For many people, fall is one of the best times of the year. For me, fall means that my television shows are finally back on, Being Mary Jane and Scandal. Both of these shows feature Black female leads who are going through interpersonal struggles. Everyone does not share my love for these shows. Some feel that they do not positively depict the realities of being a Black woman and are extremely fictional. While every Black woman does not become FLOTUS or have a drinking problem, we can find some truths in these shows.
As a Black woman I do feel that media often times distorts our image, causing us to be protective. Conversely, our protectiveness causes us to be in denial of the problems that are actually go on in the Black community. Personally, I feel that Being Mary Jane does a great job of representing the journey of being a Black professional woman. Mara Brock Ali, the creator of Being Mary Jane, reveals the burden of balancing a stigma, family, profession, and social life.
I am not for sure if I am maturing, but lately, I have really been connecting with Mary Jane. I am no primetime anchor but I do have similar struggles while in college. By carefully dissecting Being Mary Jane I have gained a few tricks to tackle life as a Black woman.
1. Just go for it
Mary Jane just had a professional set- back simply because of her new fatal appearance. Due to a car accident, she developed a major scar which ultimately delayed her progression as an anchor. Even though her producers suggested that she take time off to heal, Mary Jane knew what was best for her. She went into her studio with confidence and boldly let them know that she was ready to come back. Imagine what this world would be, if every Black woman boldly proclaimed they are ready for their professional journey, without hesitation.
2. Do not deny mental illness
Throughout the show we see various aspects of mental illness in the black community. Mary Jane’s brother struggles with drug abuse causing a complex relationship with his children. Lisa, Mary Jane’s best friend, recently committed suicide as a result of depression. During both of these circumstances, family members and friends just brushed the problems under the rug. If a problem occurred due to the mental illness, they quickly found the solution. Instead of solving the mental illness, they just solved the consequences of the mental illness. During Lisa’s funeral Mary Jane encourages us all to start talking and resolving the issues tormenting the black community. If we continue to just talk at the dinner table, we will continue to lose the ones we love dearly.
3. Having a husband does not solve all the problems
One of the main interpersonal brawls Mary Jane has is her male relationships. Just like most women, she longs for her fairy tale story. She struggles with her parent’s ideal son-in-law and her own wants for a husband. Kara, Mary Jane’s lead producer, teaches us that marriage is not always roses and butterflies. One of Kara’s biggest regrets is checking off that box in womanhood. Through Mary Jane we see that sometimes we use males to fill an emotional void. When we turn over the next morning, the fling is gone but our malfunctions still exist. Let us learn from Mary Jane and use other outlets to fix these malfunctions and understand the true value of marriage and a relationship.
4. Retail therapy is okay
If you watch the show constantly, you know that Mary Jane loves to shop with no regrets. A lot of times we are constantly serving others and making sure that our love ones are reaching the pursuit of happiness. During this time of servitude we often forget about ourselves. Mary Jane reminds us to become selfish, for once in our lives. Obviously we don’t have to shop to take care of ourselves. Find something that you love and allows you to freely think.
5. Feed your mind
My favorite part of the show, are the countless quotes displayed. Each morning Mary Jane wakes up to a set of quotes that motivate her to get through her day. These quotes help her conquer womanhood. Recently during a sermon, I learned that our mind controls our thoughts, your thoughts control your choices, and your choices control your behavior. To be able to conquer womanhood we have to start feeding our mind like we would feed our body. As women, ensure that everything we go through, allows us to prosper and be what God has called us to be.
You probably did not think one television could teach you this much about life. If we stop being so quick to judge, we can find beauty in the little things. Mary Jane has taught me many lessons in life by just being her. As Black women we do not like to talk about the problems that we go through daily, because we know that our fellow sisters will judge of us. When we do hear others problems, let us not judge, but let them know we will help them solve the problem. Hopefully, we can start being transparent like Mary Jane so we all can learn and grow from each other.