In the unforgettable words of Beyonce, “All the single ladies, throw your hands up!” Women have been historically conditioned to believe that they need a man in their lives to make themselves a complete and happy person. However, one woman’s thorough examination into the lives of successful sistas defied the said stereotype and redefined the term, ‘single,’ in a positive sense.
Writer/producer Nika C. Beamon is the powerhouse behind her first non-fiction piece, I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful Single Black Women Speak Out. Beamon sought out the stories, anecdotal advice, and life lessons learned from various Black women from various backgrounds. Some have been married once before. Some have not. Some are raising children. Some are taking care of themselves. Statistics are brought up and discussed every now and then pertaining to divorce, women who are living without a man and the change in the marriage rates. Being single today is like being diagnosed with a sickness; everyone is suggesting the remedy that a woman finds someone to call her lover for her own sake. But here’s the question; who knows you better than you?
That’s what these women have done. Actresses, writers, single mothers, students, engineers, and everyone in between have gotten in touch with their inner selves. They have designed action plans to maintain a fulfilling life amid singlehood. These plans included everything from their faith & spirituality to their careers, families and friends. Beamon goes on to provide her own insight from what she has learned from the research. She also discussed various shows and the types of roles played by the actresses, i.e. Amen (Thelma, 30-year-old woman living with her father determined to find a man), 227 (Sandra, who got by on her sexuality) and Living Single (actress Kim Cole shares her story) and Girlfriends. Beamon compared herself to the character of Maxine Shaw in Living Single, portrayed by Erika Alexander; sharp at the tongue and aspiring to make a difference while doing what she loves.
Beamon and the other women in the book strive to give comfort to single Black women who are finding their way in life. Whether they’re fresh out of college or well in their years and have been there and done that, we, as Black women, are not alone. Beamon says in her book despite the fact that African American women have been downplayed and ignored in the media, we are not failures if we choose to remain single. Being alone is different from being lonely. If you’re not in a relationship with someone who loves you, you are alone in a sense. But you have other people who love you and invest their time and energy in you and your welfare. If you focus on the aspect of being lonely, you’re refusing to acknowledge other loved ones who care about you. So, are you alone or lonely? Whatever answer you choose, make sure you check out this book.
Photo courtesy of the Black Urban Times.