takes deep breath
Articles like this one are often difficult to write. As a writer, I tend to second-guess myself a lot when it comes to saying things that are unpopular. But, as a writer, I’ve discovered that saying unpopular shit is just my cross to bear. I’m like... the Frodo of unpopular shit. So I’ma say what I need to say... and invite you to share your opinions and criticisms of what I say.
Either way, I’ma say it.
Over the weekend, there emerged a social media frenzy, #ForeverDuncans, that took social networks (and, seemingly, the minds of unmarried Black women) by absolute storm.
A quick recap for those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about: Over the weekend, a young man proposed to his longtime girlfriend. She said yes. This was at noon. Six hours later, he surprised her with a wedding, and they were married. Dating to engaged to married, all in less time than it takes to binge watch season 1 of Luke Cage.
(Side note: Watch Luke Cage. You’re welcome.)
Just real quick to get this out the way before you read any further:
No. I am not bitter. It is absolutely possible to disagree with something without being some miserable, bitter hater. “Anybody who finds anything negative about this situation is just an unhappy person,” one woman wrote. I am not an unhappy person. And although I am unmarried, I am quite content in matters of the heart at this point in my life. I’m not anti-romance, or anti-love, or anti-let’s film shit and put it online and become instantly famous. All that is fine with me.
And yes, I am genuinely happy for them. They seemed overjoyed. If you like it, I love it. I’m all for what makes people feel good, as long as it doesn’t involve hurting children or small furry creatures. Do you. Life live.
What I think took me my surprise so much about the whole situation were the reactions I saw on my Facebook timeline about it.
Be ever so careful that the documented and posted online love stories of other people aren’t setting you up for failure in your own life.
Unmarried women were saying that a man who would not be willing to do for them what this young man did for his
girlfriend aren’t worth their time. “Don’t even talk to me if you’re not coming #ForeverDuncans correct,” one woman posted. She had well over a hundred likes on that status. “God’s best for me looks exactly like #ForeverDuncans. I’m patiently waiting, Lord.”
Listen, ladies. What God has for you... is yours. Maybe God’s best for you is Tyrone, who can’t even afford a ring for you but is everything that God knows you need in life. Maybe God’s best for you isn’t a man who comes riding in like a knight on a gleaming white horse (yeah, I spent way too much time this weekend watching Lord of the Rings). Maybe God’s best for you is on the bus. Hell, maybe he’s a billionaire. Either way, you can’t compare what is right for your life by looking at what is right in someone else’s. And you certainly can’t expect that just because someone else looks at the video and comments, “This is nice for them but way too much for me,” that they are some bitter, unhappy, chronically single, cat having, ice cream in bed eating, miserable lonely troll, either.
It’s no secret that I am very... careful... when it comes to marriage. I’ve been engaged before. Matters to the heart are dicey to me. I don’t do anything in haste, especially when it comes to making a decision that is, in theory, supposed to be for life. I do believe I would’ve had an entire panic attack were I the young lady in the video.
For me, it would’ve felt like I didn’t have a choice in anything. Regardless of how in love I was, or how ready I was to be married to this person.
Every detail of the day, from the proposal to the wedding, was his plan. His design. Yes, it was a dope surprise for her, but I would’ve felt... pressured. What if I wanted to say no? Or not right now? Or let’s think about this a bit more? Imagine being taken to your own wedding in a blindfold, and opening your eyes to a room full of people, every camera phone in the room trained on you and your response? What if I really wanted to invite someone who wasn’t there? What if I wanted to get married on a Thursday?
Yes, a man who made a move this gutsy probably knew every detail of what she wanted already. I get that.
But did she have a bachelorette party? What if she bought small penis-shaped bachelorette party favors months ago that she’d been dying to use? What if she’d been looking forward to planning her own wedding since she was a kid?
To me, it just seemed selfish. It’s my day, too. It’s my experience, too.
And the reason my fingers got all itchy to type this article is because, when I said that, I felt genuinely attacked. Why is it such a scary thing to see something and not have the same response as the masses? Why are we a society of people who immediately shuns opinions that are different from their own? Why isn’t it okay to say, “It’s nice, but way too much for me” and have that just be enough? Because if I would’ve said OMG IT WAS SO GREAT I CRIED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING I LOVE BLACK LOVE OMG, nobody would’ve asked for an explanation of that.
Well, this is my explanation.
Everything that’s good... isn’t good for everybody. I wasn’t moved to tears when I watched the video. I felt anxiety for her in the pit of my stomach, because that’s what I would’ve felt were it me. I watched the joy on her face and knew that she was happy with the choices that were made for her. I am always happy to see genuine joy on any person’s face, as we live in a time where those small moments of complete elation are few and far between.
All I am saying is this: It’s so easy to be disappointed with your own situation when you are comparing it to a small, well-documented snapshot of somebody else’s life. I was almost really sad for some of the women who posted statuses about this, because watching and praying for what somebody else has could distract you from the real blessings that are just for you, that are right in front of you.
And please, can we stop attacking people simply because they share different opinions? Can we trust that it’s okay to form an opinion based on one’s own thoughts and experiences and not the general sentiment of the majority? Can we stop suggesting that people are unhappy or bitter just because they don’t jump on the bandwagon with you?
My two cents. Happy Monday.