One of my readers asked me why my female characters have to go through so much to get to their HEA. That women have all the baggage and that they are strong in every area except when it comes to men. And that in reality, there are women who know their worth and in essence (not her exact words) they don’t really have baggage. I thought about what she said and I completely agree that there are plenty of women who know their worth. But I do think that in some way we all have baggage, some more than others. If we have any failed relationship, though we may take those lessons with us, we have been impacted in some way.
I usually write from the women’s perspective and my women characters have some challenge when it comes to love, whether it’s personal insecurities, trust issues, daddy or mama issues, or simply afraid of letting go to the power of love. I want my books to be relatable and honest. Yes, I do believe that there are women who are fearless and have no qualms about falling or being in love. But I think there are more women who struggle with this thing we call love whether she is single, married, in a situationship, or in a complicated relationship. I once asked some college women whether or not they need a man and there were questions about what did I mean by “need” before I explained further I asked the men and every hand went up without any explanation.
I meant “need” like we need to breathe. And so many women scoffed at me. Again I asked the men and overall they agreed that they needed women period. We do need each other, it is why we exist. Even if you’re homosexual, you still need that opposite sex or energy somewhere in your life. When we accept it, our lives become so much easier.
Some of our struggle as women accepting that we “need” men (I know some of you are cringing as you read this, LOL) comes from our personal family histories such as whether or not we saw our parents in healthy relationships or whether we have a good relationship with one or both of them. Or our very own past experiences with love that didn’t go the way we wanted or expected. Or the fact that as black women we haven’t always been afforded the luxury to depend on men due to the long legacy of slavery ( our marriages and families were often torn apart), then segregation, and then plain old racism where our men aren’t given the same opportunities as other men. And let’s not forget how we as black women are not seen as beautiful as other women of other races. I could do a whole thesis on how though other races love our skin, our lips, our bodies, and even our kinky, glorious hair in which we can rock any and every style, somehow many of us still feel not as worthy or beautiful. It doesn’t help that there are men out there who feel the same way and want any woman but us on their arms.
I hope that through my stories of love that as you read them, not only can you relate to them, I’m hoping that you learn from them. Maybe your issue is not self-worth, maybe it is never witnessing healthy love, or you were sexually abused/assaulted, or conflict never resolved with one or both of your parents, or that you are independent and not sure how to compromise and allow men to truly be there and support you. Or you want a relationship or marriage so bad, you don’t stop to think if this person is the right one for you. Or you may be able to sit back and reflect on why your relationship is working. Bottom line, I hope you view love just a little differently.
This is not to say that I believe that if a relationship fails or it succeeds that it’s only the woman’s fault, but I am saying that in some way she contributed to it and through my stories you may see yourself. From my experiences both professionally and personally, I have created female and male characters that embody people I’ve met and there’s a little bit of me in each of my characters (okay, maybe not Devin Toussaint from One Week and my upcoming novel Unforgettable Kiss).
To my reader who posed the question, I thank you for reaching out because it gave me the opportunity to explain why my women protagonists can be downright frustrating at times. I also encouraged her to keep reading because I have women and men characters who are dealing with all sort of challenges and I can’t wait for you to meet them and fall in love with them as I have. Happy reading and I hope I continue to get questions and feedback from my readers. Thank you!!!