Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spelman graduate & I married a #Morehouse Man--the deal

To keep this particular blog short, I will briefly say that Spelman College, an all female HBCU, is not a horrendous school to attend. For many women it is a wonderful experience and knowledge is vast. RARELY will any African American woman have the kind of college education that she could have a Spelman. But as for me, I was not suited to attend Spelman during the time I attended. Spelman lacked mental health resources and support that I suffered when I was in school and the members of the administration broke confidentiality that I unwittingly thought I could keep in confidence. If any lesson can be learned is that if you are a Bipolar African American woman, do not go to Spelman in the 1980's... LOL!

Invariably, since Morehouse College, an all male HBCU, was highly interactive with Spelman. The Spelman-Morehouse connection was close. We got a Morehouse brother in Freshman year. Spelman-Morehouse students often dated each other. Spelman women were in all the Morehouse fashion shows and often won Miss Morehouse, etc. We did have our battle of the sexes and as with all relationships, we had our fights. While I attended Spelman in the mid-late 1980's a lot of couples either got married before graduation or right after graduation. I so much wanted to be one of those women because it is what my parents did while they attended Fisk. Here I was, this hopeless romantic on a dateless night. As I reflect back, bad things were being said about me brought about by my untreated mania and poor behavior. Nevertheless, I lacked self-esteem, I was naive and I allowed myself to be abused, short of domestic violence. In fact, without going into too much detail for this blog, I allowed a boy to rape me and I did nothing because I so fearful of speaking up--I was ignorant. It caused me so much trauma that I needed to go to a psychiatric hospital in Atlanta, alone without familial understanding or support...

Do you blame me that after graduation I decided to swear off all Morehouse men. It was a Morehouse man that diverted my attention from my studies. Yes, I made that decision, but I was also ignorant and believed what this man said versus what I thought. It was a Morehouse man that passed on a sexually transmitted infection right before the day of AIDS in the African American community. It was a Morehouse man that date-raped me causing me to be hospitalized. It was a Morehouse man who dumped me. Oh no, no more Morehouse men living in the Morehouse mystique. For a good two years after graduation, I did not date, period...

I gathered my humiliation, distrust and hate of what I went through and built upon my knowledge. It was the reason I fabricated in my own mind as to why I only applied to one graduate school in my hometown and the school choose not to accept me after heavily networking with them. It was the reason I decided to seek professional mental health providers to assist me in my condition. Because if I did not, I would be dead by my own hand.

I refrained from attending any Spelman function outside my city. I refrained from interacting with anyone who was not a part of immediate local sphere of friends. I could not speak to them, I was too ashamed. Not even my linesisters of my Sorority knew what happened to me, that is how tight lipped I had to become. I was too scared to tell them. While I was pledging, one linesister totally cursed me out for being weak and I had to apologize for my weakness because really, I did not even begin to understand group dynamics. I was such an oddball overall that square pegs in round holes while bashing heads of bipolar disorder is just not worth the explanation. Not to make anyone reading this who sees him/herself as a friend feel bad, the reality is during those 2-3 years of a dry-season desert I had to forgive myself and seek my mind. I suffered from what some trained therapists would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder--I literally had nightmares/night terrors after I GRADUATED FROM SPELMAN. In fact, I think my ability to rapid cycle due to bipolar helped me going back and forth to my hometown.

Needless to say, while the education was commensurate, the professors at Spelman and Morehouse could care less of a psychiatric problem of their students, EXCEPT for 3: my 1st semester biology professor; Dr. Jann Primus who died from cancer and Dr. Han from Morehouse for Organic Chemistry. They all took a liking to me & kept me interested in the sciences, specifically molecular genetics. Without out them, I would have not completed Spelman nor moved forward into anybody's graduate program.

After I graduated, I meandered. Upgraded by dating scene to high places. Lost weight, and learned some new life's lessons for a different blog. I completed my PhD program, relocated to Dallas, Texas. And I found myself working very hard in science. Long story short, I married the kind of man I detested--a Morehouse man. But at the time, I had learned to forgive myself and while leery, I gave this type of man who also graduated Morehouse a chance. I was ready. Fortunately, he was ready. And I fell in love with him.

Something to be said about Morehouse men: when they go to school they learn how to go hardcore to gain their dreams. These men are very hard workers. They will do the job they have been tasked to do and they are very intelligent going about it. Next thing is the Morehouse men that good heads on their shoulders are the nerdy geeky ones. Not the uber-religious ones or the players or the rabble-rousers or the pimps, but the one's that have their heads completely stuck in their books, who read an array of extra material on top of excelling in their grades and the one's who have plans for their lives. These men are the epitome that Morehouse upholds. A Morehouse man has internships or coursework during the summer & beyond. They have an exchange program or study abroad program, possibly a Fulbright Scholar. There are decent family connections--i.e. he doesn't disrespect any of his elders or siblings. That is the kind of Morehouse man who exists with some faults and there are pros and cons--i.e. arrogance. But if you can tolerate that great!

The amazing this is my Morehouse man tolerates me! Moreover, he has built me up, bolstered by self-esteem even when I am at my lowest and this is far beyond my graduate date from Spelman. It may be the character of the man, but assuredly, Morehouse education help mold that character. Maybe that is what attracted me to him the most, which I had forgotten existed after all the non-Morehouse men I dated.

I also see plenty of bashing of Black men by many people, including Black Women. And while I have dated my share of losers, and have seen the backlash by Morehouse professors who are also Alumni, the thing is that these men are willing to take a look at themselves introspectively. Whether they keep that new look is another issue, but at least they either look at it or try it. And that is how I learned to love my Morehouse man, at his lowest point, I gave him some options, he chose one and he is happy I assist him in a new behavior.

I think the relationship between Spelmanites and Morehouse men is a torrid one, but once a critical connection is made, it is built to last!