Can we talk about Beyoncé? Or rather, can I? I mean, since everyone is weighing in on it…
*Don’t worry. I won’t speak on the racial aspect of things since I can’t, while also acknowledging that race may or may not play into what I do want to discuss.
Like others before me who were quick to write their think-piece on the matter, I will declare myself a Sort of Fan of hers. Yes, Destiny’s Child’s songs still make me smile and in general, I’ve always enjoyed her music.
But I’m no worshipper.
When Formation came out, I rewatched it about five times in a row, fascinated. I found it powerful, eccentric, creative and tried to understand the meaning of its message without claiming any kind of ownership or overwrought opinion on/about it.
I just liked it. I liked what felt like a political statement and I liked hearing it from someone who had an understanding of it beyond my own.
When I watched the trailer for “Lemonade” on HBO Go, I was…confused. And annoyed. I remember seeing her tease something about this upcoming “once in a lifetime” event and felt even more irritated when, from what I saw, she had gone and made some kind of horror movie.
But of course, after hopping on social media, I was quickly inundated with the overwhelming response of people I like basically saying I was missing out on life if I didn’t take the opportunity to watch it.
Well. It was…incredible? Incredible in how it captivated. Incredible in how emotionally connected I was to it. Incredible in how real it felt.
I will choose, for now, to ignore the swirling talk of this all being a huge production, created and made-up by Jay and Bey to garner sales and sign people up for Tidal.
Because honestly? Even if that were even remotely true, you will never be able to convince me that Beyoncé hasn’t wondered if her husband has cheated on her and you will most likely never be able to convince me that he hasn’t.
There are two things I thought a lot about after digesting this visual and audio onslaught.
The first being: We need to talk about how Beyoncé met Jay-Z when she was SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. In a 2007 interview with Charlie Rose, Jay-Z said he met his future wife about ten years prior. She was 16 in 1997.
And while further interviews and loose details will point more to them “starting to date” when she was 18 or 19, that seems awfully convenient.
But fine. Let’s give them the 18 and then focus on the fact that he is ELEVEN YEARS HER SENIOR.
Which means, a twenty nine year old MAN was wining and dining an 18 year old GIRL.
Now here is where I’m going to start making assumptions, ones that I believe are probably true and deeply entrenched in what might be going on in Beyoncé’s mind and soul if dealing with her spouse’s infidelity.
Beyoncé was destined for stardom, for queendom, for utter domination. No question. She worked her ass off, night and day, day and night. She has been performing since she was a child. And judging from her relationship with her parents, I don’t think she was really concerned with, nor had time to have a boyfriend.
What I’m saying is, even if she lost her virginity to someone else, maybe even had sex with two people before Jay-Z (which even that I’m doubtful of), he is one of VERY FEW sexual partners she’s ever had.
So there’s this juxtaposition. We live in a society (an American one) where being sexy means you ARE sexy means you know what you’re doing in the sack.
There is no way at sixteen OR eighteen she was sexually experienced enough to know left from right, especially with a twenty nine year old man.
And whether or not she had other encounters before him, he became her everything. And depending on what kind of teacher, nurturer, partner he was, that would become her introduction to sex.
A lot of things have to go right in that scenario for her to come out of it OK.
Because again, we are expected to know what we’re doing. It’s assumed that if we look good and exude confidence and seem sexual in any way, or are sexualized without doing anything other than stand there, we internalize that and never actually talk about it.
We’re supposed to know what we’re doing based on what exactly? Movies? T.V.? Porn? The only way to get good at sex is actually having it and even then, depending on who you have it with and how open your communication is, you may never get good at it.
I’m not saying that people haven’t been able to wordlessly get someone off. But is that all you want? Just the orgasm? Also, why don’t we (as women) talk about all of the times we definitely did NOT have an orgasm?
Maybe it seems unsexy to have a discussion before or during. Why do you feel that way? Is it because everything you’ve ever seen on the screen are two people automatically connecting and having otherworldly intercourse?
Sexual attraction gets you there, but it doesn’t and can’t take you all the way. There is no way of knowing what the other person is into without working it out first.
Back to Beyoncé. Her world is coming apart on many levels due to this infidelity. Do you see me? She asks. Everyone else does. She says. He only want me when I’m not there. She says.
To her, this is unfathomable. She is THE baddest bitch on the planet, oh and also his WIFE (which again, in her mind is the ultimate…the commitment, the vows, the promises, the sacredness…to her, this is everything and being cheated it on is the equivalency of him murdering her.) This makes her feel like she is not enough and how could that possibly be?
Why would he want anyone but her?
To touch on marriage and monogamy, this is what I think causes a lot of damage for some people. For those that consider marriage a holy union, an eternal binding with no exceptions, cheating is the worst sin of them all. And a lot of people cheat.
Because it is actually asking a lot of human beings to only sleep with one person, or in general, “be” with one person for the rest of their lives.
As hard as it is to meet people, it is also not hard at all to make a connection with more than one person. If you have exes than you’ve already proven my point.
There’s no completely shutting that off. We will continue to be attracted to and attracted by other people. We will form relationships with people, get close to them emotionally and sometimes physically because that’s in our nature.
Not because our partner isn’t enough, but because there is no actual limit.
We feel because we’ve given everything to someone that they should be satisfied, fulfilled.
Which brings me to the second thing I thought a lot about: Past relationships. Actually, one in particular. I’ve never been cheated on (to my knowledge), so I can’t really speak on it. Yet I still really identified with the first half of “Lemonade”, with all of it’s anger and apathy and threats and indignation and middle fingers wagged in faces.
And the absolute contradiction telling the guy you want: “Boy, BYE.”
When you are sleeping with someone who doesn’t want to be exclusive, doesn’t want the labels and is generally kind of aloof and non-committal, it will drive you crazy.
The answer is always to not be with someone like this, but it happens.
You have no idea if you’re the side chick. You probably are. Or at the very least, you are simply one of a few, possibly many.
I remember trying to see other people in the meantime. Which didn’t really work because if I was being honest with myself, I wanted to be with him. Even though I knew well enough that we weren’t right for one another, the baseline attraction (mine to him) was undeniable.
I could not extricate myself from the situation. That out of control feeling had me going on dates with other people, having inappropriate conversations and casual meet ups with a friend of his and other people he had connections to.
So when out of the blue, the phone calls and texts stopped, I didn’t know how much of it had to do with him meeting someone else or what he knew about what I was up to when we weren’t together.
I believe it had more to do with the former, but the way in which things were left were because of the latter. As in, maybe I didn’t deserve any kind of explanation or reason or courtesy ending of our non-relationship.
On occasion, I’m still irked by this other girl. She is younger. She is prettier. And she managed to lock it down. The one thing I couldn’t do.
During the entire situation I was constantly questioning my self worth over something that wouldn’t have worked for me anyway. Seriously, at one point I was at a bar hanging out with his friends and he was there. On a date with someone.
Anyway. I’m no Beyoncé.
But I feel a lot of things when I watch and listen to Lemonade. I feel for her and I feel for me.