own, a brother commented.” “Black women got problem…real problem…I will never date another black woman, the next brother said harshly.” “Well, I experiment other race because the sisters got issues…real issues…mix up sisters, another male said.” Haaa…haaa….excuse me…same goes to a brother……..check…..check….check. After I hung up the phone, my head ache. I was hurt about how our black women are being portrayed, wondering how can I fix this mess. “Can’t they see the reason why some of us behave the way we do, I question myself? My phone rang I did not answer quickly enough to get the person. I listen to the voicemail; it was a good friend of mine whom I love reasoning with. “Hello beauty…this is the beast, he said.” I laugh out loud. I called my friend back, still chuckling and he wanted to know why I was giggling so much. I responded with a smile, “don’t you know, beauty fell in love with the beast….because she saw his heart was good even when his appearances seems ugly…it’s not the outside the beauty looks at, it’s the inside. He chuckle also. “Smart woman….smart….now….when will you come out of your cocoon…. so many good men are out there? I reply, when the time is right.” After him and I reason deeply, I hung up the phone with a feeling of “I need some air.”

I put on some sandals, took a ride to one of my favorite bakery. While standing in line I thought about my past comment when I scream silently, “I want to divorce my people, because of the pain I had suppressed so long. I understood everything each women and men had to say. It was not about the color of our skin, it was about the character, how we speak and treat one another. Some of our men and women are in pain, deep pain, a hard fact I did not want to face. I wanted to soothe their pain, something I try to do many time only ended up with more hurt than ever. But I know I have to soothe, pamper, doctor, work on, my own wounds. I know I cannot go into a relationship with ‘pain,’ it will only bring turmoil into my partner and I lives. I realize many of our men and women are going into relationship before healing ourselves, bringing more harm to the temple of our minds and body. Some of us women don’t realize, think, listen to our quiet mind, and take it slow. As my good friend stated,” Once a man takes it, he enters into her sacred soul.” Her heart has become one with his and when the soul has been deceived, the heart bleeds. Our men and women hearts are bleeding because we fail to understand each other. We weren’t patient, did not try to learn more about each other, where are we coming from, our vision and dreams. We undress each other physically before we undress the mind. When we are wounded, we get angry, become bitter, hate one another, keep grudges and blame the entire race instead of looking at ourselves.

I stood on the line in the bakery, daydreaming, only to feel a sudden bounce on my shoulder, as I pay for my meal. I heard him say politely, “Sorry dawtah.” As I turned around, looked up at his face, I got a reality check of my history. He was from yard-Jamtown, dark, tall, handsome, the sweat trickle down his face, the structure of his cheek bones stood out beautifully, his dialect brought warmth, tenderness, familiarity with my ears; a sound I felt lost, had no link to anymore. Although we depart like strangers, his spirit sends a message of tenderness, awaken a bruised soul to open once again. I stood aside watching him depart and I saw something I have not seen for awhile “gentleness; him opening his door for his lady and I smiled. This man presence, through the Creator reaffirm within me, that love is there and allowed me to self-evaluate my thoughts. I realize I have allowed the bad experience to overshadow my own goodness. I am on a path to heal to heal slowly, taking my time, with the help of our heavenly father as I leave the bakery with these thoughts, “our people are beautiful, so beautiful and I can love again with time. I wish I knew then, what I knew now.

About the author

MaxineFoster