As a child growing up I can remember conversations where one woman said to another who was bad-mouthing her male partner, “At least I got a man!” The retort to that stinging remark was sometimes, “You got a PIECE of man, and a piece of man is worst than no man at all!” That concept of a “piece” of man (or woman) reminds me of how often we settle just to be able to say we have somebody.
Our society is so preoccupied with people being “coupled” or in a “relationship” that often we do not care about the nature of those relationships. Some of our relationships are toxic. We agree to partner with people who mean us no good, whose presence means that our lives are diminished, who actually leave us worse off than if we had been on our own.
As Black people we sometimes buy into the hype that suggests that there is such a shortage of good partners that we have to share them or accept unspeakable abuse from them. I have seen beautiful and handsome, smart, kind, ambitious, and interesting people settle for partners who demean them, cheat on them, lie to them, take their money, and in general, make them miserable. But, if you see them on social media or talk with them about their lives they cannot say enough about how wonderful these people are.
A piece of a (wo)man is someone whose only intention is to hurt you. Their own sense of self-worth comes from demeaning you. Unfortunately, some of that demeaning comes in forms that you may not recognize. Turning a partner into a “trophy” is another way of saying their value is linked to you and you are nothing without them.
It is bad enough that I see adults engage in these behavior but because we engage in these behaviors in front of our children they come to see settling for less as normal.
Some years ago I listened to a preacher talk about how far too many of us were “living beneath our privilege.” He went on to explain how we deserve to have peace in our lives. We deserve to have joy in our lives. We deserve to have contentment in our lives. We deserve to have fulfillment in our lives. We deserve to have real love in our lives. We deserve so much more than a piece of (wom)man in our lives!
Stay Black & Smart!