We can’t help it. We fall for the stereotypes and preconceived notions of everything. If we’re dressed a certain way, it’ll say this about our identity. If we go a certain place, it’ll say that about our identity. If we take this job, date this person, believe (or not believe) in a thing, we’re doomed. Shit goes “downhill” from there with no escape to return back to self. But who is the self cloaked in stereotype, beneath the hearsay of what is perceived as our identities? Is it merely a vessel displayed for public consumption and human sexual desire?
In this series, The Misconceptions of (Bahamian) Creatives - brackets because we can only speak from our personal perspectives - we unravel and debunk some of the myths of what it means to live as artist in a space that barely acknowledges our existence, but has a shit ton to say about it. In this chapter, we talk love and dating.
Kevanté: Hello lovelies, welcome back to the chatroom! I hope the Universe has been kind to you these past few weeks. How did your February treat you?
Tanicia: Like shit.
Jodi: I celebrated my brother’s birthdays and the birthdates of other great friends, but besides that.. I am happy that it’s over. March needs to speed along too.
T: I’m waiting for June because... it’s indeed the best month. *blush emoji* My birthday lands 3 days after Ramadan, so I will definitely be in better spirits. But February was cool. Hung out with my friends and family more, but I think it’s been taxing emotionally.
K: You sound like the typical Gemini with the slight ego lol.
T: lol. My little humble brag. *dusts off shoulders* I’m lost in this whole astrology deal so whenever K starts I’m like *twilight zone* O_o.
K: LOL! When you get deep into it, it becomes easier to understand. But the ending of February/ early March is usually always emotionally taxing on most folks because it’s Pisces season (aka Jesus’ birth season - because I know you couldn’t possibly believe Jesus was a Capricorn) so you feel a great deal. But the only thing I like June for is my mom’s birthday (unfortunately, she Gemini too lol) and the beach weather. Other than that, I’ll pass.
J: February was too cold, and I don’t care for the cold. I love the summer, and I am patiently waiting for the summer months to roll in so I can be happy again lol. Seasonal depression is a real, and although, I am not in a space where the seasons are from one extreme to the next. It still has some effect. And I just don’t like being away from home, nor do I like being so I don’t know. I need have a meeting with Jesus to sort all this out.
T: Seasonal depression is real. When I did my undergrad, I always felt like I performed better during Spring semester. The lecturers seemed more lenient too! *smile/sweating emoji*
K: I feel like I just best in the mornings, man. Didn’t matter the time of year but I feel you on the seasonal depression, Jodi (though I can’t fully relate). But this February for the most part, aside from celebrating my favorite time of year (my birthday lol), just showed me how much I really and truly detest the male species.
J: Girl, February showed me that too. I’m just coming back from a break from willingly and intentionally engaging with men. Thank God three out of four of my professors are women, cause it’s been ROUGH.
K: Feel that! Too much masculine energy for me, becomes overwhelming. I go into hiding fr fr.
J: My boyfriend better be glad he is the way he is, cause if he wasn’t... I was going to be single. I was SICK of men (Babe, if you’re reading this, I love you and I’m not going to break up with you because you’re a man, okay? <3)
K: LOL! *crickets from Tanicia*
T: Actually, I love men and um… they’ve been pretty good to me last month. Maybe it’s because I don’t have daily contact with men. Or I’ve gotten too saucy so they don’t bother with me. Romantically, no one broke my heart. But I get how masculine energy can be a lot sometimes.
J: I was harrassed on the street one evening walking to Wal-Mart and that triggered a panick attack on the side of the road, girl. Then there’s this man in my building who wears his MAGA hat at 8am in the morning to class and we happen to share the elevator a little too much times. Plus my roommate’s guy friends don’t know boundaries… listen, I’m just glad that Spring Break is next week so I could go home and recharge cause this ain’t it.
T: Wow getting harrassed is annoying. I don’t like men who roam as if their mass is priority, esp. in your own space. I had a situation (it might’ve been Jan) where I was buying personal items in a store. And this damn, potato-shaped belly man gin’ move from the back of the line, to stand RIGHT next to me - as my items are being checked out - to get the cashier’s attention. He did all of that to ask about some Hedy’s stockings! That had me irritated. But it says a lot too about the politics of gender. If it was a woman, I would probably be annoyed but wouldn’t have mind so much. But I guess in my life I adopted these unspoken rules on the boundaries men shouldn’t cross i.e. going in a woman’s purse.
K: Say potato-shaped belly man *insert crying emoji here* I am vweak! I had one too many instances last month on the job facing harassment and even close to assault, that literally had me on the verge of contemplating giving up my attraction towards men. And I honestly think that that may be nearing soon and it’s not difficult a thing for me to do anyway lol. I don’t even want to get into the details of it all because I’m still working through that trauma; BUT, I think this will kind of lead into the topic of discussion and a question I wanted to throw out to you both: as creative people, what do you think is the biggest misconception “non-creative” people have towards us? For me, ironically enough, I think it’s that some people may believe we’re all queer/ not straight in some way or that we may be too emotional to handle.
J: That all of us smoke weed religiously or do some sort of psychedelic mind altering voodoo to create lol. Just off the top of my head.
T: That we’re self-centered, disconnected from reality.
K: You think most “non-creative” people think all creative types are self-centered, Tanicia? That’s interesting. Why?
T: I guess, self-centered because we’re in an industry where we tap into our own thoughts and ideas. That may make people think we’re egotistical, ‘in our heads’, & short sighted to other people’s views.
J: I also think it depends on your craft and how visible you are. There are a few people that I think are narcissistic just by watching their tendencies with their work, but I think because of their level of visibility, people tend to generalize.
K: I’m definitely with you there, Jodi. I think musicians tend to be the more… egotistical of the bunch. And of course, I’m not saying all are, but I think just considering the duties of the craft itself - the being seen/ looked upon and being heard, can call for one to easily slip into narcissism. However, do you think some people may think these tendencies can spill over into our dating/ love arenas and may keep them from not wanting to engage in any of us?
J: I’ll say yes, because I was one of those people. I never wanted to date another artist; I had all these ideas of who artists were and how they acted, that I turned myself off from them. I met this guy, a visual artist, a while back and we kicked it off as friends and I was like I could see myself really liking this guy. Chile, he didn’t reciprocate the feelings. However, he gave me the opportunity to flirt with the idea of dating another visual artist. I dated a singer/songwriter too, it was cool, we still cool. Now I’m in a relationship with a poet and things are grand.
T: Well, that’s funny! Because I also dated a poet and it was shitty - an emotional rut.
K: *skull face emoji* I thought you was coming to say things kicked off.
T: I mean, the vibe was great. But in the poetry/ spoken word arts community our golden rule is: poets must never date poets. It’s because they’re too emotional and sensitive. Often, a poet needs someone more grounded to balance their energy. This shows how creatives fall for the stereotypical narratives too. I’m sure there were probably male poets who could have been a ‘match’ for me, but the relationship did not work out. It was too emotionally taxing. I wonder sometimes if it’s also narcissism as a male being a ‘creative’? For some reason since you’re ‘unconventional’, maybe women find you more attractive and this then boosts your ego, and makes it difficult for you to stay exclusive.
J: GIRL SPEAK ON IT. SPEAK ONNNN. IT! Ise be like go sit somewhere man, your work ain’t even that good. All out here singing offkey and having no stage presence thinking someone wants to mess with you off of you just being an artist!?! Go take a class and humble up! Perfect ya craft and sit small. Smt.
K: Dead. LOL! But as for me, I am definitely the creative that dates and falls for other creative types. Oftentimes my womanly intuition can see straight through the bullshit (particularly with male interests) and I still decide to fall 10 feet deep. With lady interests, not so much. They make clear what they want from the get go (because women naturally make more sense) and I decide if I want to proceed or not. I do, however, think we all slip into a sense of narcissism when people we like or who we think may like us, fuck with our work heavily. But a big misconception about dating and love that I think a lot of “non-creative” types have towards us is this feeling that we lack stability or a sense of direction. Like all or a lot of us are just on this “go with the flow” type of wave, and although that may be the case for some of us, I don’t think it applies for all.
J: I am not a go with the flow kind of person. My boyfriend is though, so we balance each other in that way. I think that there’s some sort of mysticism surrounding being a creative. Being someone who can see things that they’ve imagined (S/O to Solo), that people are perplexed about, so they think that we’re just these contrary, loosy goosy type of people. I am currently freaking out and trying to pull myself together because I’m in a space where I need to go with the flow, so that’s not everyone’s truth.
T: I don’t think I fit that misconception either. My attitude in relationships reflects a serious assessment on my needs at that time. I think it's because all my teenage/young adult life, I have been used to controlling my environment: who I hang out with, what I wear, who I love, do I want to be committed… I remember after I graduated high school, I was realized “I want to be single now”, and so I did just that and stayed committed to the cause for about 5 years? When I grew tired of being single I said “I want to commit to someone” and so when I found that someone, I did.
So basically, once I’ve decided on my current (or new) direction, I commit to it. And it’s difficult for others to come in and change that.
J: I think another misconception that I’ve been faced with is that just because we date, I’ll make work about you.
K: Damn, that’s a good one that I’ve never even given thought to.
J: As a visual artist, once I tell young men that I’m an artist, their next line is to ask if I’ll draw or paint them… Nigga, no lol.
My most recent ex is my muse for reasons I’m trying to work out now, but it wasn’t my intent on him becoming that. I wouldn’t call my current my muse. I don’t see the need to make work about my partners.
T: I… am gonna write about everybody. A poem for you. One for you. You there, here you go. I tried to stop before but I can’t help it. I love writing about people & I watch them all the time… sometimes, for particularly no reason at all. Now that’s not all creatives, just me. Your actions in the relationship decide what your legacy will be.
J: lool, that part! I feel you, Tanicia.
K: I definitely feel you, T! I think it’s limiting for anyone to believe that because you’re with a creative type, you will be the center of their work for that time. Times now, you may have met the person halfway through a series about idk… legs and suddenly you believe they need to document yours? But why, though? Yours may not be as fascinating as someone else’s over there. I think the narcissism thing is a plague over humanity. But a misconception I think I personally deal with as a “go-with-the-flow” creative type is that I’m just into “whatever”; like there are no guidelines to ‘the flow’. If that makes sense?
Excuse me if I’m gushing about astrology a little too much (which I also think is another big misconception people have towards us - that we all believe in it), but I think my being Pisces/ water/ malleable sign may allow for some people I date to take advantage of ‘the flow’ i.e. them saying - I don’t have to do this thing over here I said I would do, because she won’t care or mind and we can always find an alternative; or that my being open (or the exploration thereof) will confuse some with me lacking morals or integrity. That was an interesting ideal I was faced to deal with recently.
J: Yeah, I’ve encountered that as well. I pride myself on being an understanding person. But just because I understand why you may do or want to do a thing, doesn’t mean I have to accept that within my space. I am very guarded about what I allow to happen to me and what I allow to happen around me. I am not concerned just for my reputation sake, but for my health and safety as well. I take pride in my integrity, and I take pride in making my own decisions. Let me decide to be your girlfriend while you have two others (just saying). The worst thing anyone can do is take my choice away from me. I don’t like that.
I don’t know.. I’ve hooked up with creatives before and our casual situations were very easy going. They ended beautifully and those individuals and I are still friends to date. I guess they had the same ideals as me, maybe? Either way, they were extremely transparent, open and honest.
Now, my boyfriend and I communicate to a flaw. We don’t do anything unless it’s discussed first and then we have a pow-wow after to make sure we’re still good lol. I like the power of choice, the power of understanding and solidness.
T: Couldn’t have agreed more, J. The key to any relationship is always being open & honest. If we’re casually getting to know each other & we both agreed we won’t get into any serious, then I will assume that these terms are the same throughout our relationship. If a partner feels that their emotions are growing stronger, they need to express what they’re feeling otherwise the other partner will assume everything is still on schedule. Love can be messy at times, sometimes unnecessarily. Re-evaluation should be a thing in every relationship.Do you feel
“non-creative” people expect creatives to be “overly-sensitive” in relationships?
K: Umm, yes and no. I truly believe in order to create, we must be in tune with our emotions. However, I believe some people make creatives out to be more emotional than non-creatives, which is another topic of discussion imo, for another day, because it leads into mental health issues and all that jazz. But I believe because we have more access to media outlets and platforms, and we know how to use them/ curate our lives successfully as creative people, it may appear as though we are more emotional/ “overly-sensitive” than the rest, but we’re not. I feel I have my moments, but like on most days, I pick myself back up, heal and do the work to overcome then carry on smartly within any relationship type as usual. Some may say it’s not always a healthy thing because it’ll make my partner/s seem or feel useless, but I’m learning to balance… gradually lol.
T: But not only w/ social media. I feel like there were moments in previous relationships where my partners anticipated an emotional, or sensitive reaction. There was a partner that would refer to me as “delusional” or “too sensitive”, when I calmly expressed my concerns. That can make you feel isolated and disregarded. You doubt whether you are capable of making critical assessments of your relationship.
I always felt weird when that partner said that because the majority of the time, I don’t typically express my thoughts. I’m usually shy & non-confrontational with a partner. I think and wait and think some more before I express myself. And to be honest, I can’t relate to the “overly-sensitive” narrative because it’s been difficult for me to connect. Somewhere, I’ve lost this deep empathic ability and replaced it with stoicism & self-deprecating jokes. So when someone says I’m “too sensitive”, I just stare deer-eyed wondering, “how? where? when?”
K: I. GET. IT. THOUGH. I tweeted the other day, my sarcasm and hilarity is a cry for help. Dial 919 please. Lol! But I get it fr though. I think we all can talk about the misconceptions of creatives when it comes to love and dating for hours, but to wrap up, any final thoughts? Words of advice for creatives or “non-creative” types who are dating/ “talking” to/ may want to become involved with a creative?
J: My last comment is that, the same multi-dimensionality that we afford other people, we should have that same bandwidth for creatives. We’re not all alike although we may have some similarities. We are also human lol. Don’t come to, especially creative women, looking for some sort of healing or help to pull out the creative within yourself. Do your own soul work and journey to self discovery, men. Women, please do not hypersexualize male creatives. They are more than what they are capable of doing in the bedroom, respect their minds and if they don’t respect yours, bounce.
T: 1.) Creatives are constantly evolving in their craft(s) & artistic identity. So, don’t be surprised when they’ve switched directions. While your input is valid, do not try to fit creative types into a mould that is comfortable for you. If you love them, and want them to be a partner to you, you must accept the changes they go through. If you can’t, love them at a distance. 2.) We’re not all the same - there’s no “once you date one, you date them all” - we’re very multi-faceted, possessing dynamic & unique traits. 3.) LISTEN! Most times, creatives will tell you what they’re into. Listen to them speak, and maybe you won’t be surprised all the time.
K: And on that note, selah..
Thanks for joining us in The Gray Area this month. Tell us what you think. Have you dated a creative before? Are you a creative who has/ is dating another creative? What are the top 3 things you’ve learned/ are learning from that relationship? Drop some comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Kevanté Cash is a "Writer + poet + publicist"... or at least that's what her email signature reads. She credits her Piscean nature and idolization of Badu for the maintenance of her fluidity and duality. You can typically find her immersed in literature, curating her IG stories to fit an 'artsy, self-love' vibe, hanging with friends to discuss the latest in pop culture + astrology or journaling for healing’s sake. She holds a BA in Media Journalism from The University of The Bahamas and acts as Gray Area's chief editor.
Jodi Minnis is a multi-disciplinary artist from Nassau, Bahamas based in Tampa, Florida (at the moment). Her work focuses on the intersections of gender, race and culture in Bahamian society. She also makes work that tethers and exposes the lines of the personal and the political. The artistic director of Gray Area, she holds an Associates in Fine Arts from the College of The Bahamas and is pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Tampa.
Tanicia Pratt is a writer, poet and performer from Nassau, Bahamas. Her life is a gray area; often reflected in her work + identity. She is unpredictable. Lover of ‘whatever’s interesting’...and coffee. Tanicia holds a BA in Marketing from The University of the Bahamas. Creative Director of Gray Area.