by Etecia Brown
The most beautiful thing about life is the ability to feel. It's a fine art to master the feeling of everything. Like water flooding the dried up river beds or washing over a sand castle. To feel is to be unbound to volume or circumference. Water adjusts to its container. Traveling deep into a person is difficult if you haven't first secured yourself in your own understanding of self. Without having had fallen in love with self you may end up lost traveling deep into another. Often time men are discouraged from displaying their myriad of emotions and rather encouraged to put on a tough guise. Women are often taught that love is endurance even if it hurts. Both of these misinformed notions of love has guided us as a people to neglect our community's needs to heal and transform. In All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks writes:
The wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings. The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others. When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we willingly hear the other’s truth, and most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.
Once you have discovered and sat with your truth and began to love your raw edges then you can not hide from your pain or the things that make you uncomfortable. This bold look at self allows you to begin to prune the parts of you that are no longer serving you. Finding your center and locus of control enables you to become love. Radical self love is resistance. When this is in the forefront of our motivations then we begin to accept the reality that we are safe outside the system. The parts of ourselves we have not yet learned how to love perpetuates divisiveness in our inner narrative. White supremacy has created cognitive dissonance within individuals because of the duality of black and white. The way our world is currently being controlled creates an imbalance in the laws of nature. The socioeconomic institutions which upholds -isms drive out love. When there is love their is no mistaking calling your brother your brother. When we build community we must lead with an undying love for our people. A powerful community of minds that cultivate generations to love unchained. When a people are oppressed that imbalance of power creates a world where power and greed create chaos and tragedy and love is a abstract thought that oppressed individuals lose faith in. To be unafraid to love blackness, love your root, is resistance to the White Supremacist narrative.
Human life is a gift in which we are all on display in order to be of service to others. Sometimes because of pain that we've experienced our understanding of love is shaped through fear. It is important that when we speak to one another that we speak from a place of support and empathy. We have the tendency more often to speak from our child-self and to react rather than respond when triggered. Love becomes buried under self doubt and self hate when we do not confront the intergenerational trauma and post traumatic slave syndrome in our lives. Love must not be illustrated through suffering but through compassion. Compassion means to suffer with. Embodying love means to be in tune with your god-self and connect to your neighbor with true emotions. Freedom of expression is how love is manifested through our language. How can we unbind our loving style so that it is unchained from the isms of our society? When we love our partners, children, relatives with barriers and constraints we are also loving ourselves with those same restrictions. We are a reflection of the relationships we carry in our life journey.
Love no matter what anyone tries to tell you, is abundant because it lives within every earthly entity. We have access to this love if we look within and let it flow out onto others. Love is light. Love is beauty. Love is the moral compass that guides us as a people to fight for justice. Love is the faith that has has brought us to this point that we are today. It is love that moved us off of the slave ships. It is love that enabled us to work the fields. It is love that led us to follow the North star. It is love that enables us to raise our children as a village even in the concrete jungle. It's love that empowers us to join hands and continue to hold on to our history and culture, wear ankhs, and say Asé despite hundreds of years of Westernization and attempts by society to eradicate our stories.The risks that we have taken throughout the centuries to survive is because of love. So when we talk about organizing and talk about leading the people-moving a people, we must talk about love. Love but be at the foundation of our conversations, our actions, our marches, our organizations, because love is how we connect and endure. In order to become love and spread love infectiously we must consciously practice trust and gratitude in our daily lives. This practice will create safe spaces to build and heal in our communities. Moving discussion to action begins with self and home that reflects a loving nurturing environment that encourages flourishing. Love creates empowerment in an individual and thus the community. Love as an affirmation to exalt our souls rather than a weapon of distortion. Love is a faith in these affirmations and conviction to speak truth and act with praise for and responsibility to one another.