Being Married to A Black Man

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I wanted to share my story and I have a message, a message to the black man…Being married to a black man is like mountain climbing. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Everytime you reach a peak, you realize how many more you have to climb. Everytime you stop to take in the view, you start losing your footing. You hope to bring someone else to the top of the mountain with you one day, but then you remember how hard your journey was. And you try to live every moment like it’s your last because you both know how inherently dangerous mountain climbing is.

I got married to my high school sweetheart in St.Louis, MO back in 2014 – on the same weekend Michael Brown was killed. While on our honeymoon, we couldn’t help being distracted by the international coverage of the rioting in our hometown. And here we are in 2016, dealing with more unarmed black men being killed around the country – but this time, it hit me differently, even closer to home.

10603315_10201615999282286_6726187491506773894_nIn light of recent events I wanted to share what it’s like being married to a black man. To add some humanity to these “thugs” you see blasted across the news. To share why #BlackLivesMatter. And hopefully the next time you clinch your purse tight, follow someone around a store, pass on waiting for a black family’s table, or cross the street to avoid a “sketchy” black man, you’ll remember reading this.

Observations:

  • My husband grew up in a home with a single mom and four boys
  • at one point after his parents divorced, he lived with his mom, 3 brothers, 2 aunts, grandma, and 4 cousins in a 3-bedroom house
  • he receives constant criticism on how he speaks, dresses, and interacts with people
  • he can never get his hair to cooperate, so he trims the edges, and wears it confidently with swag
  • he feels cornered easily, almost like an invisible force is applying too much pressure
  • every time he touches me, I feel a love and warmth I can’t describe 
  • he’s heard the “young black man in America talk” countless times
  • he’s been programming computers since he was 15 and has a degree in Computer Science
  • he can’t wear red or blue around most crowds, but he can wear red, white, and blue
  • when starting a new business, he never wants to be the face of it (in fear that people won’t want to do business with a black man)
  • he’s 21x more likely to be shot by a police officer than his white friends
  • brad-2when he passes a cop while driving, there’s a sense of fear of ending up like Philando Castile and other black men that lost their lives to our “justice” system
  • whenever he’s been pulled over: he rolls down the window, puts his hands on his wheels, and asks if he can move
  • he’s sensitive and never really expresses how he feels
  • due to that sensitivity he also always knows if something is bothering with me
  • he’s highly aware of what others are perceiving
  • he eats vegan and saves spider’s as I’m about to kill them
  • he thinks he’s superhuman, and tries to take on everyone else’s burdens – while disregarding his own
  • he has to respond to questions like “why can black people use the N-word but white people can’t” or “are big dick black men really a thing,” or “why are black people so rude” and “why are black people so loud”
  • he’s so strict with himself and kind of harsh, like he lives without privilege or 2nd chances
  • he is constantly reminded of the white people vs. black people conflict
  • he seems kind of angry at his family for not setting up a stable foundation for his future, but he also knows they’re victims too
  • there is an unspoken competition/jealousy between him and all his peers, probably because no one has ever really made it out of oppression
  • his family is verbally supportive, but no one seems to really believe in him
  • he’s very disciplined and always works hard
  • most of his energy is spent avoiding danger, problems, and being profiled – but he wishes he could spend it on helping people and building businesses
  • brad-famhis brother’s 8th grade teacher said she “didn’t know black boys could be so smart” (at a Lutheran school, his brother is now an Orthopedic surgeon)
  • he’s not very vocal about his love, but his actions represent true, unconditional, selfless  love
  • he’s always in survival mode and threat is everywhere
  • he’s super healthy, athletic, and loves the sun and nature
  • his presence overwhelms me and apparently everyone else in a room, as they always stare
  • he lets me have my way most of the time, but when he has an opinion on something, it’s law
  • he’s conscious of his movements, in an effort not to make anyone uncomfortable or scared of him
  • he loves his friends and family more than anything and is the most loyal person I’ve ever met
  • he’s completely self-reliant and has a big ego…i guess because the world’s never had his back
  • he’s always been a dreamer, but lives his life in a way that makes progress toward his dreams
  • his only weakness is his love for people, he’s sacrificed so much for people who wouldn’t sacrifice for him

A message to the black man… you are loved, you are important, and your journey inspires a strength for which there are no words.

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