The anxiously awaited Netflix film, Nappily Ever After, adapted from the novel by Trisha Thomas premiered a couple of Fridays ago. From the moment I saw the trailer on social media, I knew it would be a hit among “naturalistas”. Honestly, it looked a little corny to me but as a newly minted “naturalista” (6 months strong!) I definitely planned to watch it.
My sister circle gathered to watch it over the opening weekend. However, due to family obligations, I was unable to watch it until that Sunday night, two days after it premiered. I made it a point to avoid any and all Facebook posts about it so as to avoid seeing spoilers but the overwhelming majority of the posts that I was unable to dodge expressed positive sentiment.
I haven’t read the novel (it is actually part of a series) so I went in not knowing what to expect. Although extremely predictable, the movie was cute. There were moments that I laughed out loud, moments that made me cringe, and moments that affirmed me as a Black woman who wears her natural hair. I could relate to the hot comb, color, breakage, and water avoidance that many of us have dealt with over the course of our lives. However, beyond the predictability of the love story and the relatability of the hair struggle, what stood out most for me were these two things:
- The idea that a woman’s worth is tied to a man, specifically whether or not he wants to marry her.
- Mothers projecting their issues on to their daughters.
Sisters, why do we measure our worth and the worth of our sisters by whether or not they are coupled? Why do we perpetuate the notion that a single woman of a certain age must be “crazy”, or at the very least, something has to be wrong with her? There is nothing wrong with being boo-ed up. Mutual love is a beautiful thing. However, there is also nothing wrong with being single. One of the healthiest ways of “being” is to be in tune with yourself and sometimes that requires being romantically unattached. Women who choose to be single may choose that option for a variety of reasons:
- Healing from a past relationship—heartbreak and abuse (mental, physical, or emotional), among other things
- Waiting for the right one. I know that’s a loaded answer because some people’s requirements are a bit lengthy…but hey, who are we to critique anyone’s standards? LOL, but serious…
- Some people are truly happily single
Unlike popular opinion which says that relationships are 50/50, I believe they are 100/100. You have to come into it a WHOLE person. If you are not whole all by yourself, being connected to someone else will be a nightmare for both of you…but that’s a whole other blog post for another time.
Now let’s tackle this mother/daughter projection thing. Psychologically speaking, projection means transferring one’s own undesirable feelings or emotions on to someone else. Mothers, please don’t do this to your daughters. Just because you are not happy single or not happy with your natural looks or not happy in your career or whatever it may be, don’t project that sh*t onto your daughter. Too many mothers try to make their own insecurities their daughters’ insecurities and then try to live vicariously through them. That is not a good look. All you’re doing is pushing your daughter into an unhealthy relationship with herself or someone else…or worse, she’ll begin to resent you.
Although I felt like they left us hanging because we didn’t know what Violet decided with regard to a man, I am actually happy that it ended that way. Besides the fact that real life doesn’t fit into the neat little box that movies try to portray, I think it kept our focus on the fact that she walked away with a stronger sense of self.
One of the lines from the movie that resonated with me most was about how important it is for mothers to teach their girls how to be the girl they want to be, not the girl that a guy wants them to be. That won’t guarantee that she will never make bad decisions in relationships but you can be assured that she will always recover from those bad decisions because she knows her worth…and you cannot put a price tag on that.