Just 4 days before Election Day. This image is my last reminder/plea to you to vote [Image reads: VOTE! We Died for This]. Please be safe in all the ways you must enact safety during this election season.
Given everything going on in our world, I thought I would make a slight departure in this week’s post. I want to examine some of the positive things that still exist in our COVID-world. So today, I am going to examine Love.
How are you going to go from telling people to be safe during an election that is riddled with white supremacist, zenophobic, hate-filled rhetoric AND practices, to wanting to talk about Love, Sis? HOW?!?
I am going to focus on Love because as a Poet, it is a bonafide job requirement. So sit back on this Halloween-eve, pause from all your Zoom-ing and explore with me.
A former student and a dear friend of mine got married last Saturday. She and her partner have been together for 18 years and have seen each other through countless life experiences, including surviving breast cancer. She called me the Friday before her wedding as she was rounding the corner into Bridezilla-mode. She hadn’t quite gotten there yet, but you could hear in her voice that if pressures continued to mount, we would have a full on Bridezilla moment on our hands.
I was glad she called me when she did. I was in a really good place in my mindspirit because I just had a great call with one of my clients only moments prior. In addition, I was still celebrating my talk for the University of San Diego’s virtual Homecoming event. The panel discussion was entitled, “Living Beyond the Limits: Stories of Success and Opportunities.”
All four panelists told stories of not only resilience, but also times when we have had to stand against conventional ways of operating to make change for the better in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This way of rejecting old societal scripts of relationships and building anew was also the case for my dear friend who was preparing for her wedding.
During our call, I asked her to talk about what works well in her relationship as a way to have her refocus her energy away from the wedding dress issue she was attempting to fix (trying to solve any problem when you are highly frustrated is rarely optimal). Something my friend said made me very curious. She began reflecting on a number of experiences and said that her relationship with her partner has never been hard. She mentioned how she would often hear those around her say that relationships are hard/hard work. She pushed back on that idea and said that her relationship with her mate has been one of the least challenging areas in her life. She began to talk about who he was to her, how he was with her and how they worked as a couple. Then she dropped this gem on me “Kecia, he answers the call I never have to make.”
“You said what now?” was the thought that ran through my head when she said that statement. Instead of asking the question in that way, I asked her to give me an example of what that statement looked like in their relationship. She told me a beautiful story about how the words she chose to describe her relationship was a literal description.
She told me about a time when she was battling cancer and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital.A time when she was battling the cancer in her body and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital. Without anyone notifying her partner or the use of cell phone tracking, he met her at the hospital because “he felt something wasn’t right, he knew where I was heading, he knew what I was dealing with and when he didn’t hear from me he got worried. The doctors came to me and said, ‘Miss, there is a man here to see you.’’’ At that point she turned to find it was her partner! Wow! Talk about a bond!
While I could tell she had mentally and spiritually gone back to that moment when he showed up at the hospital for her without her having to call him, I told her to step away from her wedding dress and to sit in gratitude for what they had. I told her that I appreciated what she shared about how relationships don’t have to be hard because life already was challenging enough. Even when you are in a good place in your life, have a partner where nurturing each others wellbeing is a thing, are in the right role in your life and you’re doing what feeds your soul, challenges still occur. Yet your energy and ways of coping are very different when your internal world is in alignment. Unfortunately, some of us have been encouraged by well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people in our lives to live completely out of alignment and create Trauma Bonds that impersonate Love.
Wait! That’s what you’re supposed to do as an adult: Work hard, have hard relationships, handle hard problems and eat hard food (ok that last one is optional, but you understand where I am going here). Said another way, we have resigned to the societal and generational toxicity that work, relationships, life in general is supposed to be traumatic and oppressive.
As we are in the process of re-imagining and redesigning our society, and we are blessed to have a generation around us that is not only questioning EV-ERY-THING, they are also working towards dismantling structures that are antiquated, destructive and downright unhealthy; I would love for you to ponder with me about the messages we have received about Love and Happiness (Not the Al Green song, though).
I say this often and will continue to do so; I am in no way shape or form discounting the very real forms of oppression that exist around and within us. In spite and despite all of the hate, and man-made barriers to health, wealth and liberation, what would happen if we were committed to re-imagining everything…especially our loving relationships with others?
Why must suffering be the litmus test to so many parts of our lives? I know from my own religious upbringing in Christianity, that Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a critical part of our doctrine. Thankfully, I have a mother who could rival any religious scholar and she often points out that most people only focus on the suffering that occurred on our behalf. However, there was a point where the suffering ended and the REAL miracle, what Christians call The Resurrection–the transformation that came after the suffering was done and the Promise was fulfilled.
Do you feel like you are fulfilling your promise in your life and in your relationships? Here are a few more questions for us to consider as we head into the weekend:
- (Since tomorrow is Halloween) What, if anything, scares me about Love?
- What are some of the trauma scripts that I have been taught related to Love?
- Am I able to identify when I am acting from trauma that is masking as Love?
- How or in what ways am I committed to disrupting and dismantling trauma bonds in myself and/or supporting that work in others around me?
- Have I found ways to show genuine love at work, at home and in my community during 2020?
- What am I committed to doing in 2021 to bring love more fully into my interactions with myself and others?
This lesson is a BIG one for me and one I am still working through, especially as a mother who wants her daughter to live a far more liberated life filled with love and far less trauma connected to it. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to comment on this post or email me and tell me your thoughts about this Love thang.
Congratulations, Tiffany! BTW, thank you for letting me help you create a playlist for your special day! I love you and wish you and your beloved a love so powerful that its force rivals any waterfall (inside joke).
Love, Justice & Liberation