The Christian Greys

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What is appealing about Christian Greys? I am watching the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and I know that I am drawn to the series because in the books he’s this mysterious guy with a fucked up past. In real life, many wonder why some women want to date, commit, or get married to a guy who has so many issues. When I was younger and interested in guys that had similar traits in college—smart, potentially successful, philosophical, read a lot—I thought that they would make great mates. When I look back on them, I am like what the fuck was I thinking? Really? Why are some women attractive to fucked up, controlling men? Is it because these men act charming and nice at the beginning, and as time goes on, they discovered that these men have prick characteristics. What do I mean by prick characteristics?

The appeal of Christian Grey and other men boils down to these qualities:

–Charming & Mysterious
Christian Grey is charming and mysterious. The men I met in college that I really liked demonstrated these qualities as well. First one that I met was the Learning Support Guy. I really did not notice him, and I actually was not attractive to him (unlike Ana who is instantly attractive to Christian). I only became attractive to Learning Support guy when he offered me a ride to the rental house I was staying in. First fall: Nerd, semi-Goth prince charming. Second Fall: when I learned he loved to read and was passionate about science fiction. Third Fall: when he invited me to hang out with him in WR. Fourth Fall: when I asked him out, he wanted to go on a real date.

Heartbreak: when I found out that instead of wanting to continue to teach me how to play chess, he started to date a girl who was in this high school college preparatory program. They started going out and playing chess. He quit hanging out with me. Then, before I knew it, they were dating. It really, really stung me. It was another male to add to the disappointment list. Years later, he and I got back in contact, and they broke up. I asked him outright why did he quit hanging out with me. He shared with me that she told him not to hang out with me, and she was crazy. Hmm…looking on it, a story has two sides. He started dating another girl who was religious and broke up with her. When I visited WR, he and I hung out, and even though I felt that pull of attraction, he was not interested in me. I always wonder if he did not want to date me because I was black, and he was white. He grew up in WR which is South Middle Georgia in a bigger town twenty miles away from me. Yet, his mom and dad were German-Irish Americans, and he adored his mother while his father acted a bit indifferent towards him. No telling what conversations the son and father had or what kind of relationship that he had with his father. If I am remembering correctly, the mother was nice to me, but she didn’t try to really get to know me. It was almost like I was another one of his friend’s he was bringing home.

–Dangerous & Mysterious
Christian Grey is a tease in some regards, isn’t he? I mean some readers could argue that he doesn’t want to hurt Ana when he finds out that she is an incurable romantic. However, from my perspective, this may be playing hard to get. Yet, it is also called stringing a woman along when she wants a committed relationship and not a fling. The second guy I was attractive to is Mr. Smooth Chocolate Suave. I remember coming home from class or an event, and Mr. Smooth Chocolate Suave was sitting on the couch. He was one of my roommate’s best friends. Now, reflecting on it, when he first saw me, he was quite interested in me, but I didn’t notice the signs until near the end of the night, he tried to make a move on me, and I refused. He got a quick mad on it. As he kept hanging around, I found myself very attractive to him because he was very smart and quite philosophical. He was also impressed by how smart I was.

Heartbreak: Yet, the relationship did not go anywhere. He wanted to sleep with me, but my roommates warned him not to pursue me as such because they did not want to see me hurt. I found out that they went behind my back and discussed this…and I cried because it hurt really bad. I felt like they were treating me like a kid. However, looking back on it, it was for the best. He and I kiss one night…and it was my first kiss. However, nothing more happened…he did not want any more than he could give. I was heartbroken and blamed myself because I was not good enough.

–Uncommitted & Hiding Secrets
Christian Grey does hide secrets from Ana. Yes, he is upfront with his sexual lifestyle, but when you read the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, he hides a huge secret from Ana which he alludes to. He tells her that if she would know what he really is like, she would leave him. In the middle of the book, he tells her that he sleeps with girls that resemble his mother and punishes them because he cannot punish his mother who is dead. This is the initial reason why he doesn’t want to have an emotional relationship with Ana.
I was in an uncommitted relationship, and I had a gut instinct not to date this person or see him. However ,one of my college friends suggested that we both date because she did not want him to longer pay attention to her. Anyway, he and I started seeing each other, but what was there to see? First off, looking back on it, he only wanted sex from me, but when it came to other commitments, he did not want not agree to them. He was stringing me along and did not think I was special enough. He also was flirting with my friend, the same friend who tried to divert his attention to me. He kept flirting with her, and they continued to communicate. When I found out, I was quite angry. Besides, he and I didn’t really have anything in common looking back on it. He wanted to become a police officer, and I was a junior intellect. One day, it hit me with sudden clarity that I deserved better, and I did not want to keep getting strung along by someone who did not care about my emotional well-being and intellect. Of course, when I began hanging out with another new friend (who eventually became my boyfriend and still is), I broke it off with I want to be a police officer guy. I was actually friends with a male who wanted to spend time with me and was interested in me. I saw the difference. I broke it off right away with the guy and did not speak to him for a very long time because you know what? I was pissed. He strung me along instead of being honest with me and saying…I am just not into you like that.

Christian Grey is a dark prince and dark knight. He is a character in a book, and I am sure many women have met someone like him or someone who has many characteristics like him. What E.L. James does is write a male character who has very troubling issues. His mother was a drug addict, and her pimp abused him while his mother neglected him. Christian meets Ana and wants her to become his submissive, but he falls in love with her because her positive example changes him. In reality, most relationships don’t happen like this. Most men, women, or both with this type of behavior do not all of the sudden change for someone who is a positive figure in their lives. If anything, these people are abusive and continue to terrorize their victims who they say that they love—but it is actual an obsession that they have with them. And what is obsession about? It is about control. It is about saying that you love someone, but you actually, in this context of a relationship, want to control them. With many abusers, it is about winning. If I beat you and you cower, I win. If I cut you off of your friends and family, I win. This is because you are supposed to be devoted to me.

I am not saying any of these guys that I’ve been involved with have ever tried to control me as such. However, I understand Ana’s motivation in wanting to turn her dark knight…her dark prince into Prince Charming. She wants him to be a good man because she loves him, and she thinks that there isn’t anyone else for her but him. I believe many female fans, especially, are tied to the book because it is a story about a woman who transforms a man with her influence. However, at what costs? Is Ana really heroic? Does Ana really illustrate being a feminist heroine?

What does it say about young women today? I was once a young woman as well who became involved with three men. Two of them weren’t in the sense relationships like both men agreed to actually date me or have a committed relationship with me. However, what do you call them? I could argue, looking back on it, that I was in some type of relationship with these men. When you look at the term “relationship” what does it exactly mean? I would define it as being in steady contact with someone you relate to. It is not a romantic relationship, but it is relating to someone and seeing what the boundaries are with that person. However, the first two did not want to go any further. The third one…it was a semi relationship—nothing really substantial because the guy did not want to commit.

And then my very first relationship…I didn’t mention that one. It started in high school when I was a senior, and it was an online relationship. He was good guy, but we could never make it happen. That’s another story for another time…

Do you think it is realistic for a woman to turn a person who acts like a dick into a prince? Or do some women come off with a warp sense of thinking that the fucked up guy that they’ve learned about (they’ve learned that the charming and mysterious individual person is a fucked up person) can be changed by their positive presence?

Best,
S

Feeling Alone for Not Choosing Motherhood

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I am almost finished with Evelyn C. White’s Alice Walker: A Life, and one of the truths I’ve learned from it is that when you have an enormous talent and gift, a part of you will always feel alone because you know what it takes to actualize that gift and execute it. What continues to resonate in my head is when my co-worker friend, CMP says…when you have such a huge gift, sometimes, others who don’t understand will get left behind.

Today, I felt the loneliness again concerning motherhood, but what I felt is real because I’ve always felt it. Because I’ve chosen not to have kids because of my own personality and behaviors, I felt the pull of not relating to other women my age because I have decided not to become mother. Does it make me think about wanting to have children now? No, it does not. Yet, I recognize that I won’t completely relate to mothers because I am not one myself—not in that respect. Sure, I am a nurturing human being, but it is in the aspect of nurturing younger people who actually start having experiences and actually are able to communicate somewhat with others. I realize that my decision of not being a mother is the right decision. Since my sister and my nieces and nephew have been in my life, I realized that choosing not to have my own children is the right choice for me. I do not want to have children because I know who I am. All my decisions would revolve around my child or children. I would have to plot ahead all the time in what choices I made. In this regard, I admire mothers more than they will ever know because their lives instantly alter when they decide to have a child/children. It is no longer them anymore. It is them and their child/children. The majority of everything has to be planned around their children. In my case, I think about it all the time.

If I want to attend a writing conference and I was a mom, I would to have plan everything to make sure that the child was cared for. Instead of getting up first thing on weekday mornings and writing, I would have to check on the baby. Instead of going straight home and reading a book, I would have to get the baby out of childcare. Instead of sleeping in when I want to, I would have to get up and make sure that baby was okay. Instead of working a full time job and a side part time job, I would be working two full time jobs, and it would be harder to pay off my debt. Where would I find time to write while the baby was sleeping? How would that work exactly since I don’t like being on edge or have something hanging over my head? I could not drink wine when I wanted to.

Most of all, I am turned off by the hard work you have to put into in raising a kid. I realized that motherhood wasn’t for me when my sister told me about how her split with her boyfriend was affecting my three nieces and nephew—particularly my eldest niece. My eldest niece, rightly so, has been acting out because of all the fallout from the breakup. Basically, the only dad that she has ever known left the family, and she struggles, like any nine year old, in understanding why her father is not there. My sister asked me for advice, and I couldn’t even come up with the words. How in the hell do you explain to a nine year old that the family you had doesn’t exist in the way you once knew? How do you explain that? As I thought about ways to help my sister better explain to my eldest niece, this experience confirms that I do not want children. I don’t want to have to struggle every day to tell them the difficult shit that goes down sometimes. Maybe I was equipped with that ten or fifteen years ago—the patience—but I don’t have it now. I have enough for my nieces and nephew but not 24/7.

And NO, it does not make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I don’t have motherly instincts. What it means is that I choose to create my writing and birth my writing. To me, writing is easy hard in a way that rearing children is not. I believe when parents’ rear children, of course, the expectations are different. I can leave a piece of writing alone and not have to worry about it. If I become super busy, I can leave it alone for several days and think about it. You cannot do that with children. In my case, I know what kind of parent I would be. I would dedicate all my time to make sure that they were raised the best to my ability. I would encourage them to read and express themselves. I would teach them hard work. It is okay to be dedicated, but it is also important to have time for yourself. In the process of doing all of this for them, I would struggle so super hard to maintain myself. Let me explain.

All this creative energy that buzzes around me…it would dim a lot if I had children. I would think more about them and their well-being. My well-being? It would become a second class citizen. For those who know me and who have already spoken, I really do appreciate you thinking that I would make a great mom. I really do appreciate it. Yet, I don’t want to be a great mom. I want to be a great writer. The girl you see…as one Mormon member told me, that fire in me, it fuels me to be who I am. If I had kids, I really believe that fire would die down so low that the girl you see now…the woman you see now…she would buried with worrying about how well her children would do in the world.

I take that lesson page from my Grandmother’s book. My grandmother and I was discussing this and that. Then, she asked me, “Sophia, are you going to have children?” I replied, “I don’t think so Grandma. I don’t think it is for me.” She replied, “I don’t blame you. There is a lot of bad things in the world that happens.” I think what my grandmother meant was that I would have an uphill battle fighting and fighting to make sure that my children at least had a chance to do better. One of the biggest lessons I take from my Grandmother’s life is this…

That she didn’t get an opportunity to do the things I’ve done. I have a BA degree. I went to graduate school for a MA degree. I’ve been writing since I was in middle school, and I have a real shot at a being a writer and living over a 100. I feel her spirit encouraging me to make the decisions she dare didn’t do. She had my mom, and my mom had me. I am here to make the dream actually a reality, and I just can’t do it with kids. Most of all, I don’t want to do it.

Fellow women, I am not trying to say that it is something wrong with you having kids who truly want them. I understand why you want to have children. You have a biological instinct to wanting to have them. You can envision yourself having a family. You know what you are sort of getting into with having children. I respect and admire your decision greatly.

However, please extend me the same courtesy as well. I understand what it takes to raise children as well, and I have looked at all the options, and I accept my decision. Could I handle a children or children? Probably. Would have a room of my own? Metaphorically and literally, no, I wouldn’t. Does it make me less of a woman? Hell no, it doesn’t. If anything, it makes me a caring and responsible person because I know where my boundaries lie.

So, what has Alice Walker taught me about motherhood so far? It is perfectly acceptable for me not to have children AND NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. As it is acceptable for a woman to become a mom and NOT FEEL GUILTY about being a perfect mom. What all us women need to do is understand each other and our decisions and not put on airs or judgements on one another.

Best,
Sophia