Love To Love You Baby

Love To Love You Baby
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This is not about Donna Summer

I am saddened at the number of folks who do not know what it means to be loved and cared for. Their lack of understanding often goes as far as to call acts of love, “spoiling.” I mean, we have an entire culture of men who call men who stick up for women “simps.” Come the f*ck on, y’all.

I’m going to get a little personal here and put my business in the streets a bit. Folks who know me also know that I am the parent of a wonderful young person who is currently a senior in high school. She really is awesome. The. Bees. Knees. Her father and I love and care for her. We support her goals and dreams. We nurture her ambitions. My parents are right on board with all of this, so much so that they provide material support in addition to all of the love and affection. Her grandmas (my mom is married to a fabulous woman; TLDR: “people be gay,” word to Quinta B.), have kept her in all the fashions. I really didn’t have to make any major purchases for her until, well, not really ever. Y’all my mom sent her tiny pink Timberlands when she was 8. My dad sends cash because that’s what he does. I don’t say all this to flex, I say it to illustrate how much my parents love me and my child. Material support is LOVE!

But I have some family members, some related by blood, and others not so much, who like to comment that my daughter is spoiled. They have never said this to my face, but they have said it to my mother and have lamented that I was spoiled too. Say what, now? My image of a spoiled child is Reggie Van Dough from Richie Rich (I really did age myself with that reference). There is nothing about how my or my daughter be in the world that would signal to anyone that we are spoiled. We are loved.

Having gone to school for 50-11 years, I understand where we (some Black folks) have this internal coded understanding that showing too much love or having confidence can be harmful — emotionally and physically. The history of this country has shown us that families can be torn apart at a moments notice, someone could be lynched via extrajudicial “justice,” for being “uppity” or “haughty” and our joy can be seen as defiance and some type of blowback could ensue. I get it. I know it. I teach it. It’s time to let that go.

It’s time to do the work to peel back those layers and rid ourselves of the ways of being that put up barriers to love and care. Yes, they may have once “worked” to insulate us from the very present harms of white supremacy (I call it white misanthropy, but I digress). I also know that this is not easy work. It requires us to be honest, vulnerable, and to admit the ways in which we were wrong and hurt ourselves and/or others. Healing ain’t easy. Scabs are gross and unsightly. The mark will always be there. But we have to move forward. Holding on to these notions traps us and impacts us psychologically and physically.

We all have a right to be our full selves and that full self includes being loved on and supported by a community (blood or otherwise) that wants to see you flourish. I have that. My daughter has that, and I want the folks who don’t understand it to have it as well, but they gotta want it too. In the words of the Deacon Eldra DeBarge and the DeBarge Mass Choir, “All This Love is Waiting For You.”