Breaking the Shackles: Committing to an Enduring Black Love
By Scottie Lowe
There is a war going on. A war is being waged between Black men and Black women. Black women want to blame Black men for the demise of Black relationships and Black men want to blame Black women. Over and over again, I hear Black people saying that they have given up on love when I’m not even sure we as Black people have a clear understanding of what love really is. Sure, people can say that they still believe in love but if we don’t know what love really is believing in it is sort of a moot point. Our models of “love” are based on an inherence of dysfunction passed down from slavery, oppression, racism, bigotry, and patriarchy. Our models of “love” are based on repeating our parent’s dysfunction. Our models of “love” are based on what Hollywood tells us is romantic. I think the fact that we don’t know what love really is, that we can’t define it, that we don’t understand its parameters is what’s keeping us from it, not if we believe in it or not.
People are quick to say, “Slavery was in the past, what happened back then doesn’t have an effect today.” Well, Black people have been raised, socialized, and programmed for generations to internalize every pain, heartache, and tragedy as if it is nothing more than just another drop in the bucket and it has tragic consequences on our relationships. It’s Black people who suppress our emotions, who treat depression like it’s a normal way of life because we have been taught that to do anything less is paramount to a sin and a shame. The messages that black people have passed on, that we wear as badges of honor, aren’t healthy. In fact, they are the key factors to us having high blood pressure in outrageous numbers, of us dying from heart disease exponentially more than any other race, and that prevent us from forming healthy relationships. It is our legacy from slavery. Since Africans landed on these shores, we have been told to suffer in silence in order to make it to another day. To feel pain is to be considered weak; it’s not even an option for many of us. The toll of that belief system is feeling so angry inside, so disconnected, that we are afraid to open up, to reveal our true selves to our partners so we pretend to be something we aren’t and we suffer for it by never knowing true and abiding love.
Failure to process pain isn’t a good thing. Constantly projecting an image of hardness isn’t a healthy thing either. African Americans are so conditioned to be the emotionless and hard that we fail to realize that we are living in a constant state of depression that is killing us. We can’t even grasp the concept that there is a better way to live, that we can live life more abundantly, joyfully, and peacefully if we embrace our vulnerability rather than just pushing down the pain until it eats us up. We will forever be tied to slavery, and a slave mentality, as long as we as a people refuse to accept that our pain isn’t the foundation of our identity. We have to start loving ourselves enough to admit that it’s okay to break down, to cry, and to admit when we are overwhelmed, process those feelings and then HEAL. The objective is not to wallow in our despair but to acknowledge that we have been hurt, that we need nurturing and love and to find that source of love inside first and then to seek it out in potential partners who will help us move to a higher plane.
Black men don’t suffer with depression in the same ways as Black women. Men are obviously affected in different ways because they seem to internalize and rationalize in different ways. It’s more than apparent that black men don’t have the same ability or potential to be as introspective as women do so they appear to live rather contently with their refusal to look at their own lives. They’ve mastered the art of displacing any sense of personal responsibility onto the backs of black women and seem pretty content with rationalizing how faultless they are in the process. Black men are depressed, but they show it by numbing the pain with adrenaline, women, drugs, and denial. Rather than facing responsibility, they run away from it. Women are tied to our depression through our umbilical cords, through our wombs. We can’t hide from the sexual abuse that has scarred us emotionally. We can’t run away from the pain of rape and the abortions and the children that are our daily reminders of the accomplishments we didn’t achieve, our dreams deferred.
The vast majority of us don’t come from loving, two parent homes. When we do come from two parent homes, in far too many instances, the relationships aren’t loving but full of fighting, resentment and anger. We can’t build a healthy relationship if we don’t even know what one looks like up close and personal. What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. It seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2013 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build stronger relationships.
Being loved means being supported and encouraged, being accepted, cherished and honored. Being loved is a feeling so indescribable, so comforting, so encouraging and it’s based on someone else cherishing your feelings, caring about your entire being just for who you are.
What does love look like to you?
What does love feel like?
What makes love last?
Describe what your perfect loving relationship would be like.
Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves as a community if we want to end the war and choose to open ourselves to an enduring love.
Scottie Lowe is the founder, CEO, and the creative driving force behind www.AfroerotiK.com, THE most unique website dedicated to showing the true beauty of Black sexuality in all its many facets. Tired of erotica that portrayed black women as man-stealing gold diggers and brainless nymphos, and black men as thugs, players, and emotionally immature dick-slingers, she decided it was time to write erotica that represented the complexity and full spectrum of African Americans.
Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.