You’re not a traditional girl
Tradition. Customs. Culture.
As a black girl growing up in the Caribbean I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my mother say in her cutesy voice “But that’s our culturrrre.” Yes, she does stress the R in culture and I love her for it.
If you are coming from a background that has a strong culture you can often feel lost because one foot is in the world of the now and the other foot is in the world of the expected. My culture isn’t as demanding as some but there are some things that I don’t agree with. I hadn’t even given a thought to what was expected of me as a black Caribbean woman until I recently entered a relationship with a guy from the Caribbean. I have been known to say I am extremely reluctant to date guys from the Caribbean but after this relationship it is a certified fact. I gats love for my Caribbean brothas but if they are going to stress me the way my ex was doing then they can keep their love.
So what exactly was going on with my ex? What are the traditions/culture that I have issue with?
Growing up I often heard I need to learn to cook and clean so I can be a good wife. I mean honestly I know back in the day that was what was expected of women but thank the Lord I never bought into that. Sadly I can’t cook to save my life and I have no desire to but I am strongly opposed to the idea that as soon as I become a wife that is what I’m supposed to do. Or as soon as I become someone’s girlfriend. Ha!
As I started to learn more about the world around me and as I started to take in experiences that would shape my person I realized I want to be a savvy woman. I want to be more Sex in the City (as far as my housing choice goes) than traditional housewife (no house with a picket fence thank you!). I like going to nice restaurants, I like sipping wine in the evenings, I like shopping at nice stores for outrageous purchases, my idea of a nice dinner party does not include cheetos on the menu. My ex did not appreciate this. His response to me time and time again was “You are not a traditional Caribbean girl”.
But after hearing this over and over again I stopped finding joy in the statement and started to dread him saying it. Why? It felt like for the first time the thing I took pride in was actually bad.
I appreciate our traditional foods, I appreciate the idea that the man should be the leader of his household, I like our traditional music and holidays but that’s about as much as I need when it comes to tradition and culture. I respect the most important things to me and what I didn’t agree with I worked hard to find something that fit me. So imagine my surprise when I was getting rowed for not wanting to make him a sandwich in his own house or clean his room for him…or his house for that matter! And not just getting the bad vibes from him but his father as well. His own father would ask me why I wouldn’t clean or make food. I’m like whaaa?
So it made me wonder: Is that all you expect your woman to be? A cooking, cleaning, sex machine?
Ever since meeting my ex I started to meet more and more guys with those same expectations. They want a meek girl who can cook them a meal, make sure the house is in top shape, sex them up good and ignore the fact that they are sleeping with someone on the side. You can’t have a strong voice, you can’t be an independent thinker, you can’t want more than what your man needs you to want.
Was that what I was buying into?
Granted, my ex had some wonderful qualities: he is crazy optimistic, he’s very kind, he’s a good listener and he tries to do his best no matter what…but he couldn’t escape his culture and his expectations. So we didn’t work.
So what do I do? Do I stay a woman who appreciates certain parts of her culture and what is expected of her or do I transform myself into a 1950’s robot whose only mission is to make master happy? Or…do I shun it all and be the nomad I wish to be, live in an apartment with a foreign view, date a guy with blue hair and piercings who cooks, and have rooftop dinner parties that don’t include cheetos?
Maybe I’ll give a Caribbean brotha another try but if he can’t appreciate my uniqueness then what’s the point?
Would you settle, would you give up? Would you even care?
How is culture shaping your life?
Much love, dendoo