PLAY AUDIO VERSION OF TEXT
I remember 5/17; 817am because I caught a revelation as I cried out hung up on number 5. Number 5 of my non-negotiables in love. There is no harm in love. I got caught up, cause I knew that every time we communicated, there was no commune. That there was so much harm in this love from a lack thereof and I almost missed it from being immune.
I get breathless when I think about it now, because this is the story I waited to tell. But, I kept swallowing it down.
Purposely protecting you and harming myself.
Purposely loving you and numbing myself.
Purposely showing you and darkening myself.
Purposely wanting you and denying myself.
Settling IN love.
I waited until I was ready to tell you this story.
When I could see and articulate my own stuff.
To serve you the truth as only I can.
My lesson in love for so long has been a lesson in lack.
On 5/17- 8:17am, I caught the revelation. But I’ve known this lesson since my foundation. I choose this lesson because lack feels like home for me. I choose this lesson because instability feels familiar to me. I choose this lesson because less than feels like enough to me. Malnourished. Starved emotions. Starved affection feels like comfort to me.
The little girl in me knows lack to be like a piece-meal, like a project, a love story to me.
A story that began with my mama, but rear-ended when my grandparents took me in at fourteen.
But, even then they could only undue so much of the trauma that had already happened to me.
Lack is like marrow in the bones.
Their fifty plus years of marriage couldn’t save me nor my mama from a lesson in love as lack.
A lesson in pretending to be full. A lesson in pretending to be loved. A lesson in pretending to be nourished.
There is no harm in love and I didn’t notice it.
It’s silence deafening. Heart too busy impractically re-imagining and recreating any small act to a phenomenal feat in love.
A hallow place in the hollow of my life. The hollow so hungry I kept feeding it with anything that looked like love, with anything that made me feel like love-like full. Years intertwined shape-shifted feeding patterns from sex to alcohol to food. To be honest I’ve gotten a good hold of most of these except food, cause food is a more acceptable coping strategy, but no less safe. No less safe than the harm lack has caused.
I am responsible, but you are complicit in this too. That void you came with I could never fill, because even you didn’t know what was eating away at you.
You can’t be there for me, because you can’t even be there for yourself.
I walk into a room you don’t notice me, you can’t even see yourself.
You don’t see I’ve changed.
I shake myself. I mourn for you. I don’t have the emotional energy left to give. Yet, I am still responsible for you. And I cry out from wanting your heart to remember it’s tenderness. To be kind. To be gentle with yourself. To not escape an inescapable life. You are the north star to all the Black men in my life. And even you could not protect me from the harm you did not know.
Does anybody out there know how that feels? To walk in a room and not be seen. To walk in a room and nobody even turn their head to notice you. Three Black men not so randomly stared me down this week most likely caught up in my aura. But, I could walk right past you in the living room, light my voice and eyes as I come home from work to look at you, graze your hand, lean up against you in the kitchen and you still not see me.
Not 14 anymore, but 31. Thirty-one.
Grown. Evolved. Come into my fullness as a woman.
To not be seen fully by you, hurt far too much. Pretending was the bruise.
I remember stopping myself in the mirror that Sunday and reminding myself, I see you girl.
I see you girl.
I see you girl.
I see you girl.
There is no lack in you.
My sister prayed for me that day.
That day I told her I know you don’t see me. And with sweetness so soft as the wet dew in the mourning and cool watermelon she said, “ I see you too. My heart was aching for you. Because I want you to have a partner in full intimacy to see the work you done and recharge you with the love you deserve and desire. You love thoroughly. You love fully and all in.”
Fully and all in she said.
That’s what I know for sure. That I missed it, because I was fully and all in. Thoroughly loving myself and pretending it was the love I was getting from you. The blinders came off when the pandemic came and 2020 gave me the silent stillness to see the safety and security I was searching for in a relationship with you. I had already given it to myself. Already given it to myself.
Settling for mediocre versions of love used to feel like respite for me. But, today it no longer serves me.
All I knew was lack. Until I didn’t anymore. And I’m not angry with you or her. I don’t numb her. I don’t deny her. I let her feel the boundlessness, gravitas, gravity of love. It has been the best gift I have ever given myself, in the practice of radically loving myself.
There is such a thing as too much harm in love.
There is such a thing as necessary endings.
There is such a thing as when you know better, you do better.
And I’ve come to the conclusion, I cannot choose this life anymore and the emptiness it serves. My love is too full, too thorough to throw away in a pitless mound. Because it wouldn’t matter how much time ‘I gave it’, how much service ‘I made it”, how manys words ‘I say it’, how many rubs ‘I saved it’. Love would never be enough, for someone who doesn’t want it, know it, or do their soul’s work.
My Rx is, I don’t choose love in lack anymore.
I love fully and all in. I learned that from you, from Kaneisha, from Derrika, from Zora, from every Black and Brown person I love, create safe space for and embrace.
I love fully and all in.
I don’t have to search for ways to make myself feel full anymore.
I am fully and all in.
I see you girl, there is no lack in you.