A series named in tribute to Bell Hooks. Love is a subject that is often discussed in the most trivial and superficial terms. Love, as a subject matter, especially from a Black perspective, hardly ever includes discussions regarding the nature of love, the function of love, the purpose of love, or the relevance of love. All we ever talk about is how we want it, have it, never had it, or keep losing it. We are right to see lack of love as a concern; we just have to choose the right angle for exploring solutions. Here is where that happens.
If only real life love stories began and ended the way we think they do or should. But alas, they hardly ever do.
I have heard my share and had my share of love gained and love lost and I can say that it has never happened the way I thought it would not has it ended in the way I thought it would. However, what I have learned is that I’m not alone in my experiences.
I have recently spoken with quite a few friends about relationships. More than a few have what they call “a fear of abandonment.” I, myself, once thought I had such a fear. But then I had a series of romantic experiences that changed my view. But in listening to my friends I found it strange that, however different the scenarios and relationships were, they all seemed to confess this fear of abandonment and the eccentricities that trying to defend against it causes.
Fear of Abandonment
I have said more times than a few that we are living in a graceless and loveless age in society. We have lost touch with what’s really important and as a result we have forgotten how to relate to, empathize with, and connect with one another.
When I hear people speak of abandonment now what I see is not really the traditional fear of abandonment…what we are really afraid if is loving and not being loved in return. We fear having our affections being taken advantage of. We fear needing someone who doesn’t need us. We fear wanting someone who doesn’t want us. And while those fears are not unnatural, our responses are.
There was a time when romantic fears did not cause us to discredit love and blame it for our woes. There was a time when things were broken we fixed them — in ourselves and in others. There was a time when love was enough to justify holding on, trying harder, and not giving up. Now…well now our egos won’t let us keep trying because we’re more concerned with our image and pride. We wouldn’t dare take a chance on someone or something that cannot be tangibly quantified. And that is why we lose out on love. Love isn’t tangible; love isn’t quantifiable; love isn’t logical; love isn’t rational; and love needs no justification.
When we put love on trial, we lose. Because love has done nothing wrong. Love is always honest and pure. It is us who twist, corrupt, pollute, and pervert love. And it’s really quite silly. How does one challenge or demand if a force of nature. That’s like standing in a hurricane and demanding it not tear asunder the ground beneath it; you can try it but you’ll probably kill yourself and the hurricane will move on.
The truth about the fear of abandonment is that we are not truly scared if being left alone. By a certain age in life we have been alone often enough and have been left and have left often enough to know exactly what to do when it happens. What we are really looking for is that person with whom we can build and share a life with. But instead of approaching love and romance in the humble reverence of the force that it is, we come with aggression, manipulation, defensiveness, and demands. We want love and our potential romantic partners to give us guarantees. But there are no guarantees in love. We want love and our potential romantic partners to prove themselves worthy of our love. Well everyone is deserving of love, whether or not you choose to give them yours is completely up to you. That is about you deciding that however this ends I believe it will have been worth it to atleast try.
So that fear of abandonment is actually out a fear of ourselves. Something has happened to make us distrust our own judgment and because we can’t trust ourselves to choose the right partner or to recover from having chosen the wrong one, we take it out on love and our romantic partners. That behavior is sure to run anyone away but for us it serves as proof that we were right: nobody can be trusted and nobody stays.
If we do not confront the truth of our fears through brutally honest thought and introspection, we will never find the love or romance we long for. We will forever be in and out of superficial flings that never last and always feed our insecurity. Until we grow up and start taking responsibility for the life and love we want and acknowledging that it is created out of our perception and will, we will limp along as lost hearts propped up on a crutch of abandonment fears. That is the truth about love and the fear of abandonment. So many times we cannot see the forest for the trees. That’s because popular opinions about love are at odds with the truth…and something inside us always knows and longs for the truth.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man