August 27, 2010

Members Only




Everyone likes exclusivity: Sororities. Country Clubs. Posh restaurants with exclusive dress codes…the Hall of Fame. We all want a place to call OURS that only WE and a select few can belong to. Black women these days want to belong to a myriad of “members only” establishments-namely “First and ONLY Wives Club” and “Mommy’s only”.

When I was married, I found myself part of that exclusive club albeit briefly. The “I won’t be a statistic, I’m an educated black woman who found someone and that someone found good enough to marry” club. I was fast-tracking it to several other exclusive memberships: the homeownership in a nice neighborhood club, the “vacationing w/ couples and having adult play date” club, the “always have a built-in plus one” club, and finally, the all-exclusively grandiose golden club of “Motherhood” which is akin to something like The Links, The Girlfriends, Junior League, and any other elite social-service club you could think.

That all changed on December 1, 2008 when I got divorced. My membership to the club was revoked. There wasn’t a card burning or my paraphernalia snatched. There was no phone call or meeting. It was more subtle. The calls stopped. The check-ins and mindless chatter stopped. The sharing of their lives with me ended. I was no longer part of the club-the sisterhood of married, black women who had escaped the fate of singleness. They had moved on…and with it I just got painful reminders of how membership had its privileges. Severed where the built-in girlfriends, shoulders to cry on, prayer partners and support systems. Broken all because my marriage was broken…It seemed unfair.

My girlfriend of umpteen years, as soon as I shared the news with her that I was divorcing, stopped talking to me. I couldn’t believe it. After sharing numerous momentous and joyous occasions together, she couldn’t be here for my personal pain. She didn’t call to see how I was. Instead of being able and excited to cart our husbands around to various events and show them off along with our degrees and achievement as some sort of “tag team”, she dumped me to the wayside. She never returned my calls. She stopped interacting with me via Facebook. She never replied to my emails to check on her and her new child. All I could see was pictures of her new life and how we were no longer friends. It was a painful reminder of the revocation of my membership.

I stopped getting invited to weddings...I mean it stopped cold. I didn’t have my built-in plus one. And they probably felt like it was bad luck to have divorced me there at the wedding. I didnt want to be a hex anyway....or a reminder of the shadow of my old-self, my former posh membership.

The “couple friends” that I had amassed during my marriage had left, slowly deleting me from friends’ lists. Failing to let me know if they came to town to visit. Failing to invite me to things that had nothing to do with couple things at all. If I ran into them, they barely made conversation. I'm not sure what that was about.

And most embarrassingly, was how new moms interacted with me. I remember being out with a group of women, new moms and expecting (married) mothers. Wives who wanted to be mothers. They shared stories of diapers and cranky husbands. Breast feeding versus the bottle. Gas and teething and tips on daycare. They tried to involve me in the conversation but you can tell it was a strain. What was I doing here? I suppose out of cordiality. They passed the babies around as casually as you would pass the salt at a dinner table. I guess  they thought holding a baby was the panacea that I needed. It just made my heart ache worse. When the conversation turned to finding the right ob/ gyn, one girl, feeling that I was probably feeling left out, asked me who my gyno was. I sat there and just stared then slowly responded. I thought to myself. “Of what importance was it? None. Who cares about my barren uterus? No one…. “I felt like I was on display. A Mona Lisa with a crooked half-smile, hiding what I felt inside, and nodding aimlessly like a bobble head. It made me think that they were saying internally.."Poor Mocha...she'll never have this! She could have had this! Oh well..no longer part of the club!"

God-bless my married friends’ souls (Well...some of them.)…..they try not to make you feel like an outsider when in fact you really are.



I wonder: If I gain my membership back….would I be welcomed back in the fold?  Do I even want to be there?

9 comments:

  1. This was good word. I'm apalled at your married friend who gave up on you. She wasn't your real friend anyway. My line sister who was divorced recently is in my wedding, cheering me all the way. Good friends are there through thick and thin, good, bad and the ugly.

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  2. Damn, I didn't know there was even a club. I've been married 6 years now and we meaning the husband and I still "do us." We talk to our married friends, we talk to our single friends. If they don't want to talk or hang with us..fukk'em. I've always been a loner so gaining membership into some exclusive unspoken club has never phased me. If they act like you've mentioned above, I wouldn't want to be apart of that mess either. As for your friend, well that leads me to wonder was she ever a friend in the first damn place. Hell no..good riddance. JMO lol

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  3. When I got married, a lot of our friends were, too. We did 10 weddings in as many months. It was ridiculous. One friend said, "You know, a few years from now, one of these couples won't be together." Ten years later, 4 couples have split. My closest girlfriend is one of these newly divorced ladies and I told her point blank, "I am here if you need me. If you want your space, say it. If you want me to come through, say it." I can't know what she is going through, all I can do is make myself available and keep our friendship on the straight and narrow. Your girl that just cut you off? She was never really your friend in the first place if she could do that so easily. A real friend would say, "I don't know what you need, but if you tell me, I"ll give it."

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  4. wow that is just sad! Yeah she wasn't really your friend chick!

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  5. I have never heard of this sort of behavior towards the newly divorced women but it makes sense to me. I know that some of my married friend's don't want their husbands hanging out with our divorced friends because they somehow feel like it will sway a man's perspective on his own relationship. Sad assessment of people who we can think are our friends. Good stuff.

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  6. too funny @ barren uterus. you are hilarious, Mocha. of course i am a man and have never been married, but i feel you on many sentiments. afterward, it is comparable to things being as if you were living in a twilight zone the entire time. almost as if you never existed. the thing is: you did exist, so the only question becomes whether those involved in that particular were/are simply on some fake ish, all along. if you decide to marry again, i guess the answer said question will be found.

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  7. I've tried numerous times to comment on your blog. I'm really hoping it works this time.

    I'm single and never been married. And I feel your pain, because I haven't gained access to this club yet, and its so strange that when people do get married and have kids, they act like being single is a problem, a disease they're going to catch. I've never known of the divorced side of it, and I'm so sorry, that it exists even on that end.

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  8. WOW! I think this applies to me...but it wasn't intentional..I promise...For real! No REALLY! For real! But I can see your point. WOW! I'm Sorry (Government name! LOL!) Seriously! My bad!

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  9. I could feel your pain through the words. *hugs*

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