(Trigger Warning: This newsletter discusses police brutality and the murder of Tyre Nichols. Please be advised)
I hope this post finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe in the new year!
Thank you so much for your patience as I reconnect with you. You may be are aware that we had a crisis with our child (they, them, their) during the holidays. I am happy to report that they are responding well to both medical and behavioral support. Furthermore, their dad and I have strengthened our co-parenting relationship to support them in thriving and living a long and healthy life.
In addition to supporting my kiddos mental health journey, I am happy to report that the breast cancer scare I have been quietly dealing with for the last two years is over! I greatly appreciate your prayers and well wishes during this challenging time and am excited to be back into the groove of writing once again! Oh how I have missed you!!!
Ok, ok! Enough of the mushy stuff! Let’s get into today’s word about Radical Self-Love vs. Self-Hate…
From Self-Hate to Self-Love
Like many of you, I am heartbroken/disgusted/furious by the brutal death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of six Memphis police officers: 5 Black officers and 1 white officer. Furthermore, the blatant disregard for life by the EMT’s who were onsite for almost 30 minutes without administering the necessary care that could have saved Tyre’s life, was abhorrent.
He was just trying to get home.
As I listened to the commentary around what would make 5 Black officers beat an unarmed Black man as they did, I reflected yet again on the self-loathing/internalized oppression that we (myself included) have been force fed. These lies about ourselves that we then impose onto others are continuing to destroy us. It makes me think about why the Commandment of “Love your neighbor as you do yourself ” has become increasingly more challenging in this digital age.
Record scratch moment here. What I am saying is not the “What about Black-on-Black crime” argument (This ain’t that). White supremacist, heteronormative, capitalistic patriarchy built and thrives on both external and internal oppression. All day, every day.
Here’s A Thought: If I treat myself in hellish ways behind the camera because I am embodying the lies forced upon me, but attempting to hide my true feelings while in front of the camera, then surely those who come in contact with me in real life are going to “catch wreck” (shout out to Hip Hop turning 50 with me this year) due to the emotional/spiritual disconnection.
Yet, if I love myself from the inside out, I am reconnecting to my essence. I will have the wherewithal, tools and the capacity to love others where they are in their journey. My boundaries will communicate my love and safe place I am creating so that I have capacity to see and love others. I will also be able to be honest with myself and can provide space for others who are working on their own Love Curriculum. When I see myself getting stuck in stories I have created about others, I am able to stop and remember that the Hate Curriculum imposed on us has centuries of traction. I am also clear that aspiring to dismantle or extinguish hate while utilizing hate does not create justice:
It creates hostile work environments.
It creates unhealthy family interactions.
It creates abusive relationships with self and others.
It creates a you that is not you.
It creates mothers mourning their children.Pictured here, Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells: Parents of Tyre Nichols. Sadly, a posture we have seen far too many times.
We can love people while revoking their access to damage us as they heal (if they so choose to heal). We can love ourselves while holding ourselves accountable for pain and damage we caused when we hated ourselves and exacted that hate into the world. We are blessed by The Loving Creator of our Souls to generate and renew the love that has never left us. However, we have to do the work of uprooting the lies that hate has planted.
My prayer for us is that we have the courage to tell ourselves what I called in a prior post, the “inconvenient truths” about ourselves and the people around us. Here are 7 questions that may help us as we soften our hearts to ourselves and those around us:
7 Questions: Early Messages
- What was the earliest message of hate I received?
- Who was the person/people who delivered the message of hate to me?
- What messages of hate do I think that person received based on their generation, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, and other identities known to me?
- What has been the impact of the messages of hate on my life, relationships and dreams?
- What Radical Love responses/inconvenient truths can counter the message(s) of hate I received?
- What, if anything, is holding me back from fully embracing this radical love into my day-to-day experiences and interactions with myself and others?
- What is my plan for actively engaging in what Dr. Cornel West deemed during his 2011 Howard University speech the “unarmed truth and unapologetic love” for this month?
Thank you for allowing me to travel this road with you! I am really excited about all of the release and renewal taking place around me and I look forward to celebrating you and your life as well! Wishing you continued joy, hope, love and liberation.