I thought it very appropriate to make this post during the month of February to hype LOVE.
A friend recently, recommended the book The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The book is centered around ideas of beauty and the internalized racism that women of color often face. The main character often wishes she had blue eyes because then she would be loved. Women of color face judgement about their bodies, shade of their skin, and texture of their hair. The intersections of race and gender play out in so many ways. One place is in romantic relationships.
In my current romantic relationship, I have been witnessing my own self hatred. I have noticed how it can dangerously change love to abuse. I am not saying I am in an abusive relationship but I am saying that insecurities that are reinforced by colonization and internalized racism are connected to self-esteem and mental health. And then, into your relationships.
Patriarchy is detrimental to relationships not just romantic relationships but familial relationships, friendships, and social interactions. I have heard my own male friends talk about the lack of affection that they have received from their fathers as a result of patriarchy and ideas of what a real man should be. Many of them have said that hugs were rare or non-existent and that they never really knew if their fathers loved them. Men taught to be dominate, aggressive, emotionally suppressed and sometimes violent are all results of patriarchy. It does not allow men to connect with their emotions or connect with others around them.
Everyone needs to be nurtured, loved and affirmed. We as a community, we as humans, should love each other and care for each other. That is one of the most revolutionary things we can do- to put others before ourselves and open to affirming your partner, children, friends, and family to be themselves. No matter who they are or what they believe in.
The MARRIAGE CREED
• COMFORT EACH OTHER…Provide a refuge and sanctuary for each other from the chill winds of the world. Your marriage is a hearth, from whence comes the peace, harmony, and warmth of soul and spirit.
• CARESS AS YOU WOULD BE CARESSED…Warm your loved one’s body with your healing touch. Remember that as babies can die with lack of touching, so marriages can wither from lack of closeness.
• BE A FRIEND AND PARTNER…Friendship can be a peaceful island, separate and apart, in a world of turmoil and strife. Reflect upon the tranquility of the many future years you can share with a true friend and beware of becoming battling enemies under the same roof.
• BE OPEN WITH ONE ANOTHER…Bind not yourselves in the secretness that causes suspicion and doubt. Trust and reveal yourselves to each other, even as the budding rose opens to reveal its fragrance and beauty. REALLY LISTEN…and hear not only words, but also the non‐language of tone, mood, and expression. Learn to listen in order to understand rather than listening to argue.
• RESPECT EACH OTHER’S RIGHTS…Remember that each is a person of flesh and blood, entitled to his or her own choices and mistakes. Each owns himself and has the right to equality.
• ALLOW FOR INDIVIDUALITY…Seek not to create for each other a new mold that can only fit with much discomfort and pain. Accept the other as he or she is, just as you would have yourself accepted.
• GIVE MUTUAL APPROVAL…Remember, criticism divides while compliments encourage confidence in the other. Hasten not to point out the other’s mistakes, for each will soon discover his own.
• CHERISH YOUR UNION…Let no one come between your togetherness…not child, not friend, not worldly goods. Yet maintain enough separateness to allow each other his or her own uniqueness.
• LOVE ONE ANOTHER…Love is your river of life‐‐‐your eternal
I believe in unconditional love. I believe that it can exist and it can be healthy. Love yourself, first then loving your community, partner, and family will come easy.