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Tracee Ellis Ross Breaks Down What It Really Means To Be Happily Single
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Tracee Ellis Ross Breaks Down What It Really Means To Be Happily Single

Tracee Ellis Ross wants you to know that secret to true peace is finding the silver lining in your single season.

Tracee Ellis Ross

So boom. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage, right?

Although this is the fairytale we've been fed by society since childhood, adulthood pulled up and proved that this seemingly simple equation for life isn't always the answer to happiness and for women dating in the digital age, this statement is big facts. While our biological clocks can sometimes feel like ticking time bombs, Tracee Ellis Ross wants you to know that secret to true peace is finding the silver lining in your single season.

Over the years, Tracee has become known for her give-no-f*cks attitude when it comes to society's expectations and in a recent chat with Porterabout being 47, unmarried, and childless, our good sis kept that same energy. The High Note actress told the publication that although marriage may be one path to happiness, she's perfectly happy taking the road less traveled:

"I wish I had known there were other choices, not just about how I could be living, but how I could feel about the way my life was. I was raised by society to dream of my wedding, but I wish I had been dreaming of my life. There are so many ways to curate happiness, find love and create a family, and we don't talk about them. It creates so much shame and judgement."

With an unconventional lifestyle comes unsolicited commentary, something that Tracee says she has received a lot of over the years. In the interview, Tracee even recalled an uncomfortable interaction with a colleague that proved that grown men should stay out of women's business.

"I had some big celebrity guy go, [shakes head and taps watch on wrist] 'You better get on it.' And that was when I was in my thirties!"

Despite these cringeworthy moments, the Black-ish star stands firm in her belief that being alone isn't the equivalent of being lonely and broke down what it really means to be happily single, a term that Tracee says is often misunderstood, for the people in the back:

"People misinterpret being happily single as not wanting to be in a relationship. Of course I want to be in a relationship, but what am I going to do? Spend all the time that I'm not [in one] moping around? No. I'm going to live my life to the fullest and I'm going to be happy right here, where I am."

To read Tracee's full interview, click here!

Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

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It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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