A woman’s life is love, a man’s love is life.
That lyric–from “Breakin’ My Heart” by Little Brother–has haunted me since I first heard it in 2007. I even wrote a post about it in the earlier days of The Skinny Black Girl. The short version of my reaction to it as a 24-year-old: it smacked me in the face. I thought of how often I’d allowed my feelings for men to distract me from my vision; how willingly I would compromise the me I wanted to be to fit into a “we.”
Not much has changed. Behind every romantic preoccupation I’ve had in the last eight years was a voice in the back of my mind, dripping with judgement and disdain, Here we go with THIS shit again. The battle of my adult existence has been the sweet spot between desire for another and desire for self-actualization. I’ve been single for the last four years yet the war raged on.
In my astrological studies, I’m often confronted with the concept of feminine receptivity–a concept I struggle with. My Venus (which governs our values, what we’re attracted to, and how we attract) is in discriminatory Virgo. While popular lore casts Virgo as the critical, neurotic, uptight bitch with an unrealistic checklist of requirements for suitors; who needs to “relax her standards,” I’ve found peace with my nitpicky femininity by diving deeper into the “virgin” archetype. Before virginity was co-opted by monotheistic religions, virgins were women with “no masters,” who were “whole unto themselves.”
I’ve had lots of practice with this archetype: I haven’t had sex in a year. There’s no story behind it other than since my last liaison, I’ve not come across anyone compelling or interesting enough to sleep with. There have been attractive dullards and intellectually fascinating men who did nothing for me physically. But no one in possession of the “it” required to inspire my receptivity.
There was an instance with a fine one I thought I could wring interesting-ness from for the sake of finally getting my rocks off, but it failed because he didn’t understand rapport as seduction. “I don’t even know how to flirt with a girl like you,” he once said. After turning it over with my girls, I learned this about how I choose men: I am not driven to men by a desire for companionship. I am driven by a desire for interesting experiences, which can manifest in sexual relationships, friendships or on the rare occasion–partnerships. (I should add I’m also driven by a love of “nice things.” I’m an unabashed lookist.) Am I susceptible to falling like anyone else? Of course. But since solitude is my default, I am only willing to make exceptions for the exceptional. While my year without sex is more circumstantial than intentional, it’s been a powerful affirmation: If it ain’t what I want, I’m good.
This clashes with my recent interest in esoterics and spirituality: most of which encourages healing the broken places so one can achieve wholeness and abundance via vulnerability, with a cruel emphasis on ego death. All of which makes me frown, resolving to remain “unevolved” for awhile.
I’m reading a book called Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love by Betsy Prioleau–which examines the seductress archetype in powerful women throughout history. I’m halfway through it and it’s a fascinating read with tales of dynamic women who won the world over with charm, intelligence, strategy, and talent. A common thread in their stories thus far is refusal of their respective eras’ gender norms, but there’s another pattern: single-minded focus on the vision for their lives. While they took lovers and husbands along the way, they always acted with their agendas in mind. Any love that threatened their self-actualization was left by the wayside and chalked up as a learning opportunity.
They had big egos, a lust for experience, a disdain for domesticity and convention, and discriminatory tastes.
Women who loved Life above all else.