So many people ask whether millennials “believe in love.” As a generation that has been liberated in more ways than one, the dating pool seems shallow and complicated with the additions of social media and online dating and so we wonder, “Does this generation still hold love in high regard?” Well, very quickly I would say yes because when presented with examples like Jay Z and Beyonce or Michelle and Barack Obama, we all swoon with affectionate tweets and Instagram timelines full of their pictures so where is the disconnect?
I love the website Mater Mea which talks all about the intersection of career and motherhood. I first stumbled upon it after seeing an interview with writer and maker, Alex Elle. I was amazed by beautiful images that showcased women of color in this sensitive way that you just don’t see too often. So I reached out to Anthonia Akitunde, the founder, initially thinking she was a mother herself! HA! To talk all about familial love ... Though she is not yet a mom, she is engaged and about to embark on the beautiful journey of marriage with her fiance and we got the opportunity to talk all about her pending nuptials and her experience in getting to a healthier definition of love in her own life.
I never set out to write about love. If you know my story, you know that my first book, Dear Love, was only about love based on notes I was writing on Instagram. There are enough relationship experts right? I mean some of them even give relationship advice without successful relationships. But I digress. It all started because of how much I was learning about God’s love for me. That was the starting point and it started to ooze into every part of how I related to others as well.
Love is not ownership. The moment that we try to control other people with our love, we lose. I always reference God as our greatest example of love. He is love to me. But he never tries to manipulate us with it. He gives it to us freely and repeatedly even in the moments when we are failing to be lovable. The freedom in that provides us with a deep love of God that can’t even be fathomed. The fact that he loves us in spite of ourselves. We need to understand the importance of loving one another without the need to control and without judgment.
I find, so many people talk about wanting relationships, but like the epitome of self-sabotage, Molly, from Insecure on HBO, we’re worried about all the wrong things and blaming it on everyone else. We see her aimlessly chasing relationships based on status, meanwhile the guy that is into her without the degree, gets major shade. AND she’s a clinger ladies and gentleman so she probably could have found love with some of the “prestigious” guys too but anyway *eye-roll* I am a self-professed Twitter rat and so I saw some things sliding across my timeline that I was like hold up, let’s talk about this.
Successful relationships take two, willing participants, period. This is what I know. I know that no matter how much I am learning about how to be a better woman, my husband also needs to be learning what it takes to be a better man. So often, these relationships are one-sided, and it’s time we stop fooling ourselves into thinking someone is as invested in us as we are in them, when they’ve made it clear that they are not. Have you ever heard the saying “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?” That’s what it sounds like when I hear people talk about relationships that clearly they are the only one in.
I remember as a young girl going to the 7am service with my Mom at Triumph Baptist Church in Philadelphia. We would get dressed and get on our way without my dad or brother in tow. My dad, probably working or about to head to work and my brother probably still asleep. We would walk up the stone steps, hoping that we were in time to actually get into the sanctuary instead of being sent to the “overflow room.”
Self-care has been this huge buzzword lately. But like anything that gains social buzz, it’s important to define what it actually means and sift through all the hi-jacked gurus that reason they are an expert on the subject. I am not now nor have I ever claimed to be an expert on anything really, but in our last Dear Love Brunch where we discussed Settling vs. Compromise, it seemed to be an underlying topic that needed to be brought to the forefront.