What is modern day love?
Love is… dedicating space in your heart, time in your life, and an open invitation to your experiences to another person. It’s simple in word but yet so complicated an action. It’s everything, not just one thing… a feeling, an emotion, an act, an idea, an event. It’s the ultimate act of compassion, peace, trust, passion, and God… love is God. It’s being is easy to believe in, but having unconditional faith in love’s promise is hard. Easy, yet hard. Hard, yet soft. Soft, yet strong. Strong, yet fragile. Love is…
Gone are the days when most women focused on being a wife and didn’t have the professional and social sphere to contend with. When you add to that, machismo, patriarchy, misogyny, and ego, let alone the myriad of other issues that face men of color, it has become more difficult to have a successful partnership. Love is hard. Women have to balance their often delegator roles professionally to helper roles in the home, and men need a space to be vulnerable even where they provide and protect and learn to modify but not eradicate that provision and protection in a modern society.
Since high school… me and Eros go back like candy necklaces and Alexander the Grapes. A serial monogamist… that’s what they call it. Love relationships, one after another, going on for years at a time. Call me Aphrodite or Oshun, cuz I does this love thing. But what I needed as a broke college student or a fresh out of law school government worker, is not the same as what I need now as an educated, professional woman who CAN take care of an entire household and everyone in it… but surely doesn’t want that added responsibility, especially after dealing with MC Insecure and the Asshole Crew at work.
The relationship I desire is with an equally professional, Black (my romantic and social preference), man of God who is ready to take on a world that constantly rejects us. For us, I want to spin a cocoon where we are safe to be who we are, successes and struggles, that he fights for with his bare hands, and that we both choose to enter daily. Call me Aphrodite to his Adonis, Oshun to his Ogun, Ruth to his Boaz.
Let’s paint a modern day love story!
“…spread the corner of your garment over me” Ruth 3:9
The story of Ruth and Boaz is a love story, indeed, but it seems both a historical and modern tale. Ruth and Boaz or Yuri and Yasir or Bey and Jay or me and… well you get the point. Ruth was independent. She was left without a patriarchal family, to care for her mother-in-law, and took a job farming on the land of Boaz. Boaz protected and provided for her. She spun a cocoon for she and Boaz, and he fought for them with his bare hands.
Today, most women aren’t grabbing egg creams between shopping excursions for the new crock-pot with the timer and a dress for the annual cotillion ball at noon. She is scarfing down last nights leftovers in fifteen minutes before her third meeting this week in a room full of men, all White with one Black token, who talk over her and question her suggestions like she’s commenting on spring lip colors and not the budget for the project she manages that has already made the company $2 million. Her professional and social life 9-6pm is calmed mainly by her morning knock to Knuck if You Buck turned all the way up in the car ride in to work , to singing loudly to Love on Top on the way home in bumper to bumper traffic.
So when she walks into the cocoon, the space is hers, safe and warm and inviting and soft and easy. She can put on her lounge clothes, pop on some music, cook a meal or heat up last nights chili, and greet him when he enters. She makes the castle grand for him, and he gives her the tools and space and safe freedom to do so. He covers her in peace and safety and provision, so she can help him navigate the world outside the cocoon because she can shed hers. In the cocoon she becomes a butterfly.
Likewise, most men of color, aren’t manning the Boardrooms and if they are, it’s with the stereotypes you see constantly on television hanging like tree limbs bearing strange fruit over their heads. They are often forced into siding with the majority, but only a Black man with his own personal example of a Black woman’s character, intellect, competency, and strength can fully stand up for diversity and inclusion. They have to give up a little of who they are, to fit in, or so they are told. So we are all told. And coming home to be treated like a King is his only solace.
So when he enters the cocoon, he can be fragile and strong. Soft and hard. Hard and easy. He can be her love, the love of God. And he can strip away the vestiges of Jim Crow and Jamestown that he still wears on his lapel, and just be Shawn, leave Jay out in the car, in the space she has created and cultivated. Jay is a pawn, a tool. Shawn is a King, the leader. He too fully realizes who he is inside the cocoon, and emerges each day better then the last, nurtured back to full health, to tackle the frenzy of -isms thrown at him daily. Touchdown!
In a modern day love story, Boaz needs Ruth, her independence is sexy, her hustle is magnetic, her intelligence is fuel for his fire, but her softness and gentleness is where he lays his head. Similarly, Ruth needs Boaz, his peace is calming, his charm and wit are poetic, his resilience is like fresh air, but his strength and safety are wrapped around her like Aretha’s full length mink, protecting her from the elements.
Love is… “so simple, a feeling, it’s everything.” -Beyoncé