When I told the small framed, Caucasian female Doctor in her mid-fifties, I sat beside on a flight that I wanted to write about love she asked me, “Well where did you learn about love? Who are you going to talk to?”
She wanted an answer that would point to informed opinions, to thorough research and well-honed theories of love.
How could I tell her, an upper middle class lady that lived a simplified life in the mid-west that I was writing from a space where I had experienced everything that love isn’t and somehow I figured that made me “qualified” to ponder love. That I am writing about love through some form of reverse osmosis and I still haven’t weeded out what is love from what it isn’t, but that I learn every single day. How can I explain that life had the audacity to give me a heart to ponder it, the life experiences to doubt its existence, then the willingness to discover it and try to write a god damned book about it?
It was at that moment I seriously questioned my ability to write about love. What do I know at the ripe old age of twenty nine? Do I really know anything about it? I am not in a relationship and I often make some pretty serious blunders. Kamikaze style, guns-a-blazing, I set fires. Fiyahhh.
I gave an ambiguous answer like, “I haven’t really thought about that so far but I have a few people in mind”.
Note to self: Find people who know what the fuck they are talking about.
She shifted the conversation to talk about her son’s recent marriage and how his wife sits on a committee that is working towards reclaiming their neighbourhood in what was once a not-so-good neighbourhood.
“With the housing prices, they did pretty good with what they had of course,” she chirped.
I bit my tongue when I wanted to point out that this is called “gentrification” and that this committee is probably having a ripple effect on those whom once, and probably still inhabit, the neighbourhood that live at or below the poverty line. I want to tell her that there is beauty in the unbeautified and the hardness of life holds some glorious moments that she would never be able to understand.
Alas, there is the “loved’s” that haven’t experienced the world as a heartless bitch that seems hell bent on your personal destruction, and there is the “loved me not’s” whom have experienced the comedic plot twists and spirit crippling trauma.
How do you communicate across that chasm? I recently spent time conversing with a man who did not laugh at my dark humoured jokes. When I talked about the relative who pulled a bat to get her mom to behave and get in the car with her as her new, and very shocked, boyfriend sat in the passenger seat, the man I talked to sat on the other end of the receiver silent, as I chuckled alone. My solo laughter indicated that I had some real shit that had happened to me in order to be desensitized to the story and to have reduced, “Get the fuck in the car Darla,” to a punchline. It’s funny how individuals with fairly stable childhoods and lives can make you feel like an emotional/social leper in those moments of silence without even knowing that it has that effect.
When I spoke of this apparent difference and distance, he told something along the lines that we aren’t where we were and we only have the present. It is nice to think like that, to believe that we are more than the sum of our historical maladies and triumphs. It is nice to think that I have just “became” and just “are” and can just “be”. I haven’t made it there yet, as I am still undoing, unraveling, and rebuilding myself.
I am a woman whose fierceness was born out of the fire.
I am a woman whom is learning to love from a gut wrenching howl.
I have been undone and made because of history.
Is it naïve of me to think it naïve of him to think that stepping out of history is completely obtainable?
As an Indigenous mixed blood woman, I have endured sexual abuse, sexual violence, racism, intergenerational trauma, poverty, addiction, amongst other shit. I have to pay homage to that history not because it has deemed me victim or should warrant me sympathy (barf, #fuckyourpity), but because it has named me conqueror, its presence in my life has reincarnated me as warrior. It is from this pock marked, peeling linoleum, broken glass past that I have learned how to love. It is because I have lived completely void of the ability to feel (a survival mechanism, feelings = going over the edge) and that I have acted callously that I am able revel in the ability to feel even the harder emotions and relish in being gentle and soft hearted. My history is what gives me the ability to love so god damned deeply. Only those whom have suffered deeply can understand what magical things that acceptance, healing, and prayer can cultivate in the space of old wounds
My love is the ocean. Depth. Salty. Soothing. Consuming. Calm. Wild.
My love is the Bermuda triangle. No explanations. No map. It is where the lost become found.
My love is a size Large bag of theater popcorn. Loves the fuck outta a good movie and is refillable. #Bottomless. (With a bag of m&ms because I like that shit too)
My love is a river. Willing. Nurturing those around it. Unconditional. It will create a path where there is none when needed.
My love is an Erykah Badu track on a Sunday morning that hits the spot immaculately and carries you away to a new frequency of dopeness. #canttouchthis
My love is a kaleidoscope. Shifting. Colourful. Everchanging beauty.
My love is a kool-aid you want to be dipping into.
I realized recently that I don’t have to have all the answers to write about love. I can only write about how real the journey is to reclaim it. I can offer an unflinching account of blunders and beautiful moments, where the world made sense or when it fell apart so that it could be rebuilt. The last thing we need is someone acting like they got all the shits in the world figured out when they are just as lost as the lot of us. I am not perfect. I fuck up. I am learning how to love myself through this all. When we are real, we give others the permission to be the same with us.