Love IS: Part II

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.

For example:

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.” -Beyonc√©

Love IS: Part I

Scene…

To Him: “This is a 24/7 job do you understand me…When she’s sick, when she’s tired, when she just plain old don’t feel like it, she don’t have anybody to pass the baton to. Nobody’s here to pass it to. She’s the first one to get up in the morning, the last one to go down at night. She’s the mother, the father, the Doctor, the nurse, the chauffeur and the therapist…so you may not like her, but you damn sure are gonna respect her and you gonna thank her.”

To Her: “Baby he gone, he don’t want you no more. You got to let him go. You need to think about how you all are gonna raise [him] right now, together, with what you got right now!”

(Loretta Divine, Love Is)

Preach on preacher!

Parenting as a single person does not and should not ever be single parenting, parenting singularly and alone.

Parenting while single requires you to love in the right now, accept the situation as is, learn to be okay with it, own your responsibility in the outcome, and respect the parenting partner, especially if you are not properly parenting. It is required in order for you to raise a child who is not stuck trying to figure out how he or she fits into your inability to heal from a failed relationship and a failure to parent.

We pass on our trauma to our kids when we blame the active parent for demanding that we take part in parenting equally or respect them enough to allow them to make decisions on behalf of the child that we are not included in. It’s not their fault we aren’t included, we don’t include ourselves. They are left being the child’s everything…while we are given the space to be selfish, chase our dreams in a bubble, and practice continuous self-care while they have to schedule an hour alone to take a bath and read a chapter of a book they bought a year ago. We owe them a big thank you!

The truth is, we are usually plagued by both a broken heart and guilt. A broken heart for the failed relationship and guilt for allowing that pain to keep us from our kids, usually to avoid the love we lost by avoiding what that love created. We take our guilt out on them instead of figuring out how to be active parents, we disrespect them and hurt our children. We hurl ourselves deeper into an abyss of blame and anger that is actually our own creation. So we verbally abuse them. Name call, spread untruths or half-truths about them, and disrespect our past with them. We try to place our own guilt as blame upon them.

Our inability to be active parents is our own fault, NO fault of theirs!

Others of us hold on to the pain of what we lost, and punish the other party. Especially when that other party is co-parenting based on their own needs and not the needs of the child. It feels like a second rejection. It feels like a rejection of us and then a rejection of the greatest extension of ourselves, our children. But people are allowed to not want to be with you. That choice is theirs to make, if it is what is best for their life. As much as it may disappoint you, the end of your relationship with your child’s parent is not a tool of punishment where their child is concerned. Some of us withhold our children as pawns until the other party makes the moves we want to see. Others of us hold threats of court and child support over their heads as low hanging beams, hoping when they finally stand upright they will see the same stars their rejection left floating around in our heads. Then some of us are just bitches. And be very clear, I have not mentioned gender purposefully, because these are things both men and women do.

It shouldn’t be an option for people to choose to parent, but sadly it is a choice some people make. There is nothing we can do about that but leave the light on. Why? Well, the child’s relationship with their parent is their own, not yours to control. Of course if that other parent is hurting the child in some way, then by all means take the reins… but if it’s simply a matter of coming and going, that child will let you know their level of interest. And true to form, they will make up their own minds. A parent with an open invitation into their child’s life who doesn’t come to the party has their own issues, it’s a reflection of how they see themselves. Maybe this can help you release some of the anger you have regarding their absence. You are involved, but it’s not about you. The person most affected, is the child.

So everyone needs to start where they are… the relationship is over, but the child is here… in need of two parents. It takes two people to make a baby by God’s design, that design doesn’t stop at conception. The same way a man and woman fit together to make a child, they fit together to raise one.

Exit Scene…