Monday, August 12, 2013

Love & Hip-ocrisy: What We Can Actually Learn Instead of Just Laughing

So, we've all laughed, cringed, and judged our way through another season of Love & Hip Hop, which is humorously and erroneously titled in my opinion, since there's very little love and even less hip hop. Yet, we get an up close, front seat look each week into the lives of "artists" desperately seeking success in both--to no avail. Of course, it's the "no avail" part that keeps us coming back for more, secretly hoping although shaking our heads in hopelessness, but tuned in nonetheless. We scream, "Are you serious?" "Girl, get your life!" "He's such a loser!" And most commonly uttered, "I would not put up with that ish!" with total arrogance. But not so fast, ladies....

Yes, it's easy to find very little to compare ourselves to when the subjects of said statements are speaking in broken English, wearing dresses three sizes too small, and makeup four coats too thick, but if we stop to truly realize (and embrace) what these women are going through under the surface and how their struggles are ever present in our own lives, we might put down our bowls of good-TV-watching popcorn and glasses of wine and pick up our journals to take notes as well. So, before we're front and center for part 2 of the Love & Hip Hop's Reunion this evening, let's really take a look back at our infamous couples and break down what we as "sistas" can all learn (and apply to our lives as well).

Mimi/Stevie J/Joseline a.k.a The You-Can't-Change-A-Man Syndrome -- Oddly, we women suffer from this "syndrome" a lot! As born nurturers, we often think we have to power to love every man into "rightness"; into putting away his player ways, and having him recognize us as queens and, thus, having him become that king we always knew he could be. One problem--if he's not interested in that fantasy too, not a damn thing is going to change. Mimi learned this the hard way after years of dealing with Stevie J's philandering ways; however, Joseline thinks she has the "magic" (read: good loving, although a woman's magic can be anything from her great cooking to her ride-or-die support) to turn this frog into a prince. So much so, she proposed to the man to get him to settle down with her. Well, at the time of this writing, the blogs are already blowing up about Stevie J. expecting another child--from a ANOTHER woman. Bottom line: The only person you can ever change is yourself!

Erica/Scrappy a.k.a. The-Mama's-Boy-Can-Never-Truly-Be-A-Man (or YOUR Man) Syndrome -- I've lost count of the number of years Erica and Scrappy have been together. Let's just say long enough to have a 7-year-old daughter between them (although I hear their relationship dates back to high school). They've been on and off; engaged and dis-engaged; at each other's throats and in each other's bed. And ever present in it all: Mama Dee. Now, I'm all for men loving and respecting their mothers. In fact, it's said to know how a man will love and respect you, pay attention to his relationship with Ma Dukes. However, there's healthy love and there's unhealthy love. And running to mama for her opinion on every, single decision that must be made leans towards the latter. This bond is nothing new between a lot of single mothers and sons; however, it's up to man to know when to transition out of that dynamic. And Scrappy simply doesn't want to. This is a love triangle of the worst kind; one that will never yield Erica the relationship or husband she desires, for Scrappy is already married--to his mom. Ladies, if he's not willing to loosen himself from such a bond, don't get yourself tangled up in it as well. 

Kirk/Rasheeda a.k.a. The If-He's-an-Irresponsible-Dad-He's-Probably-an-Irresponsible-Dude Syndrome (and vice versa) -- I could actually refer this entire paragraph back to the Mimi/Stevie/Joseline one. At this point, I've lost track of the number of children Kirk Frost has (4? 5? 6?) by different women. Despite it all, he decided to wife up Rasheeda. They've been together for years and, bingo, this season she announced the blessed good news that she was having a baby too. However, much like "Single Kirk," he was preparing to roll out on this baby too if Rasheeda didn't heed his advice to terminate the pregnancy. When she didn't, he drowned his sorrows in a sea of other women. Shocking! Or is it?! This is usually that dreaded Catch 22 when we think because someone has put a ring on it, their character has transformed too. Not in this case as Kirk just proved this is not 100% fool proof for marriage does not change anyone who does not want to be changed by marriage. Now the deadbeat dad is unfortunately a deadbeat husband. Proof that you need to check a person's character even before you check their credit score. Oddly, the former can "cost" you even more than the latter.

DJ Baby Drew/Traci - The He's Supposed to Treat You Different Because You Are Different from Other Chicks Man  -- Not! People treat you according to who they are; not who you are. (I'm going to let that one sink in for a minute. Right). Traci has not let this one sink in, obviously. Who she thought Drew was when she met him, I have no idea. Who she hoped he would be after their child was born is not who he is either. Drew is simply Drew. The popular DJ who loves women (okay, groupies or as Traci has termed them "Popcorn Hoes") so much so, that not only does he indulge in them regularly but the man has created a t-shirt line dedicated to them: THAHA i.e., These Hos Are Always Hos *sigh* Enough said. And Traci is steaming mad that he, despite all of her support and financial backing, has not turned over a new her direction. During one of Drew & Traci's many arguments, Traci uttered a phrase when talking about her single motherhood status that made me want to throw myself out of a 12-story building: "I didn't sign up for this!" Okay, ladies, I'm not going to lament here because I have a blog post that's been stirring up inside of me for some time on the audacity of uttering (and believing) such a statement. But I'll simplify it here: if there was not birth control of any kind present in your relationship and you don't have a ring on it (and you're NOT Rasheeda, sorry), not only did you sign up for it, you played a HUGE part in it. You are not a victim. Stop it now. And until Traci accepts this, her anger will probably score her a spot on season 3.

But, again, let's not get so far removed from what we see--and laugh at--for there are lessons for all of us to learn. The "Scrappies" in our lives may not have a bunch of tattoos but a bunch of degrees instead. Maybe he's not in the music industry like the "Stevie Js" of the world but work on Wall Street yet has a PhD in womanizing all the same. Don't be fooled just because the signs and dysfunctions show up in a "better package." And men there are lessons for you to learn as well if you're watching these shows and exhibiting or attracting any of this bad behavior in your own lives. After all, there's a lot of chasing love on these shows, but clearly not enough chasing of self-love, which really is at the root of many of the dysfunctional relationships we attract and stay in for far too long. We just don't have cameras documenting our "crazy"; yet, that doesn't mean we don't have our own crazy that we need to acknowledge, learn from, and remove from our lives as soon as possible, so we can all begin to live and love healthily and happily for ourselves and for our children..."and in that order," as Mama Dee has reminded us all season long!