This is the closest I have ever come to writing about love, thanks to Muwado’s Roland for the constant nudge to pen something for Valentine’s day. It’s one of those things I am surprisingly shy about. Do not ask me ‘Why’ because I have no answer, but here I am, thinking of love in a whole new way. This I will attribute to one word-smith I encountered recently through social media and this particular Twitter post stood out for me on the eve of Valentine’s Day, 2018. It says;
Now to say these words didn’t cut through to my heart would be a lie. I read and re-read these words and pondered on what he really meant. Then I watched Flicka, a 2006 movie about the Wild West and a wild horse (Mustang) that wouldn’t be tamed except by LOVE, the love of one girl. No force but love would settle this wild beast. And to crown the story, she had the following words to say;
“I believe there is a force in this world that lives beneath the surface, something primitive and wild that wakens when you need an extra push just to survive. Like wild forests that bloom after the fire turns a forest black.
Most people are afraid of it and keep it buried deep inside themselves. But there will always be a few people who will love what is untamed inside us.”
These two messages got me thinking about love and my ‘supposed’ experience of it and asking myself if I had ever truly appreciated what love is. Do I even know what love is? At this rate, I think not. I have mixed feelings about all this now and I am trying to work through it.
First and foremost, I acknowledge the Love of God. This love by the Lord Almighty, my true Father and source of all things true. For every moment I have pondered what a force love is, I have grown closer to Him who gives it. He has nurtured me through it all, even when I looked the other way and momentarily forgot about Him. He never blinks and never tires. Oh how many times He corrects me. I love how He reminds me that it is Him I need. And how fresh it feels to acknowledge His presence in my life. Read Proverbs 3:11-12
If you have never known the love of an earthly father, you may have nothing to compare with the heavenly Father’s love. His love is more gentle than a mother’s breast and stronger than a father’s arms at the same time. It is more intimate than a lover’s caress. It is more consistent than a child’s affection. It is agape. It is God’s love. If you could ever fathom it- His love alone would heal the aching of your broken heart. He absolutely adores you. – Bishop T.D Jakes
And as I stumbled around some more, trying to understand love as we humanly perceive it and find clarity, this post found its way to my space. It’s a conversation between Kiah McBride and Billy Chapata, whose tweet I captured earlier in this post. She asks;
Would you say this generation has a false perception of love? What’s your perception of the current state of love?
Billy: I think this generation of love is just very skewed, and it’s very misleading.
… we base love on the premise of it being a feeling, and the problem with feelings is that feelings are fleeting. So if you feel happy or you feel sad, whatever the case may be, feelings are fleeting—they come and go. And the problem with basing your idea of love on the fact that it’s a feeling is that you’re also giving me (read: your loved one) the permission to just come and go as well.
“Love, in all honesty, is a choice.”
Read the full post here.
Do you now get why I am confused about this whole love affair? The hustle is real, I tell you! But in all this, and after looking back on the few relationships I have had in the name of love (count family and friends too), I believe I got it all wrong. While I so much wanted to love the other person and make them happy enough to stay, I forgot that if I didn’t love myself first, I would never be truly able to love another person. Nobody else can make me truly happy. They can contribute to feelings of joy and satisfaction but happiness is my responsibility.
More importantly, you cannot give what you don’t have. Oprah says it best; “It’s okay to be full of yourself, because it’s only when your cup is overflowing that you can be able to serve others.” You can’t keep giving from an empty place. You have to keep yourself grounded, full. This may sound selfish but I have experienced it. I am at a point where I feel tired, drained and now I know, I have been giving a lot of what I did not have. It tires you emotionally, so you have to pull back a bit and take care of you first. Give the love to yourself first.
My third decade just dawned and with it, Hope. I hope that I will love harder than I have ever loved. I hope that I will have someone deserving to share this love with and who will truly love me back.
My twenties were a roller-coaster ride, graced with enough bumps to summon maturity out of me, just enough to appreciate the life and experiences I have so far. And above all, to learn to love right and to never forget myself in this picture.
That said, I celebrated myself on Valentine’s day. Not by doing anything out of the ordinary, but by renewing this relationship with me, and committing to myself in a way I had never done before. Allowing myself to feel and get lost in the motions of my emotions, taking note of every moment. And so it will be all year through and beyond. Therefore, to myself I say;
Lastly, a few titles I will be reading as I enjoy this self love include; Billy Chapata’s Sour Honey & Soul Food, for obvious reasons and A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson because every excerpt screams ‘it’s worth a read’ and Lupita N’yongo endorsed it. I’ll leave you with a famous quote from this book.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”