Valentine’s Day is this weekend and it’s also Black History Month. I always find it interesting how we don’t see any realistic number of healthy Black relationships in media and ads. It’s as if the one time of year when they could be making the most money celebrating Black love–it’s instead highlighted that they don’t believe healthy Black love exists.
We are taught love stories from childhood. All the fairy tales have princesses falling in love with princes; unrequited love finding their true love; broken hearts being healed by love. Hardly any of those stories are Black.
I mean the Princess and the Frog–maybe. Kind of.
It’s hard as a Black woman who has obviously had multiple failed relationships to feel hopeful about love when I rarely ever really get to see it…and it almost feels like that sort of love- that storybook kind–that moves every mountain? This dedicated powerful love is only for other softer, easier-to-love women…
It begins to feel like a challenge to be vulnerable. I have to be open to the risk of heartbreak to meet that heartthrob. The idea of CHOOSING to be vulnerable and open at the risk of heartbreak seems preposterous.
Like why would I willingly risk that AGAIN?
When I began asking myself that question, “Am I ready to risk it all?” I realized that I honestly was. I’d taken the time to grow and learn that it is indeed a risk. Then, I had to get over my fear of it.
I started by asking myself what did the love I wanted look like. I wanted financial support, good sex, honesty, ambition, faithfulness, humor. I was surprised as I was noting in my journal because none of the examples I came up with were a love I saw in media, except Russell and Ciara. Every single other example I came up with was a Black couple that I knew personally! How can Black love be hard to find when surrounded by it?
The TV may not recognize, but I recognize real true LASTING loves where Black women aren’t victimized till a man begins to grow up. And that gave me hope…
I realized I want Black love because I know it exists. I want Black love because I believe in its power. I want to take that risk of heartbreak again because big risks equal big rewards, right? I want that rewarding love I see reflected when I hear my friend speak of her husband; when my mom talks about her wife; when Sterling K. Brown speaks of his wife Ryan Michelle Bathe! I’m reminded that, of course, Black love exists…
I have loved. Been loved. I will again. So on Valentine’s Day when all the commercials are curly-haired brunettes getting engaged on bridges and beaches, remember: that’s just media. Black love does exist. We don’t need to choose to be okay with not being loved. We need to choose to be okay with risking heartache to find love.
[image from Medium.com]