Paris

I have an Arabian Dutch Harness mixed mare named Paris Hariq. A
strawberry blonde sorrel, she is absolutely beautiful and I immediately
fell in love with her at first sight. I remember walking out to the barn
where she was and other horses coming up to the ranch owner nuzzling her
hand and following us through the pasture. When we reached Paris, who
was then named Classy, she stood proudly allowing us to look at her but
she never dropped her head to nuzzle and she certainly didn’t follow
the owner to the round pen. Instead of standing still while the owner
saddled her, Paris turned her head and walked to the opposite side of
the paddock. Eventually she was saddled and the owner rode her around to
show me her fancy gait and admire the way she held her tail high, proud
with her Arabian heritage, but one thing was for certain, she had her
own ideals. The owner smiled at me as I fed her an apple, “She’s a
very proud horse,” she told me. Clearly I was unexperienced with
horses and so after purchasing Paris, I realized I couldn’t get her to
do anything I wanted her to do. First I had to assert my dominance over
her and then and only then would she become an obedient horse and submit
to me. “She’s an alpha female,” one of my equestrian friends
explained. At the words “alpha female” I remember feeling a sense
of dread. As a single black woman with her own PR agency, it’s a title
I’ve heard many times before. It’s also one I’ve learned to dread
because it is usually stated as a negative trait that results in a
lonely yet successful stretch of life.

Living in Atlanta, GA land of the successful black girl, I am surrounded
by women that share my ambition and passion to be a conscientious
influencer. In a city with over 80,000 AA single females the theory of
the lonely career woman that is too bossy to “catch a man” is an
urban legend. All of the woman in my past and immediate circle have
been varying types of alpha females, business owners, doctors, lawyers,
etc. we are over achievers and yes many of us are single. As an
entertainment publicist I have the opportunity to speak with men on a
daily basis and many of them are turned off by a female peer. “I
don’t want an alpha female,” one told me bluntly, “I need a woman
who is able to support me and put me first.” Quite a hard pill to
swallow for someone who has become comfortable with the woman they are
and have realized that authenticity is the passageway to inner peace. So
if I am an alpha female, now what?

sherides

Aside from constantly hearing negative feedback on alpha females from my
entertainment industry counterparts, I began working with my pride and
joy two summers ago, almost every other day. Paris was hard to win over
and very stubborn. I brought apples, carrot sticks and all types of
treats but she remained stand offish, preferring instead to boss around
the other horses instead of canoodle with me when I appeared at the
barn. One day while riding her a trainer saw me struggling with getting
her to leave the barn. “She’s afraid of everything, “he said in a
brisk accent. “What do you mean she’s afraid? She just doesn’t do
anything I want her to do,” I replied frustrated. He laughed out loud
to my chagrin. “No she is afraid. Your horse is a leader; she wants to
be in control. You’re taking her someplace that she isn’t familiar
and that’s scary to her. She doesn’t trust you to lead her. You have
to gain her trust.”

The trainer’s words struck a chord in me and I realized how much I had
in common with my horse. A passionate creative who has always been
confident in her work, I feel comfortable when operating at work. I am
confident in my skillset and know what I bring to the table. Much like
Paris at her barn and pasture; the PR/Marketing field is my terrain and
there are few people who can tell me things I don’t know about PR
strategy. It would be shocking for people outside of my close circle
of family and friends to know that when she takes her work hat off, the
PR girl with almost 10k Instagram followers, is painfully shy and would
rather be in a small group of friends than around a group of strangers.
Professionally social but personally introverted I struggle to balance
those two worlds. Like Paris, when out of my comfort zone I could be
read as resistant and stubborn even, but the truth is the resistance is
a sign of being uncomfortable and yes afraid.

Like myself many of my colleagues are extremely confident when it comes
to their trade, but unsure of themselves when interacting on a non-work
level with people, especially the opposite sex. To be judged for
something outside of work is something that makes an over achiever feel
vulnerable almost to the point of panicking. Many of us thrive on our
ability to conquer our weaknesses through determination and being a
conscientious worker, these formulas don’t always translate the same
way to interpersonal relationship. There are no tests, licenses or
degrees that can guarantee success in intimate relationships so it
leaves many alpha females feeling unsure of themselves and unable to
cope.

After working with Paris consistently for almost a year, I pulled into
the driveway leading to her pasture one day not expecting anything
different than our usual routine. I had my bag of treats and my tack and
was preparing to get out of the car when I looked up and saw her
barreling towards the gate after recognizing my truck. It brought tears
to my eyes that not only did she recognize me but she knew the sound of
my truck pulling up on the gravel. Her reception made every trip that
summer worth it. Not only did she start coming to the gate when I
pulled up but she’d also follow me when I went to get her and
eventually she started listening and obeying my commands. We were on a
camping trip one day and another rider remarked, “Wow you can tell
that’s your horse. She doesn’t want to be bothered with anyone
else.” My goal had been to have a relationship with my horse that was
special and this was proof that we’d finally gotten there.

Paris & Christal

Some of the characteristics assigned to alpha females in psychology
studies include being fiercely loyal and supportive of those they love.
While I don’t believe some men are cut out to be in a relationship
with an alpha female, I would suggest to others– they could be missing
out on a great partner. I am a testament with my willful mare Paris
Hariq. Although she wasn’t easily impressed, once I’d won her over,
the relationship has proved uniquely ours and the bond is stronger than
most owners have with their horses. She isn’t going to follow the
first person that walks up to the fence with an apple and for me that
reward was worth the wait.

By Christal Jordan

Christal Jordan is the principal behind Enchanted Branding & Public Relations, a premiere entertainment agency based in Atlanta, GA. Jordan is also a freelance journalist and published author. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram via @enchantepr