I can’t help but let my mind wander that afternoon. I need noise. Sometimes any background noise will do, and as much as I like podcasts and music, it’s relatively easy to find background noise. But on this Sunday afternoon while you need noise to deep condition your hair, you’re all out of podcasts on your podcatcher. So for some reason, you decide to listen to an album you’ve only listened to once before and found it actually pretty good. I go into my music library and cue up Solange’s A Seat at the Table.
Coming Home is the story of Sally Hyde and Luke Martin, Sally the wife of a Marine who has just been sent off to Vietnam and Luke a veteran whose experience in the war has left him paralyzed. Even though the film takes place in 1968, Sally is the perfect example of the ideal American housewife that we think of from the 1950s, making her entire life around her husband Bob. However, when he leaves, she goes to volunteer at a veteran’s hospital even though she knows Bob would not approve. There she reconnects with her high school classmate Luke.
This past February marked 40 years since Coming Home‘s release. Definitely time for a reflection on it and the effect it’s had on me, especially since I finally saw it all uncut since those days before TCM aired films “uncut and commercial free.” This film was the one that made Hal Ashby my favorite American filmmaker for years.
Disclaimer: This essay was written 2 years ago soon after the loss of one of the most influential music artists of my time. A few things have been updated since then, but the original version still remains on my blog.
Disclaimer: This essay first appeared in the now defunct publication The Butter in 2014. There are slight updates, but it remains nearly identical to the version that appeared in that publication.
While Black women are expected to nurture and take care of others, we aren’t allowed to be lonely for ourselves. We aren’t supposed to have our own needs. And we’re supposed to like it even without the expectation of anyone else providing emotional support for our benefit. Loneliness isn’t something that Black women are supposed to experience in our day-to-day lives while we are busy being superwomen for everyone not falling under the category of Black times woman. We’re most certainly not supposed to be introverts. So what happens when you find yourself a Black woman possibly in middle age coming to terms with loneliness in your life and reconciling it being an introvert lacking the skills to secure your social circle for your later years?