When A Black Man Loves - a romantic journey

Emotional Honesty

Zachary M.C. Harris
Saturday, March 16, 2013

While I have launched the first book and am doing some other writing, I figured I would release an important section in the second book and get people's thoughts on it.  Note that this was written in 2003.  Here it is: 

I had to throw this section in, because it came from several conversations with friends over the course of about a month.  It came from different angles and allowed me to look at past and current relationships, as well as possibly what to look for in future relationships.  It gave me a better glimpse of what went wrong in the past and for what reasons.  And in that, actually allowed me to look at every relationship that has ended in a different light.  Take note of the fact that I did not say “failed” relationship, but just that they ended.  In life, not every relationship is supposed to be around forever, just as it is rare that you go to work for a company when you leave college or high school, and then stay there until you are at the age of retirement.  That’s just life.

What I am talking about, and what I think is the basis of a good foundation to a lasting relationship is that of emotional faith: trust, truth, honesty, support and confidence based upon the acceptance and understanding of each person’s visions and goals.

Okay, I know that is one hell of a whopper for you, but let me slowly start to break it down and piece it all back together.  Mind you, that while I am doing this, I am somewhat biased to my own state of affairs; the risk taker who believes in building an empire while starting out with very little.  The maverick; the rogue; the mustang.  The guy who can’t fit into the normal system not just simply because it doesn’t suit him, but the conventional system will not accept him anyway because of his independence and ability to cross fences, jump hurdles, sidestep catastrophes and always be the biblical David slaying some encumbered behemoth of a Goliath.  Okay, maybe I am building it up a little, but damn it, I am the author.  Laugh dammit.

It all started with this:  A good friend asked me do I think that women settle for men that are beneath them simply to have a man in their life.  My answer was a resounding yes.  No one wants to be lonely, and of the two sexes, women definitely dominate the demographics of settling for less.  I can still remember my buddy Tyrone saying to never underestimate the generosity of a woman.  It’s true; we all know cases when we look at women and wonder why the hell are they with the guy that they are with.  It always isn’t an issue of the sex, is it?

But therein lies the problem.  I believe that to make it, people don’t necessarily need to have exactly the same goals and visions, but at least be accepting and supporting of the goals and visions of their partner.  Yes, you do have cases in which the goals and visions are headed in two separate places, but as long as they don’t conflict with each other that might not be a problem.  Not every has big goals either; some people are content with working a “regular” job, having a house or an apartment, a car, and taking the daily happiness that life has to offer.  And then, your partner might not be able to help you in all the ways that you need to achieve your goals, so what does that leave?

Well, I believe that the answer comes down to that concept of emotional faith.  I know that I am putting many different components into that term, but I believe that is truly the key.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if a person is the same as you mentally, financially, physically, etc.  What matters might be how they make you feel in spirit, and what they bring to the table.  How many of you have dealt with a partner who has emotional insecurities?  You know how much stress and drama that that can bring to a relationship.  We all have baggage and it is only a person who is “unconscious” (word for the day, which means that they lack consciousness in some areas) who believes that they bring none of that to the table.

Emotional faith entails the concepts of truly believing in that person and offering them what you can from the heart and soul, and nothing else.  However you manifest it is up to you, but you know when someone is really in your corner and also when they are not.  But let me give you a little corollary to that, or really an exception.  We all are not going to understand the visions of others, or even be able to picture them achieving all of their goals.  Everyone has goals and dreams, and not everyone has the talent, the drive, the urge, or the complete package to pull it together.  That is life.  Just because you can sing your ass off doesn’t mean that you are the material to be the next big thing in music.  Just because you can play ball like no one else in the NBA doesn’t mean that you’ll be the next Jordan.  Life is not filled with simple equations, but a lot of paths that can be traveled with a lot of obstacles along the way. 

Additionally, along with the concept of vision is also the issue of goals.  Goals and vision are not the same concept, nor are they so far removed from each other.  Goals might take the form of steps to achieve a certain vision, or just things that a person wants to have attained or accomplished.  Goals might be something on the order of just having visited so many countries, or the desire to go on vacation each year to the same area.  A goal can something like wanting to get a master’s degree, or having a room in the house that is totally color coordinated.  The basic array of goals for men and women tend to be split along well-defined areas, and in that it is normally pretty easy to help the other person meet their goals, at least the ones that require no great output of anything more than some cash and maybe some elbow grease.

Now let’s throw in vision.  Vision is more or less the understanding and imagining of a path that allows for a future that leads to other things.  The execution of vision can allow goals to be attained and acquired, but will also allow for continuity and advancement.  Very few people have vision, while a lot of people have dreams, wants and desires.  A goal might be the desire to purchase a million dollar home.  Vision would look forward and not only seek to attain that home, but also to facilitate the mechanisms to maintain having it for as long as the desire is to occupy it.  A goal might be to have a job or a career, but vision might involve wanting to own your own company, if not multiple ones.

If you take a look at entrepreneurs, you’ll find that the most successful of them disdain being in a basic corporate environment.  You can also easily see the difference between vision and goals in employees and the types of jobs they seek out.  Sales is one of those areas where the most successful people have no umbrella, they work entirely on commission.  While they might not be their own entity, they have a vision that takes them far and allows them to achieve their goals.

Now, this is where we have the breakdown factor.  The Bible has a verse in it regarding yoking uneven oxen, and somewhere in that passage we can surmise and liken the issue of matching up people who have visions and goals.  Take one of vision and one of goals, and depending upon the details of each, we can easily analyze what the end results will be in most cases.  Not all relationships last, and some relationships change dynamics as time goes on, or shall I say that the feelings of the people in those relationships change over time.  If one person had vision, and another person had goals, and if there was a lack of emotional faith between the two of them, then what they have is a shell, and an empty shell at that.

Here is where I look at me… I have vision, always have, and always will.  Some people I dated had it, and most did not, but they all had goals.  For some, depending where they were in life, their goals were well defined.  To me, they were irrelevant  because what I want and was planning was so much more.  I have been able to not pay attention to certain areas of cosmetics in my life simply because my mind was focused on steps in the bigger picture.  This is not to say that I dress(ed) shabbily, or didn’t take care of myself, because that is quite the opposite.  For me, it manifested in my not really working about always repainting a room, hanging drapes and/or curtains, or stripping down woodwork to its natural finish.  I could not care less about yard work or whether I had grass in my front patch; my answer was to just throw some weed-killer on the whole thing and keep on going.  The car is a means to get around, not some baby that needs to be washed and detailed every other week.  Besides focusing on business, learning more, and upping my skill sets, the only other focused time was in the gym; not to look good but to be physically effective at whatever I set out at.

Now, how does this affect my relationships you ask?  Well, being that most of the women that I dated were older, depending upon what they have achieved in life, their issues might creep in enough for the relationship to develop cracks and fissures.  Some women are looking for a man who is going to walk into their house, and their heart, and start to act like they are their husband and as second nature start to attend to the chores around their house.  Depending upon where the man’s mind is (getting back to goals and visions), some of those things might be the furthest from their mind.  For me, I will gladly say that I do not automatically assume that role of “pseudo-hubby” and have dropped the ball more than once in this regard.  However, I have said that if one needs some help in that area, just ask.

Their goals might be to plant some flowers out in the front, or in the back, while I might be thinking about programming a web portal that could allow me to not have to work for the better part of a year or two.

Their goal might be to just bring up their property value by making home improvements and also looking at the resale value of their car.  My vision might be to facilitate business along several areas that will allow me to purchase the house that I want and have all of its bills taken care of for the next three years.  And in regards to the car, well I will dog this one and then purchase a better one once I have made that first good deal.  They might want to dine out every week and go to the movies; I might be comfortable with renting some DVDs and watching movies on my home entertainment system in my bedroom.  They might want to go on vacation, and I might look at the possibility of losing several thousand dollars worth of billing clients.

This starts to get to the point of emotional confidence and support all over again, but much more on the issue of confidence.  That person has to be confident in your vision, and seek to understand what it is that you are thinking and accept it for the good points and the bad.  And they have to understand that it will take awhile before your life gets to the point where you can easily take time off and just do something “normal.”  That seems to be the funniest dilemma I get in with women; they are cool when you are spending time with them and money on them, but let them not get to see you because you are working your butt off and that you might have to conserve money for awhile and the dragon rears its ugly head.  I once officially started a monogamous committed relationship only to be able to see the person once a week because I had so much stuff to work on for a client and had bills to be paid.  We lived about an hour apart and had two different schedules; if I spent time with her at her place, then I was losing precious time programming for the client in the commute and acquiescing to her schedule.  Not that I didn’t mind spending time with her; I loved it.  However, I had my own house, car and bills to worry about which no one but myself was going to take care of.

I think that right here I should state that sometimes the responsibilities and demands that accompany vision can be overlooked and not understood by the other person in the relationship.  That is not to say that goals also don’t carry them same demands and responsibilities, nor that basic life doesn’t carry them also.  I have to mention for the benefit of all the single mothers that the men who date them don’t always realize that her kids come first, and that spending time with them is more important than spending it with a man.

This all deals with the issue of understanding the vision of your partner, which is the most important component of emotional faith.

Conversely, sometimes part of being emotionally faithful is being honest with someone who doesn’t want to hear the truth.  If you care about someone, you owe it to them to be honest with them. If you don’t understand their vision, then try to learn what you can to better understand their potential to live up to their dream and achieve their goals. Once you understand their vision, then you can asses their odds of achieving it.  This is your judgment and it might be right, or it might be wrong, but it is yours to make.  Not making an assessment is more detrimental to the relationship and really lets the other person know how much you actually consider, or respect, their goals and vision.

Now I want to get back to the issue of women settling just to have a man in their life.  This is my book and I can choose to vent where and when I want to, and of course some people may rebuff me on my venting, but that’s cool too.  What peeves me is the women who put their emotional faith behind a man with no vision and only mediocre goals.  It’s true that you can only lead a horse to water, but I mean there are people who might get it and be inspired, and people who will never get it.  Now this is not to misjudge anyone, nor underestimate someone’s potential; I think that we all have potential, but to be able to manifest it kinetically is another thing entirely.  It usually takes someone believing in another to get that second person to flower and bloom; the hard part is finding the person that can get that out of a person.  Then, we also have to come to grips with the fact that some people just will never do certain things barring an act of God.

But I am talking about those women who invested themselves and more behind those men who didn’t have a vision, if they ever had any goals at all.  Am I upset?  Hell, yes.  Don’t think I would not love to come across someone who could help me realize my dream; someone who could bridge the gaps in making the connections that I have not made yet.  Hey, I would love to live the life of either lead character in the movie Cocktail; one winds up a boy-toy to a wealthy woman, the other married to one.  Ladies… men have fantasies too, just my luck that I am not attracted to the women who come across my path , or it’s the wrong time and the wrong place.  Women, if you are going to back someone, back someone with the drive, the passion and the forethought to go and learn that what they don’t know, and think and act outside of the box.  I remember Jay-Z’s Song Cry in which he talked about that woman who backed him when his program wasn’t in the best straights, financially. What’s he worth today?

And sometimes, it’s not even about that.  Sometimes, you just need that person who spurs you on to bigger and better things and lets you know that you are on the path and that they believe in you.  She might just be the woman to come over with a six-pack of beer, a bottle of Chardonnay, a big bag of Swedish fish candy and give you a back massage.  She knows I am talking about her.  She might be the woman to come over with three bottles of wine, and you watch a movie and provide your own other more stimulating forms of entertainment.  She knows I am talking about her.

She might just take you out for some quick drinks and a nibble to eat to cheer you up.  She knows I am talking about her.

Oh, this section comes from many parts of my heart.  For me, I had finally met someone who moved my heart in so many ways it was ridiculous, and my life started to fall apart.  Besides that, not only did we have some areas of conflict within our own dynamics, but I did not know how to overcome those things, or shall I say change the dynamics.  Hey, I remember a question into my goals that turned into a huge blown out argument on Christmas; if I could’ve only had the time to show her the other side of the question that she asked (and yes dear, it was something that involved learning the major points of, because the question was truly ambivalent to many things – this is a note to her).

As I said before, I will put myself out there, because someone has to lead by example, or at least let others learn from them.  In this, I am an emotional cadaver; pick me apart and learn what you can doctor.

Back to the issue of emotional faith; it involves not only being honest with someone, but also truly coming to understand their dreams, goals and desires.  It’s one of those things where it’s not just about you anymore, but it’s about the two of you.  It’s where you make a stand and honestly give one hundred percent.  It might be just your heart, it might be more.  You might hold some things in reserve, but as long as you give your heart and are honest with what you can and can’t do, what you will and won’t do, then you have laid the groundwork for a good relationship.  If that is less than the person can accept, then hey, you tried.

Yes, I have fucked up my credit rating by taking a gamble on someone, and I know that many sisters have done the same for a ton of brothers.  In my case, the money wasn’t the issue, after loading up some of my credit cards the IT bubble burst and I was without a job; so it wasn’t her fault.  Hey, but I was at least willing to gamble on that person because I had the vision to see where and how she could succeed with that talent that they had, despite what they didn’t have.

Emotional faith involves truth, trust, honesty, support and confidence in your partner.  You know if you ever take a typing test there is a sentence that talks about how Mark Twain said something in regards to how a compliment can fuel him for two weeks.  We all hear so much bullshit lip service, but to have someone really be there for you and give you words of support;, words that will spur you on, words that uplift you when you are down is what’s important.

It involves trust that the other person is there for you, and would never do anything to intentionally  hurt you.  They are not going to cheat on you no matter what comes their way; and if someone cheated on you in the past you have to be open and honest to understand why they did it and that this person is totally different from them. 

Emotional faith also involves understanding the goals and visions of your partner and being honest with them about their limitations when they don’t see it for themselves.  Being that truthful consists of being confident of the relationship that you have and their acceptance of the level of intimacy, emotional intimacy that you share together.  But sometimes for that to happen, your partner has to have the same background and experiences as you, because then they can easily relate to you.

And in the case that the person has had emotional faith in someone before you, and it didn’t work out as planned, then they still need to be open to giving you 100 percent of their emotional faith.  You are someone different, and if they can’t give that, then what do they really expect from a relationship with you anyway?

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