For this third Friday of Blog writing, just days after Valentine’s Day, the focus is on none other than Tiffany Haddish’s The Last Black Unicorn, synopsis here. Like most Black folk, I was slightly pressed to read this book. Not only because I am “Rooting for everybody Black” but also because I am in a book club, and that was the assigned book. Let me tell y'all that it took FOREVER to track down a copy. Amazon was sold out. Barnes and Noble was sold out. And being the bougie princess that I can be, I wanted the physical book, not just an electronic version I don’t have anything against electronic books, FYI, my kindle account is popping! For some books though, I always want a physical hardcover copy. The for biggies, I usually get a physical copy like the HP series, Awkward Black Girl, Freedom is a Constant Struggle, or the New Jim Crow---a girl may have no name, but she still likes what she likes.
In reading this book, which I honestly felt was stilted and not that great to read--I heard the audio book is better-- nothing stood out to me more than that Tiffany stifled her own inner voice and instincts and was consequently put in some rather shitty situations. But I digress. Allow me to really set up what I would like to say before we knock it down.
Valentine’s Day has passed and there are many people both happy and mad about what they got or didn’t get from a loved one, side piece, or boo-thang. But like I said last week, “...for this Black History Month, I want to focus on self love...” What better way to keep the focus alive than by talking about trust, one of the foundations people have identified as being fundamental in a relationship. Obviously, the relationship we are talking about is with numero uno, Y-O-U! Some people would say that if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself first, that all other relationships are doomed to fail. I personally don’t really believe that. I feel like you could have found a model of trusting and loving yourself, which may simply come with time, and that seems to have been the case to Tiffany Haddish.
In her book, the chapter entitled, "The Ex-Husband," Tiffany gets into how she met, fell in love with, and eventually broke up with her Ex-Husband. Don’t get in your feeling about spoilers, that sentence didn’t spoil anything..she said EX husband, not current husband. It’s kinda obvious from her title of him that they broke up...duh! Anyway, she got with this man, who was an officer, but not a gentleman--sorry, I couldn't resist, who turned out to be emotionally and physically abusive. He attempted to control her by moving her away from friends and family, gaslighting her, shaming her, and beating her. Sometimes, people don’t know what an abusive relationship is without someone putting their hands on you, but there is certainly more to it than that. In the resource of this blog, you can download the Wheel of Power and Control, which gives a few different ways that a relationship can be abusive.
Anyway, to get to the point of this writing, Tiffany, in retrospect, sees that there were signs that this man wasn’t quite right. From the cruise ship where is stalks her, to popping up at her house when she didn’t answer the phone. And while some people would sit on a high horse and judge her for ignoring those signs, lots of people ignore signs that the person they are trying to be with is NOT the one for them. We ignore that the person texts or calls us just a bit too often. We ignore or rationalize when they want the full timetable of our day--because they care, right? We ignore that we can never go to their house or that we can only call at specific times of day. We ignore a bunch of little things but we also ignore one of the biggest things of all. We ignore the hell out of ourselves. We ignore that feeling of intuition that strikes up and tries to tell us that something is off. We ignore that pit in our stomach and rationalize away the creeping anxiety we experience at night or throughout the day time. We know for ourselves that something feels wrong, but we allow friends and loved ones to talk us back into a situation, without giving voice to what we feel. And it’s understandable. People have been taught that emotions aren’t that important, especially men folk. We are taught that logic and reason alone should be how we base a choice, should be how we made decisions. But as a therapist whose basis is in Emotionally Focused Therapy, let me tell you, right here, right now, that Emotions Serve A Purpose! They are one of the barometers we have that try to protect us. Sometimes, yes, they can be hypervigilant, or otherwise distracted, but they are often ON THE MONEY! For example, anxiety helps to put you on alert to a possible threat--emotional, mental or physical. Feelings of sadness lets you know that you yearned for something or loved something, but it didn’t go your way. Which incidentally can help you prepare for how you will do better in the future!
Loving yourself and listening to your instincts can be hard, but let’s start with building trust. Trust yourself to pick a great outfit for wherever you are going, without being on 10 different consult calls with friends for approval. Trust yourself to pick where you want to eat, consequences of calories be damned. Trust yourself to know what you want, even if, at this time, you aren’t ready to voice it to others. From the small ways you trust yourself, you will eventually get to larger more grand ways of showing that trust in yourself. Like a budding relationship, but with yourself. Don’t forget that trusting yourself starts with acknowledging that self communication. That you have to listen to yourself. You have to make an effort to be in the moment, acknowledge what you are feelings, and try to figure out why. Sometimes that takes meditation. And for some it’s helpful to have a therapist.
The Doc’s Recommendation:
Read The Last Black Unicorn, if you haven’t already. Tiffany Haddish demonstrates the reasons WHY you should not ignore the signs. But to get good at it, your job is to build that self-trust by listening to what your emotions are trying to say.
Resources that can help:
2. Here is a short video to help you settle into learning to listen to yourself
3. Here is a way to get on my calendar if you are looking for a Black therapist to help you Rock out on your journey of self-love and living authentically.