By: Tyra Davis
You can love a man without losing yourself. Your love can be healthy, joyful, and educational if you let it. Love does not have to compromise your independence as a woman. Women of color have pain, strength, wisdom, and overcoming obstacles embedded in the webbings of our veins. From the beginning, the world has shone an interrogation light on everything that we’ve done, and done its best to keep us down, but we have always risen. Because we are so used to having to fight for, work for, drain ourselves for everything that we have, love has often taken a backseat. I’m not referring to many of our fervorous loves for parents, children, siblings, or friends. I’m talking about a love just for you, found in a relationship with man.
A healthy love is a love that involves growth, stumbling, adjusting and maturing. Just like a person, a love must mature and adapt over time to remain healthy. Often, women like to just expect instantaneous results in their relationships, but that isn’t always possible. Of course if you are crying, your boyfriend or spouse can deduce that you are upset, but sometimes, a man can’t help that he just doesn’t know what is truly going on with you. And it can sometimes seem tedious, but we really do have to help them in order to maintain the health of the relationship.
Think about it, when someone has a bacterial infection, they take antibiotics, often disgusting to taste and very unpleasant to experience, to get well again. This medicine is not the most glamorous to experience, but in the end you are better and you know that your body has the strength overcome that infection in the future. Just like your relationship can overcome that rough patch it is going through.
As women of color, we’re often not taught how to mend and work through relationships. A lot of times in African-American culture, if there is a problem with someone, we kick them out of our lives. We don’t want to feel vulnerable or weak at the hands of someone else, so to get the upper hand, we push the relationship with them away. We can’t keep running away from men who want to accept our flaws and work through disagreements simply because we don’t want to seem weak. Admitting you have internal blemishes does not always place you beneath someone, it can put you on the path to becoming closer to them.
Love can be fun! It’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience to express how deeply you care for someone. There are different types of love; we enjoy having girls night with the sisters we love, our families, diverse as they are, are often a source of great happiness because we love them regardless of their quirks and uniqueness. There can be joy in loving a man as well. Your joy from loving your friends and family comes from the time you took to build relationships with them.
The same can be for a man if you take the time to build the relationship. You didn’t rush trusting your friends or your family, you had many years to go through different stages with them, and in the end you came out happy to love them. A man can deserve this love as well, in its many forms. The joy of an intimate love, a comforting love, an accepting love, one of those loves that make you understand why sappy, catchy love songs were written in the first place. We know that life will not always be easy days, and especially with the ever changing demands of being a woman, taking a breath can be a luxury. You have to take that breath though. You have to find time to take that breath and allow joy into your loving a man.
I try to make my goal each day to learn at least one thing I didn’t know the day before. Having this attitude towards a romantic relationship is another key to truly loving and allowing yourself to be loved. Women of color have a terrible reputation for being overbearing, too outspoken and horrible listeners, especially in relationships. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say “black girls so loud, Hispanic girls so crazy” or something of the sort.
You cannot necessarily change the reputation of an entire population, but building a positive reputation for yourself in your relationship is something you can do. Allow yourself to listen and get to know a man, the way you’ve gotten to know yourself and other loved ones. You don’t always have to take the weight of speaking for two people, simply speak for yourself and be open to hearing out someone you’re interested in.
It doesn’t always take a degree to teach someone something. Through a romantic relationship, you and your lover can teach each other. Maybe you both struggle with an emotional endeavor. Your lover may have some tips as to how he handles it or some insight that can help you better understand your problem. Your relationship can open your eyes to new ideas, thoughts of trying things you never thought possible, and even give you the extra nudge to push yourself to achieve goals you were selling your self short by not reaching for. In no way are you losing yourself by allowing your mind to be expanded and by enjoying sharing your knowledge with someone who’s eager to dive into it.
We all find love at different stages in our lives. There is no predicting how and when we’ll find the person that helps us see that the world is not going to break us. We just have to be willing as women to let that person in. Let that man love you, with all his heart, treat you like the queen that you are, and thank him by loving him endlessly.
Do not hold back your love for fear of seeming weak, because I can tell you, only the strong love. Do not hold back your love and miss out on another joyful life experience. Do not hold back on your love and turn an ignorant eye to all the beautiful lessons you and a man can bring to a relationship. Your color is not a wall you should allow to be kept up to keep out any chance of loving a man. No matter your color, you deserve to love and be loved. Beautiful women can be strong and love a beautiful man who values her strength just as much as he values her.