The most difficult times in a woman’s life are when she is alone. The difficulty lies in the horror felt by a grown woman upon realising that she is facing an endless procession of dreary days without the warmth of affirmation and the comfort of just being, without being approved of as she is. In my view love is not love if it does not come with acceptance.
I have learnt -some might say the hard way- that love cannot exist where there is falsehood. I have determined that when love comes I will have no trouble recognising it because it will be without guile or subterfuge; it will manifest boldly, freely, bodaciously. I believe in love that is unashamed, certain, determined, sure; love that is faithful and loyal, love that chooses to love even through the longest winter and the darkest day.
I’ve complicated love in my past by trying to turn things that were not love, into love. Things like lust, desire, loneliness, fear, co-dependence…those things we hide in ourselves and find in others, things that, unfortunately, form the foundations of our most intimate relationships because we rarely dare to just be who we are. If you think about it, most of our relationships are founded on lies, on things that imitate love because love is hard and doing the easier thing is always, well, easy, which is why we do it so often. Those relationships based on lies and misrepresentation of self are common because everybody settles, as my hero (you know yourself) would say. But with all of that said, I dare to dream.
I dream about real relationships, the ones where you don’t have to perform, the ones where you can be random and petty because this is a safe space and they don’t judge, and where you can admit your lack of motivation to do housework and nobody thinks that makes you a bad person because it’s just one more thing to know about you. The conversations in such relationships are free, open, honest; it’s how we talk to our bestest friends. At least, that’s what I think it’s like to have a real best friend, to be someone like Monica and have a Chandler in your life, or Temperance with a Seeley Booth. Someone who can absolutely take all of your love with it’s fears and delusions of grandeur, and love you truly, madly, deeply in return.
Have you read my writing on love? It’s fantastic. No, I mean it’s fantastic as in improbable, implausible; nonsensical. Well, be that as it may that’s what I want. That implausible, improbable kind of love, the stuff my dreams are made of. I want that and up until very recently, I didn’t realise that I’ve been cheating myself of the thing I really want – to be loved for who I am- by never being who I truly am. It struck me that the reason I have not been loved how I want is that I haven’t always been honest about what I want, nor strong enough to respond appropriately, honestly, when I was presented with things that pretended to be love, but weren’t. I am older now and better loved, and as a result of both I am able to love myself and others authentically.
Living life by performing truth. The world’s a stage and all that.
Well, I’ve decided to play the part I really want to play. If the world’s a stage and life a performance, best believe I’m the star of this show called My Life.
On Writing as Self-administered Therapy
This reminds me of public speaking in high school. Yes; shy, introverted, socially-awkward me who always puts her foot in it by saying the wrong thing- this shy woman was once an awkward but award-winning public speaker. My command of the English language flees in social situations (but not when I’m training, funny that) and I often struggle to express myself when speaking; but the words I write! My God!
You don’t know how therapeutic writing is for me. I don’t do it just for the likes although those serve their purpose. I write because words are my life, the grace that saves me. This is why I’ll write books, and why I’ll once again be a public speaker: because that is who I am. I am the woman who writes, who speaks her passion and lives it, bodaciously. I want to be that woman. I am that woman. In the show that is my life, the part I can play most effectively, most authentically, most truthfully, is that part. In the show that is MY life, that is who I am.
Who are you showing up as, in your life?
I choose to show up as the passionate black woman writer/speaker who loves wildly, freely, deeply, and is loved as much in return.
So yes, it’s difficult to be alone, it is so very very hard, but what’s harder still is trying to turn into love anything pretending to be love. Love cannot be apart from truth, and I would far rather be alone, than be lied to.