The world has always made Love look so one dimensional. I grew up accepting the notion that if you didn’t have that ‘Jack & Rose’ love; that ‘The Notebook’ type love, then you were probably just settling or practicing in the hopes that, some day, you’d miraculously stumble upon your “soul mate” and your hearts would know exactly what to do.
I’m almost 23 now and I’ve found, to no one’s surprise, that nothing and especially not Love, works out the way things do in the movies. I’m not disappointed at this. It’s simply a matter of fact.
I find myself asking, however, “What is Love?”. All my life, I’ve been surrounded by strong, independent black womxn who never really (for lack of a better word) “succeeded” in the realm of love and things related. In the event that they found themselves enamored, for however long or short a period of time it was, it resembled nothing even remotely similar to what I had been taught Love was supposed to be. And if that wasn’t enough to cause immense confusion, my early introduction to the “men are trash” rhetoric at age 10 only left me more perplexed when it came to matters of the heart.
I am still constantly plagued by the question, “what does love look like and am I capable of it?”. What does it even mean to be in love as a cis gendered heterosexual Black Radical Feminist womxn? How do I allow myself to love and be loved by the very same being that makes my mere existence almost unbearable? I had once perceived Love as a distant acquaintance whom I thought of fondly and had wished to know intimately, but now I fear that Love could turn out to be no more than an unwanted guest that may overstay their welcome and proceed to ruin all my furniture. Love now appears a violence unto myself. How do I teach a man to look at me and see humxn when the world has taught him to consider me womb, consider me trophy, consider me sacrifice and anything else that rendered a service to him and left me with none of me to give to myself? My entire life, I watched womxn make martyrs of themselves for “good men” who didn’t know any better because they inherited demons that no God had been able to wash them clean of.
Most days, I feel that black people are too far gone, too damaged and too jaded to ever know Love; Love that suffers little and enjoys much; Love that gives just as readily as it takes; Love that is not sustained by capitalistic sensibilities but proves itself through understanding and acceptance and even in the empty spaces you leave for one another to grow both in and around each other.
At this point in my life, all I have is questions and I have no idea where to start looking for the answers because even if I looked inside myself, I’m afraid that this system that raised me, the system I hate so passionately, will warp my truths to suit itself as it has done for centuries. What I do know is that there is Love and I’m as sure of it as I am sure that there is God, but still I wonder what it would look like if I happened to come across it and called it by name.