As for the actual subject of this post, it's something I've had on my mind for quite some time. I've had this post saved in bits and pieces in my Twitter drafts, my many composition books laying around the house, my notepad on my phone, napkins stashed in my purse...just...everywhere. After losing all my drafts a couple Twitter app updates back, I decided to go ahead and just put it all in one place, and publish it once and for all.
Over the past few months, as holidays flew by, and another cuffing season left many of us (read: me) un...cuffed, I've had the chance to have some very interesting conversations about love and relationships with family members and friends. You know, family reunions are prime time for those, "Nne, are you seeing anyone? ...No one? Surely there must be so-...do you want me to help you look?" type conversations.
Now, as much as I love being reminded that all my mates are getting married and most, if not all of my aunties were married or seriously involved by this time in my life and aren't I a bit behind and what of having children and yes, school is good but will books and degrees keep you warm at night and always #bridemaid never bride and woz d meaning of bae and...okay. Okay...let me chill. As much as I loathe those conversations, being around my family has actually allowed me the opportunity to talk out my feelings on a few issues. Mainly, as our biggest get-togethers centered around weddings, love.
Are we going to be able to find relationships like our parents? Do we even want that? Surprisingly, I was met with a lot of the same reactions. It dawned on me, maybe we're all facing the same reality.
Is long term, romantic love, the love we see in movies and in books, the love that's thrust into our faces when we turn on the television, is American/Western love a possibility for us, the children of immigrants?
Well...okay, I think that's actually a bunch of questions in one. Let me break it down into a few smaller pieces.
Are we capable of romantic love as we see it now? Can we build the type of relationships our parents have with the Disney/romantic-comedy ideologies we've been raised around?
Can we have our cake and eat it too? Can we be drunk in love off palm wine?
I don't think it's possible to achieve the same kind of long-standing relationships that past generations had with the mindset many of us have learned in modern times.
We can't have an "Ashton Kutcher meets Demi Lovato at the turn up function and first she friendzones him but then Demi meets Chris Brown she loves him, but he cheats on her with Karukacoo and she's sad and Ashton kisses her in the rain and tells her a funny joke and then they realize they were meant for each other all along and walk off screen and live long and prosper," type of relationship.
Or, if we do, it usually doesn't mesh well with the "Nkechi sat at home in her father's house and studied her books and learned all the best recipes from her mother and one day when she was in class with her head bent over a book, Emmanuel came and saw her and thought she was beautiful and had nice birthing hips so he called his elders and made an offer and then they got married and had you and that's why you must read your Bible so you can also marry" type of stories we were raised on.
There's a divide there that I just can't wrap my head all the way around.
And while the relationships our parents had/have are far from perfect, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of rom-com love is superficiality. Dizzying, dazzling, Hollywood ass superficiality.
Now, superficiality is all well and good. Everyone is entitled to a fantasy or two. (or ten, whose counting?). And standards are a given. But it seems we've come to think of our ideals as absolutes. We can't date men who are less than 6'9. We can't marry women who wear weave. We must marry Idris Elba, or at least his identical twin brother. We won't date big/skinny/dark/light girls. We can't be housewives, but we want to marry men who have no need for a working wife. We want career women but want to marry women who will stay at home with the children. We want, we won't, we want.
Now yes, we're (for the most part) young and able to be picky, but a lot of this superficial weeding out blocks us from getting to know people on a deeper level. And most times, when we find what we supposedly want, it really isn't what we need.
For example: when I was 12, I wanted Lil Fizz to be my husband and we were going to get matching back tattoos with Bible verses and love poems. Can you imagine what life would be like today as the (probably) ex-wife/baby mother of Jhene Aiko's fake play cousin?! My bridal colors were going to be baby blue and more baby blue. I....y'all remember going to dances/Asian photo studios where they would have the airbrushed graffiti backdrops? That was hot to me.
I was a trash ass kid, my God. My point being, the things we think we want now, aren't necessarily things we need. And a lot of the things we think we need now, are things we may eventually grow out of.
This post isn't to disparage or discourage anyone, simply to start a discussion. I think I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. I want it all, but none of it at the same time. I mean...how does that kind of love even work for a girl like me?
This notion of romantic, kissing in the rain type love really doesn't work well when your twist out is in danger of getting wet, and running your fingers through your girl's hair might leave her wig-less. Can a snapback brim shield two people from the elements or are my eyebrows going to wash away by the time I come back up for air? (Side note. Have y'all ever seen a movie with a full black girl with non-permed hair who was getting segzual and a man ran his fingers through her hair? I always cackle whenever I see an actor try it, and then his fingers get so twisted in her new growth that he no longer knows if he's kissing her or sending gang signals through her scalp...but he still has to keep kissing her for sake of the scene so he just keeps his hand right behind her ear area. Cuz like....that would be me. That really would be me.)
I'd love to hear your thoughts/comments/concerns on this, and trust, I know I haven't spent much time discussing the merits/downfalls of a "traditional" relationship. That's because 1) I have no idea if this is something of interest to anyone else but me, and 2) I'm trying this new thing where I write things and actually publish them instead of leaving them in my drafts for 8 (eight!) months until nearly all my pop culture references are old, but then Beyonce saves you by giving you the performance of life and Jay Z tells you (personally...like yes there were thousands of other people in that damn stadium but he was talking TO. ME. TO MY SPIRIT) to achieve your dreams and so you decided to go back to writing.
...As for me? Right now, I think I'll just continue to remix Beyonce lyrics until I forget that this woman gave me "Crazy in Love", "Dangerously in Love" and "Drunk in Love" and I woke up like this...***Baeless.