My Six-Word Memoir

19 Feb

A few months ago, I came across a book in the bookstore–a compilation of six-word memoirs, called, Not Quite What I Was Planning  By Writers Famous and Obscure.  The idea was to write your life story in six words. You had to say a lot in very little.  Not even thinking, I instantly wrote my own right there at the bookshelf.

Should have married a black man.

I don’t take it lightly the fact that I am recently divorced from my husband of fourteen years—a white man with a kind soul–but, we just weren’t kind together anymore.

My spontaneous micro-memoir at the bookstore stemmed from a comment someone made at a writing workshop I took several years ago.  I had just moved back to the East Coast to Providence, RI, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where my ex-husband is originally from.

After handing in several essays to the workshop group about my obsession with black people, one of the woman, Ellen, who is now a friend, and part of my current writing group, asked, “How come you didn’t marry a black man?”

I didn’t get indignant, but am pretty sure I rolled my eyes, and justified my non-black husband by saying, “Well, just because I like black people doesn’t mean I have to be married to a black guy.  I mean, then it would be like…like….I just married him because he was black.”

And, believe me, I knew all about getting self-analytical over whether I liked someone just because they were black.  Go ahead and read “What I Did For an A,” on my Memoir page, and you’ll see.

But, what Ellen said, and she said it more than once, mind you, struck a chord with me.  I started to think that maybe she was right.  I missed having black people in my life like in my earlier years.  Also, once I started dating and having long-term relationships with black men in my late teens and early twenties, I realized not only did I like them for who they were, but I had become more physically attracted to black guys than white guys.  All right, who am I kidding?  It started with the attraction, and then I got to like them for who they were.

Right now, it’s much too early to say whether I’ll get married again, or whether I’ll marry a black man like Ellen and my micro-memoir are telling me to do.  But, odds are that I may do just that.  You know what they say,  once you go black….and, seeing it’s been twenty-five years since I’ve had a black boyfriend, I have some catching up to do.

17 Responses to “My Six-Word Memoir”

  1. Myrna Griffith February 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Yahoo, Wendy. I’ll bet it feels good to get that out there.

  2. Kelly February 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    You’ve got me thinking about my six word memoir….. I probably have several. “The show must go on” ( ok– that’s only 5 words, I can do better!). I’m still thinking….

    • Wendy Jane February 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Hi Kelly,

      You are so fabulous–your life is so rich, I bet it might take time to land on the perfect six word memoir. I can’t wait to read it:)

  3. Ken Harge February 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    WOW!!! I’m still fascinated by all of this. On the one hand it seems like a joke, or something being done on a dare. Maybe it’s a social experiment. Or maybe you’re a super brave person willing to figure out something about yourself in public view. I still don’t know what to make of it, but I’ll be back to read more. Peace!

    • Wendy Jane February 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Hi Ken,

      I can tell you this is not a joke, but I definitely try to use humor and lightness to deal with a loaded subject matter. I think your third guess is it–I have always longed to have diverse connections in my life–and growing up in Waterbury at the time that we did, the main two races were black and white, and so that somehow became something special (at the time, I suppose it was on an unconscious level) to me. I write, and so this is the way the thoughts and feelings started coming out–through writing these little stories. The figuring out and wanting to connect with others and see what they think, to start positive dialogues about race relations is the direction I hope, or think this is going in. I’m not quite sure.

      What do you make of it?

      Thanks so much for your feedback.

  4. Melanie February 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Hey Wendy! Okay, first off I didn’t know you had a blog! I could have totally been keeping up with you if I had known that – and then I would have known that you got divorced. I didn’t know that and I’m really sorry, but I’m happy to see that you are doing well and seem to be happy. Finally, I see that you and I have a fascination with black people. Mine is especially geared toward black babies (I’m infatuated and I want one because they are so much cuter than any other baby) and black literature (see my thesis for that one). Anywho, who knew we were so similar!?

    • Wendy Jane February 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Hey Mel!

      Great to hear from you–well, I’ve only had the blog up for a week, so how were you to know? Thanks for your good wishes–I am doing just fine, now.

      And, you know what, I think I remember about your fascination with black literature–didn’t your thesis have to do with some of Toni Morrison’s work. I remember thinking that was really cool, but I just hadn’t outed myself as being obsessed with connecting with people who were black:) Can you recommend any books for me to read?

      Thanks again for checking in!

      • Melanie February 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

        Hi there! I didn’t realize until I read further that you had just started your blog, so welcome to the Blogosphere!

        My fascination just happened to extend to the literary aspect because I had a lightbulb moment after reading a book about what I wanted to write my thesis on. It’s really the black babies for me. My sisters and I freak whenever we see them out and I’m sure their mothers think we are nutty white women, but we just can’t help it!

        Oh, there are so many books you need to read, but you’ve probably already read all of them already. I tend to prefer the ones that are a bit older as I haven’t gotten into contemporary black literature, but I’m sure there is some good recent stuff out there. My very favorite is Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’. I wanted that in my thesis, but it didn’t work out because I ended up going with “survival through the spoken and written word of black women from post-Civil War to the 1960’s” (roughly stated). Anything by Toni Morrison is awesome; I have yet to read something by her I didn’t love. And ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ by Harriet Jacobs was the main book for my thesis, and it’s a great account of the life of one of the “luckier” slave girls. And, of course, Maya Angelou is amazing. I am not a huge fan of her poetry overall, but her autobiographies are fab! And, of course, ‘The Color Purple’ and anything by Alice Walker. That’s a given though.

        • Wendy Jane February 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

          Hey Mel,

          I didn’t know you had a blog–I will have to visit it! I do remember us talking a bit about your thesis, and you might have even recommended Zora Neale Hurston to me then, because I did read that when I was in Tulsa. And, what a coincidence, but a good friend of mine runs a theater and they did a play on Harriet Jacobs, which was amazing. Thanks for the other recommendations, too. We’ll have to keep up our chats here.:)

  5. Ken Harge February 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    OK…I will continue to read, and observe your journey. I’m sure it will be interesting.

    • Wendy Jane February 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks, Ken!

  6. marci February 21, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    GREAT! I LOVE READING YOUR BLOG, I’VE NEVER FOLLOWED ONE BEFORE 🙂 KEEP IT UP , you’re doing awesome!

    • Wendy Jane February 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Marci,
      Thanks so much for your kind words–they mean a lot to me! xo

  7. Ellen February 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Well, I am honored to be the catalyst for all of this! Guilty as charged. And I remember asking you that question, a very personal question, yes, but it just slipped out. I think this blog is wonderful. You’re bravely forging ahead with a deeply personal and touchy subject, and in the process may help others dig a little deeper into their own feelings about it.

    • Wendy Jane February 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Ellen,
      I am honored to receive your kind feedback. It was good you asked me that question:)

  8. Sherry Gordon September 14, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Hi, there, Wendy Jane! Wow, and wow! What a very honest and brave blog post article this is of yours, as well as your other courageous and lovingly caring ones! As a lesbian black woman who I am, I aim to be different from many other black/African-American women and to support white women who yearn for a partnership with a black man. I love white women so, so very much as people and many white women have such goodness inside. I love white women and I am very, very intensely attracted to white women exclusively preferring a white woman in a relationship again someday. You are so brave in saying,”should have married a black man.” Your love to have a partnership with a black man is much broader than that. You also love and cherish us as black women and black girls in our sisterhood together in the spirit of unity. You so deeply and dearly love us also as black women and black girls-it is not just black men you so love and care about. There is an egregiously unfair stereotype afoot that white women who want interracial relationships with black men do not like black women and even hate us and are jealous of us. Another evil lie and stereotype of white women who love and like black men is that they center on the black man and that they are not the least bit interested in getting to know the female members of his family. How so, so very untrue this stereotype is, my sweet white sister, Wendy Jane! My eldest brother, Joe, and my next older brother, Tony, have had interracial relationships with white women in their teens and in their adult lives. They misrepresented the white women who they were involved with as meeting those stereotypes as if they alone were important and the center and the main focus. How very unfair and untrue these stereotypes are of you, Wendy Jane, and of other white women! I am so eternally blessed to have found you and your wonderful website, Wendy Jane, my sweet white sister, and my friend! I trust you so, so very much and deeply and dearly, and you are so for real and very sincere!

    I am going to read more of your fantabulous archives, sister! Please have a very nice, special, and a very blessed Sunday, my sister, Wendy Jane!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely Always,

    Your lesbian black sisterfriend in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane September 14, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for your thorough read and response. Good thing I didn’t think about being brave when I wrote it:)

      I’m glad that you understand I mean my attraction town who are black is broader than me just saying, “I just want a black man–or I only date black man..”
      Without even considering that I am looking at the men I am attracted to as individuals. I want them to have the qualities that will make us a good couple. I don’t want to go out with someone who is a jerk but just because he happens to be black that’s okay. It’s a little hard to put this in words.

      It’s really interesting to me what you say was the stereotyping you experienced–the thinking that white women wanted to exclude black women and other members of her boyfriend’s family. I had experienced myself, black women–sisters, friends, etc., not being happy with me or that their brother or friend was dating me, a white girl. I always wanted to get to know my boyfriend’s families and be a part of their get-togethers. Of course, I’m a people pleaser too, and just wanted them to like me and see me as a good person.

      Thanks again, Sherry, for sharing your valuable experiences and perspective.

      Your sisterfriend,
      Wendy Jane

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