Posts Tagged ‘relationships’


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.
In my last post, I introduced a discussion regarding the nature of love. i came to the conclusion that for whatever reason, we have a difficult time recognizing love if and when we find it. We have (from God knows where) developed an idea of what love should look and feel like. But as anyone who has been in love can attest, love does not always look the way we think it should.
The Story

“I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love. Don’t you want that, too?” says Olivia.
“Love is not supposed to be painful or devastating. Love isn’t supposed to hurt, Liv,” responds Edison.

From a logical standpoint the character, Olivia Pope, sounds self-destructive and pathological while Edison sounds rational and level-headed. On the emotional side Olivia’s statement sounds passionate and hopelessly romantic while Edison sounds boring and mediocre. But the question lingered for me: is love supposed to hurt?

The Problem

Now when I asked several single friends their thoughts on the subject most agreed that love is not supposed to hurt. However, when I asked my friends who are or have been in serious, long-term (more than 1 year) relationships, their responses were less concrete but in the light of their eyes and the weight of their sighs, I saw the truth. They wanted to say or maybe even believe that love isn’t supposed to hurt but experience had taught them otherwise.

I tried to approach the thought not from a lofty idealistic manner in which I fashioned that love is like a fairy tale or some widely accepted rumor that no one can prove (like the idea of “The American Dream”). Instead I approached it from personal experience and related facts about love and the experiences that creates for people.

With that, I thought first about one of the most undeniable relationships involving true love: a mother and her child. No one would dare to contest a mother’s love for her child – this is not to say every mother loves her child or that every mother’s actions reflect her love for her child. What I’m saying is that a mother proclaims her love for her child, generally speaking, not many people would doubt that as the truth. So, the objective fact is she does love her child. The other fact is that this child will her hurt her a number of times throughout the child’s life.

Beginning with birth, one if the most dangerous things a woman can do. The inherent love age has for her child and her commitment to giving that child life forces a woman painfully to the brink of death. Thereafter, the child will most likely hurt their mother emotionally a number of times. Who doesn’t remember having put their mother through some distress or disappointment as a teenager? But it’s still love, right?

I also thought about the experience of first love. Everyone remembers their first love. It is the first time that you feel that undeniable, unexplainable connection to another human being in a romantic aspect. Not many people end up with their first love, but they never forget it. Often that first parting, no matter the circumstances, is painful.

The Point

So I began to think of all these situations in which there is an acceptance of the potential for pain, but somehow, some way many people still arrive at a point of expecting love to be painless, especially when it comes to romance. However, it is apparent that their is a connection between love and pain and that the presence of one does not negate the presence of the other.

I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’,

An Angry Black Man