No, Rihanna is not responsible for your child

With the recent social media mosh pit over Chris Brown and Rihanna’s rekindling, at least for music’s sake, i’ve seen the word “responsibility” thrown around all willy-nilly. It has been said that she is not upholding her responsibility to her impressionable young fans. Ummm. Wait. What!? Since when did releasing music come with the caveat that someone must now be given extraneous responsibilities? Ahh, probably when Americans began to blame others for their faulty parenting.

Every human being is responsible for, in order: self, child, family. That’s it. Now, if you want to rebuttal with, you’re not a parent or else you’d know children come first, well, you’re mistaken. If you’re dead or thoroughly maimed or otherwise incapacitated, you cannot take care of your children. So, once again, self trumps all in priority, followed by children being as close to self as possible. Family can be extended or curtailed to include or exclude close friends, adopted nieces and nephews, etc. With that said, can we stop passing the buck here? Please, America? Please, parents?

From Charlie Sheen to Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and Tim Tebow, Rihanna and Chris Brown, they are not responsible for nor have any obligation to your children. None. But, you know who does? Yes, you.

Of course your children are impressionable—they’re the sponges of the world. Yes, they gawk at these pretty and zany folks on their TV screens, in the palm of their smartphones, or strewn across check-out aisle stands—but, these persons granted celebrity owe you nothing, nothing more than their artistry (or what passes for artistry these days).

If your child does something that is “unfit,” it is your duty to them to either scold, teach, coddle, ignore, or do really whatever you choose. Whether you birthed or adopted them, you chose to raise them, so it’s your responsibility. It must also be known that you cannot control your child’s (once they reach a certain age, at least) every action, every thought. They will decide to do things, they will test boundaries, will see what works for them and what doesn’t, what they like and abhor. Monitor them.

All throughout the media, from journalists to bloggers and other such writers and whatnot, there’s been a passing of the blame onto celebrities, quasi-celebs, athletes, musicians and artists of all walks by utilizing “obligation” and “responsibility.” That needs to stop. Don’t pass the blame onto the artists; they’ve never met your kids, they’ve no interaction with them, and most importantly, they’ve already fulfilled their obligation: creative trinkets and entertainment.

Back to Rihanna, i’m reiterating this: she is not responsible for anything regarding your kids. Nothing. She is an individual, an artist. She did not conceive your child, did not carry your kid, did not push your child out of her womb, did not name your child, does not pay for your child’s food or clothing or shelter. You know what she does? She entertains; she may inspire, too, with her lyrics, or even get the child through a bad day somehow. That’s what artists of all generations, for decades, do and have done. Rihanna is NOT responsible for anything regarding your offspring’s well-being or upbringing. She may be an influence on how said child dances or dresses or sings or how to be an independent-thinking woman in this continuing sea of clones, fighting off the marauding patriarchal pirates, but even through all of that, she is NOT responsible for the kid. You are. When you purchase that album or single, there’s a contract: Rihanna provides music, entertainment. There are no hidden clauses stating, “Rihanna must act like a Puritan woman, unable to make her own choices, cannot wear what she wants, if anything at all, cannot date whom she sees fit, tattoo whatever body part, etc.”

Folks have been all in a tizzy calling for Rihanna’s head because she is not embracing being made the living martyr of domestic violence. It is not her responsibility to do that. Sure, it would be a boon to the awareness of domestic violence for Rihanna to be more outspoken about what occurred three years ago inside that Lambourghini with (ex) beau Chris Brown. Yet, she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to, and shouldn’t be chastised or pressured into doing such. Holy shit. Someone doesn’t want to fall into the collective trappings and pressure of the world. Please forgive her insubordinance. She wants to live her life how she sees fit; whether that is in personal dealings or business dealings, is her choice.

I’ve questioned why she would want to get back with Brown, why would she release a single with him, but that’s all it is, pure curiosity. I’d love to know what is making her tick, how she came about that decision. But, at the end and the beginning of every single day, it is and always will come down to individual, personal choice—all hinges upon personal responsibility and wants. I will never disrespect someone by denying them their ability to utilize that right of free will.

We only see the public personas of both Brown and Miss Fenty, only what they allow us to see. Whatever happens behind closed doors or on untapped phone calls or direct messages we’re not privy to, so let’s give both of the young twenty-somethings the benefit of the doubt—they may be on to something regarding love and forgiveness for themselves. They are not here as the whole world’s personal Sims, moved around here and there as we see fit, as if we’re trying to rectify some failing in our own lives. I guess it’s why we hang on celebrities’ every movement, spending oodles of time and support through money for these “reality” shows, isn’t it? Want to see if maybe we can learn something from them, hoping they don’t make the same mistakes we did/do—or, maybe we do want them to. We are a people that fostered the Saw franchise after all.

Rihanna is far from the first artist to be involuntarily tagged with this “role model” label, and i’m sure she will not be the last. During the early 90s we witnessed the stomping of hip hop records, ill-conceived effigy for violence in the inner-cities of America. Remember the tragedy of Columbine? Media and politicians brewed up a nasty gumbo consisting of videogames and Marilyn Manson. Ridiculous. Now, if President Obama or the First Lady did something unbecoming of America’s highest couple, the world would rightfully thumb their noses at us, and our citizens would have a right to be incredulous. The Obamas represent our country, have agreed to said responsibilities.

All i ask is for people to discontinue the shifting of what’s on their plates to others, especially when the others have no horse in those races.

marriage, oh boy; or is it, oh girl? ::shrugs::

It’s funny the way life works: growing up i learned about marriage through broken relationships, innumerable constant failed attempts—one after another—with every pairing i witnessed my family’s and friends’ of the family, and not to downplay the backdrop of the vast populace around me, or on the tube or covering magazines or spread eagle on billboards, attempts at society’s golden hallmark when it comes to courting and pairing up, procreating and rearing. The participating folks never hesitated to think about what their actions, what their example would do/still does in the eyes of the to-come or the babies growing, following footsteps laid in sand turned to concrete or dirt to asphalt. Shit was—is!—a shitshow.

Married for maybe two years, separated (legally is the right adjective i think) for the duration of my child- to adulthood, my parents never were a shining example of this institution called marriage, the sanctified vow under and in the eyes of “God.” Only my maternal grandmother existed as a testament, yet, i never knew how much stock to put into it for my grandfather, her husband, was no longer with this world as of two years prior to my knocking on the door with his name tagged to my premature chest. It warms my heart to believe they would have remained together for ever and ever, but i’ll never know.

An oft-uttered resentment grumbled by my mother for my father’s sister and husband, derailed my embracing and looking for inspiration in their marriage, something close to home to understand it possible, this marriage thing—a healthy one, at least.

A family friend example, a Black love couple: years and years together, house and home built (well, bought), children reared, yet, through the channel of going it alone—my brother, mother, and i—it was difficult to see a true connection for i never understood how to disconnect from only self to connect with others. Life is confusing with what it throws at you. Difficult to distinguish between the chaff and the wheat at times.

With each celebrity couple calling it quits these days, the surgically perfected face of marriage shows a new wrinkle, a hidden dent unmasked. Our desires to live off and through these larger-than-life figures losses its luster. The magical couplings being derailed are microcosmic of what every-day folks go through, except more and more hope is being lost and reality is setting in. These so-called paragons of perfection are mythical. As we fortunately become a more secular society (and hopefully it’s not a facade), the already loosening seams are having their  threads of religious marriage ripped apart. There’s an awakening that marriage needs to evolve, to adapt to true goings on in the world.

Polyamorous, the new buzzword of the day (yes, it’s a real word, old as dirt, but now it’s en vogue) is what humans are supposed to practice—i’m not a denier of that. Yet, when it comes to that innate practice, i believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, i will have my cake and eat it too when i’m single, but like i said earlier, when i get into a relationship i don’t take it lightly—it’s for a reason, usually very good reasons, because i can pretty much, as i told my mother a few months ago after coming home a tad bit inebriated, i can get any woman i desire, usually. They seem to like me for whatever reason(s). So, as i was saying, when i put my sights on someone, if i believe they are the one for me, they are “worth” being in a monogamous coupling, i’ll do it, or be open to such as long as they’re willing, too. Mutual acceptance and comfort.

I’ve realized, i’ve embraced, i’ve come to terms with really, being jealous in some situations. It’s only natural. I can’t deny human make-up. It’s a futile endeavor at best. I cannot fathom being able to share someone if we’re “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” However, if we’re just seeing each other, fuckin’ around, “dating,” friends with benefits, fuck buddies, whatever the heck is the cool term to use these days, then sure, so be it—have fun, do what you/we want. Yet, even then, it’s still difficult—here come those feelings of jealousy again, of “territory” trespassing sneaking in.

Now older, approaching the societal “down hill from here” limit of three decades lived—surviving, really—has my thoughts again unsure of how to feel. With each relationship, and i don’t get into them lightly, i hope for the one, for that sure sign that i’ll be ready, willing to settle down, to spend the rest of my days with the right woman. It’s honestly harrowing. I don’t believe in absolutes, so the prospect of marriage is off-putting a little. But at the same time, it’s traditional, it’s instilled at a young age and paraded around from birth to death, so it has some learned and accepted value.

Life should be a constant “working through,” a continuous series of progression and regression, attempting new and retrying older things to see what works in a given situation. As of right now, i’m growing in a sense of understanding where i stand, and with that growth i’m taking in all types of information and varying opinions and viewpoints from all angles and people (muses, friends and lovers–oh, and others!).

All i do know for sure: i do believe marriage can work, i want it to, i have faith and hope in it, yet with most things, nothing’s predictable, and when it comes to relationships, it comes down to acceptance, to a modicum of compromise, as well as a steady stream of truthful communication.

 

of muses, of lovers, friends and others

In case yet said

along parchment rooftops cursive

or ruled awnings bold:

 

Women are God’s gifts laid

upon Earth’s mantled soul.

Born in whispers

A muse is more

than mere influences.

 

Existing in a word

Living off sentences

Birthing paragraphs silent

Raising chapters alone

Destroyer of books

Standing atop volumes

Queen of sounds

Empress of visions

Goddess of gods

Breaker of hearts.

She is

The ultimate lover.

~m.j

 

Conceived as prose, transformed into verse, the above consciousness streamed via pen dripping sloppily jotted chicken scratch soon becoming livelihoods, usually uttered using different words over libations to best friends female—my internal love glowing in need of a release vocal—they’d answer simply, “We know,” served gratefully with a smile.

Mayer scribed, “Friends, Lovers or Nothing,” and i shall craft: “Friends, Muses or Lovers.”

Not all muses are lovers, nor are all lovers muses, and rarely do either become friends, but the possibility of a friend becoming either of the former is lesser still. Even then, though, there can exist hybrids; those muses that are lovers and become friends. Nothing exists in absolute terms, of course—well, save for change (this is my mantra!).

Muses are born instantly—in a whisper. The spark of inspiration, of energy, of an emotion, of an impulse to create or to destroy, is not something grown or conceived—there is no planting of a seed, no gestation period. It is instantaneous. The first glance towards, eyes meeting, the first lambent touch of fingers, the electric charge felt, a stirring, an arousal—a flash uncanny, not limited to the flesh.

Muses exist as lightning rods, as portals into windows of souls darkly lit. Muses are finger pricks, blood trickling catharsis. Muses are jazz sonnets performed, composed on the spot—heard even by the deaf.

Muses are desired, yearned for; they’re addicting, drug like. And, as such, may flutter away at first snore. Drink their already-sieved juices, quaffing without regard to spillage, each drip potent enough to allow some waste.

A lover is serendipitous, kismet, coincidental—rarely planned. One (or many) can come along as a result of a one-night stand or a fortnight courtship. A lover is a companionship, may be a brief two-day rental or years-long occupation, a shared acknowledgement of experience, or a drink of misplacement. Not always profound, but it will leave a mark, only superficial or perhaps indelible, lasting until the turning of the next season, or until the next bag of skin comes around—regardless, the experience and the person will influence later couplings.

The third head of this mortal horse is friends: they can inspire, yes, but becoming one’s muse has to occur right away, upon first physical interaction—something explosive has to ignite. Or, maybe not: once that proverbial line is crossed even years later into carnal lands, senses ignited, something clicks, it just works out that way. There is a risk, however: Mr. Songz, Trey being his given name, sings “Can’t Be Friends,” giving heed to the situation of friends crossing that line and never able to return to platonic lands, indefinite deportation.

Can one have a lasting relationship with either of these three? Sure. Why not? Yet, as with all things in the realm of love, of desire, it must be made clear your interests, and not to the significant other, not at first, but to yourself before embarking on that path of commitment. Determine own state of mind, own status of heart, then relay that to her/him and go from there. Or don’t.

Lovers have been useful, been great help with me working issues out. Though, many times, such help was never explicitly asked for nor hinted at. Only told sometimes after salved wound or problem fixed had already occurred. (Or drunkenly.) It seems if looked at superficially, i retain relationships with previous women after some time—a unique type of friendship develops. We know each other in Biblical terms, in Platonic terms, curating a relationship gallery of stickered labels.

In Mayer’s absolutes, it’s understandable: attachment can lead to pain, to unrest, to actions and emotions not worth the pleasures; it’s better to evade outstretched fingers, to escape, to tie one’s self to lamp posts, ears filled with wax, than play daredevil with life, attempting heroic feats of love. It’s all a choice. The one thing we all possess, just more options than others.

Life is a gumbo—for me, without shrimp or i’ll die—edible, with bits and ingredients delectable, some saline, others sweet, altogether scrumptious, nutritious, possibly not enough. With each type of muse, of each lover and friend, each becomes its own other, there isn’t anything cookie cutter, really, when inspected, only a shadowy mirage from afar.

Put on your specs, pull out your notepad and ruler, little hammer and chisel, be ready to learn a little, to teach some yourself—we’re each an ingredient to someone’s gumbo.

Neither confession nor indictment

I want this to be neither confession nor indictment but more of a review, maybe a prospectus.

So, 2011 was a tempest of a year for me. Fitting, I guess, that “tempest” has been used to describe me by a person whose life i may have inadvertently thrown for a loop; though it would be an echoed action since they had torn up mine, my head, lashed out and scarred my heart years prior. However, i’m not truly one for revenge, even if incidental.

Anyway, after the ravaging typhoon remark, i began to think and see myself more as an innocuous plague: i understand i can wreck havoc and mass effect upon a given sector or prospect—read: women—with relative ease, and with little wont nor worry. I will get and do whatever i want. It’s really that simple—i am a grown ass precocious child, understanding i can obtain whatever i fancy, and not giving a damn what it costs nor the effects. It’s ridiculous, really, since (i believe) i’m such a giving and caring, a sensitive and aware person. Ahh, i chalk it up to the intricacies, the paradoxical and ironic nature of being a Gemini as skin covering the skeleton as Cancer—i should call myself a walking astrological triptych, if i were to be so forcefully artistic or, gasp, poetic.

Several weeks ago it was brought to my explicit attention that i’m an “intense” individual. Bugged out because i never pegged myself as one—at least not in such a direct manner, as if i was the crazed blond fiance in Wedding Crashers, but without the malice. Remarks from a loved one, from a lover (a muse), from a reflection, always pierce the deepest, cover the warmest and secure.

I’m well aware of my seriousness—it may seem odd to outsiders who’ve only seen me in social settings, the jovial me, or the rambunctious side, but it’s more of who i am than anything. I wrote a poem a few years ago (it might be on Facebook, not too sure, but it will be in dust) where i concede, “Even when happy / my constant mood is pensive.” There exists at the basis of my thoughts and all my actions, a desire to know what it all means, what makes it or something important—why being the driving force. Everything i experience, taste, smell, every person i meet, every conversation i have, i look a la Sylar for how it can help me, what i can gain from it, what its or his/her use is.

For me, i’ve found so much solace, a veritable crutch and enabler, an inticer in the form of Liquid Jesus—for Kravitz, that would mean “love,” which has a fitting side, too, in all this. I’ve many unpublished posts and written notes on my romance, marriage, and constant separation/possible divorce with alcohol. It’s the gift that keeps on giving—and taking. Crazy, though, i’d parallel love and alcohol, intertwining them in a twisted tango of sorts.

This shield i’ve placed on the shelf for 2012. So far for the whole of January it has collected dust—our everlasting marker of history: dead skin cells, hair follicles, matter. My contact lenses have been able to dry off from the alcoholic solution, gazers again without hazy distortion. It’s allowed me to focus on myself, my mental, more than carnal pleasures and desires, no thrill seeking.

The human psyche has layers, i believe, sorta like the make-up of the skin. The epidermis is the facade, is the outter mask, the distraction that is shown to the unpiercing eyes of the world—even if that reflected vision be off mirrors or tempered waters. Some will show the secondary and tertiary levels with relative ease, possibly at the same time as the primary, but others, most of us, will take some slashing and gash-inducing to peer below into the depths. That is—unless alcohol (and possibly other toxins) is introduced.

The lurking monster residing in each of us is not unlike that of our favorite serial killing Dexter: he is boxing with shadows in each episodes, both his own and those of his victims and loved ones. It is the mental battle waged (and won) that is hardest of all. Without the mind being in tow, all bets surely are off regarding the outcome of life physically. Each of us has a monster breathing heavily or as a whisper, yet the strength of each is similar: unknown. Some of us learn early to keep it tamed, or to maintain it under toe and key, but many of us—and i take liberties with believing i’m well-versed in the wild things under our beds, skin and residing within—are simply afraid to acknowledge their existence, to truly know what is awaiting our first misstep or mishap.

No longer afraid, and not totally angry at the moment, but more aware with a greater sense of clarity about me and a possible future, i’m heeding my tattoos, “procrastinate tomorrow; live for today,” by writing daily, sticking to budgets, shunning cigarettes and alcohol, ingesting copious (not really) amounts of caffeine, and manifesting my vision board.

The past few months i’ve been around too many link-minded people, by that i mean those who want to be great, and who are taking that ambition and doing something about it. It’s inspiring. Being the utmost competitor, even if this is not a race nor a sport or game, i will see it as such. I have too many skills, too high of an intellect, and other assorted “things going for me” to squander them—or, truthfully, to allow peers to reach heights possible for me, but i didn’t, i refused to, or was plum lazy.

That lingering fear i talked about is stronger than ever—but now i’m unchaining it, unafraid it will consume me, instead it will be my hybrid against all foes, namely the vampiric partier. I’ve built more than enough frat boy, social butterfly, “man whore” equity to fight off inquiring attacks of why and surprised wows. Now it’s time to establish a strong intellectual credit base, constructing ground-up scholarly and didactic complexes and parks.

It’s the first day of our wonderful slice of American pie, Black History Month—a leap year, too, meaning one extra day of Black goodness!—so i’m invoking my ancestors for some galvanized resolve in looking at the world around me, at my self, and understanding where i stand at the moment—is this a plateau or a springboard?—with hopes of adding to the world this time around.

 

friends are good

Coinciding with a recent discontinuation of intimacy, i’ve been embracing and uncovering the need for close friends.

A great convo the last week w/ my good, good friend @StephSwinton (kickass birthday gathering!), nudged me through the blogging door for this post.

During our exchange, i remarked to her my realization that friends aren’t a bad thing. That opening up is something i’ve needed to learn to do. True opening up. Not the mirage i’ve done for years. The tactics i’ve employed have been impressive. I know how to give enough to get a lot from others. I exude confidence, an air, that everything is always wonderful. And, it’s never that way, totally.

It’s not a total ruse, however. Don’t want to mislead. I don’t lie (usually lol). I just know how to placate people’s interest, to give just enough to keep people in tune w/ the radio show of macario.james. But, i rarely delve into anything more than 4 feet of the soul ocean. I can’t swim, so that’s fitting, actually. Poetic even, i’d say. Ha.

If you’ve read some posts, you know how i feel about dependence—independence is my modus operandi. Sure, i prefer people to cook me food (convenience) or drive me places (public transportation), but it’s all through an exchange of medium—gotta love the bartering system we employ; the monetary construct is a wondrous thing.

I don’t do well w/ the attachment, w/ the “i miss you” facet of life. I’ve alluded to it in past posts, but a lot stems from childhood (yay to psychology! lol) and learning to cope w/ the absence of loved ones; i don’t let myself become vitally attached to anyone or anything out of personal protection. I don’t want to be hurt (not that anyone does, well, besides masochists lol). It can and will be seen as a life lacking much substance or “true,” deep relationships, but it has worked for me. Everything is relative and on an individual, personal basis, of course.

Within the past, maybe, month i’ve been learning to understand what it means to be open w/ people on an intimate, platonic level. To expose myself. To self-striate. To show wounds. To be available for latching on. It’s been a long, hard fought war for most of my life. I’ve been stunted emotionally for years; it’s been the onus of several failed relationships: i’ve been misguided at times and not straightforwardly communicable.

It takes hardship, unfortunately, to embrace change—a veritable kickstarter to what’s necessary. I’m proud of myself to be able to say that i love my friends, and i want to continue to rely on them for things in my life. I’m learning to be transparent and open—attributes i applaud and love in others (see: Nikki Giovanni and Ev’Yan).

I realized more how much being close to people is important when earlier this week i saw my little brother for the first time in about a month at his job. He’s going to be 23 come May—i remember taking him out for his 21st; we had a smashing good time (yes, i love British vernacular in case you’ve’nt (i made that up lol) noticed lol, as well as orthography).

Even my own chapter bros. (@KrownRoyaleNY and @DeuceCameo), w/ whom i’ve spent the greatest amount of time over the years, heck, we lived together for about four months back in ’07, don’t know all the intricacies of me. Everyone knows that things i do or the way i am is “just Mac” or that i’m “crazy” (which, coincidentally, i have tattooed on my neck lol).

Over the past year or so, my dude @Nigelb2 has become one of my best friends; i’m Obi-Wan, he’s Anakin lol. I’ve gotten closer to The Goose! (@Japanesegoose) in recent months, too. Combined, we’ve formed a quasi triumvirate of debauchery, life experience insightfulness and kickassness. I’m looking forward to our clique’s still-in-the-works Japan trip come December. We out! We’re gonna definitely “do it live!” Lol.

The random, impromptu dialectic The Goose, a freshman female student, and i had a couple of days ago regarding marriage, name-taking, eternal monogamy, and mortality was interesting (my favorite word, ever) and full of unique perspectives.

I’ve continued to build a relationship w/ my homegirls @Mikaflyymommy (one of my best, best friends; always holds me down and is there for me to vent or just be a living chronicle of my exploits) and @Wittykitty5, who i’ve known for about seven years, but in the past three or so years, we’ve definitely grown as friends.

The inner sanctums of my mind and heart, as well as my domestic abode, have always been off-limits, open to only a select few (save for a party regarding the latter). It’s weird to have people at my house. Since a kid, rarely did my friends come over—i always ventured to theirs. Not too sure what it is, but i have a sinking feeling that it has something to do with the Zodiac affect: i am a Cancer w/ protean Gemini traits (i’m on the arbitrary cusp), so the home-based Crab is tormented and put into a tizzy by the dueling, mischievous, mercurial Twins.

With that said, my boy @Pino44 came by the crib to discuss redesigning his blog. He’s a zany autodidactic proponent, too, who put me on to this insightful and awesome book, Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar. After our road trip to Arizona w/ @ChadJMarchong in ’07, we haven’t really chilled or anything, but we’re working on that. One of my ancestral homelands, The Philippines, i’ll finally visit next February w/ Pino, whose going on his annual jaunt and invited me. We out!

Last week, The Goose along w/ his boy, after we were hit with a “there’s a party on Bedford” swindle, also came by. Everyone seems to be in agreement that i have a “nice” pad, even if i just see it as a small basement apartment lol. The showing of my crib is like a reading of my poetry or other writings: i’m apprehensive until it’s done, well, unless i receive negative feedback lol, then i may not be so open. That’s w/ everyone, though.

I’m probably afraid on some level of having the internal made known, peering past the external hubris, not having the luxury of my chosen words to deflect: everything in my house is there on display. Maybe, i fear others to know my greatness. Lol. Can’t bring them to the Bat Cave. Who knows. ::shrugs::.

Now that the baby steps have been taken, the next step is to act on a the suggestion by Nigel”s girlfriend for me to host some future pre-gaming festivities. I’m down, although there’s only a room w/ a computer chair and a bean bag lol. It’ll have to be BYOBAC (bring your own beer and chair) lol.

I must embrace the only true absolutism: change. Nothing remains the same forever, and it’s either be organic or dynamic, and never staid or static.

When i can’t figure out what to write next or how to arrange words, it’s usually a sure sign i should end a post. Verbose drivel should be cut short (but, then it wouldn’t be verbose lol).

So, yeah, w/ that said, i think i’m out.

Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate it.

Enjoy the weekend.

Peace.

P.S. Oh, and you might have noticed the use of “w/” and “w/o” and other shortened words; it’s what i use in my poetry, so i believe it’s only write (intentional lol) i do it here, too.

marriage name-taking: a patriarchal anachronism

Several weeks ago, during a Twitter conversation with a group of friends, we discussed the traditional practice of a woman taking their husband’s last name after marriage. It was asked if i was for or against name hyphenation–a growing practice by woman upon marriage over the past three decades.

Of course, i answered i was all for hyphenation.

My response wasn’t surprising to anyone because “of the way you are,” but people weren’t prepared to hear that i am an advocate of not just hyphenation by the woman, but by the man as well. I believe both parties involved (and this is for same sex marriages, too, as all humans should be allowed equal rights and privileges) should combine their last names or keep their own names.

I am not for the continued patriarchal tradition of the man being the implicit “head of household,” of us being presumed dominant over a woman.

Throughout many articles i’ve read on this subject, there’s one constant: marriage between a man and a woman is a union, and there should be solidarity, tradition, an unwavering act of support.

And, i agree. I am all for tradition and cultural values; but never at the expense of personal liberty or at the extent of continuing to relegate a woman to second fiddle. I don’t buy into the idea that a bride essentially being forced to adopt the groom’s last name, is tantamount to equality and positive tradition.

Broaching a sensitive topic, what about the issue of marriage being reserved for only heterosexual couples? A holdover practice at the hands of religious foundations for many of the empires and nations of the world. Recently, Obama said he is “struggling” with the idea of same-sex marriage. Why?

The systems in which we live and that run our lives are adept at maintaining control and making things difficult for change; there are a ton of (expensive) hoops men must jump through to have their name legally changed once married: forms upon forms to receive new IDs, credit cards, professional licenses, etc. Only seven states allow men to change their names as “seamlessly” as women can once married.

“Women in the late 60s and 70s were very, very conscious of just how much marriage used to destroy a woman’s personhood,” [Stephanie] Coontz told ABCNews.com.

“Until the 1970s most states had head and master laws that said a woman could not keep her own name at marriage,” said Coontz. “And she could only take it back at divorce if she could prove her husband had been at fault.”

The status of woman should be on equal footing to that of man. And, because of the ubiquity, influence and spreading of Abrahamic religious rule—personifying and genderfying the “supreme” Being as a male with “He” and lack of dominant female figures, to say the least—we lack equality between the two main genders, female and male.

Stephanie Coontz from the above quote, is the author of Marriage, A History and a professor at Evergreen State college in Washington. The practices employed were harrowing and continued the systemic mistreatment of individual’s and women’s rights. Ridiculous.

Over the years i’ve had this conversation with several women, and it was usually one surprising to them. They hadn’t given much thought to not changing their names; they accepted it as the way things were. They looked forward to the change; it was like a rebirth, a clean slate.

And at the same time, those who were open and entertained the idea, felt it was odd if they didn’t take their husband’s name. I am not sure if it was for fear of being ostracized or looked at funny or what, but i found it interesting, nonetheless.

As for me, i would love to have a hyphenated name combining mine and my wife’s. In fact, several years ago i was seriously toying with the idea of legally changing my name to include my mother’s maiden name. Why? Because she raised me. I never felt it was fair or representative of my true lineage and upbringing to have my father’s name at the forefront, continuing to dwindle the numbers of my mother’s family name (there are no other male progeny to carry on my maternal grandfather’s name). I decided against it, however, because i realized that my future wife would then “have to” take on a very long name, and if she wanted to keep her maiden name, it would then be a thrice hyphenation. Pretty messy, to say the least.

Akin to many African tribal traditions, i believe names should be truthfully indicative of a family’s history: the offspring should take on both names, to easily identify a family tree. This is something of great importance to me being of predominately dual “racial” ancestry: African American and Filipino. My penname (first and middle names, actually) i use because it is a simplified breakdown of my lineage: macario is foreign; james is traditional, more American. Familiarity and exoticism go a long way.

These are my thoughts on the subject of marriage name-taking. What are yours?

Oh, and for some other interesting ideas, check out this article by Naomi Rockler-Gladen (yes! to hyphenation lol): Should You Change Your Last Name?