Over the past few years, I have realised that summers have been my “springs”… a time for me to recharge and reflect on the passing of the first semester of a given year but also and strangely enough, an incredibly prolific, intense period of planning, laying out and executing what may have been mere wishes and fleeting thoughts not so long ago. In my brief and rare moments of meditative contemplation (more contemplation than the “m” word), I ask myself questions and attempt at finding meaningful answers. Meaningful… not necessarily satisfying.  There is this common idea that as we grow older, our lives become utterly complicated and that there are no easy answers to what we seek to comprehend but my experience has been quite the opposite lately. The underlying and extenuating circumstances surrounding our lives may be woven into an elaborate fabric, yes but the answers are often surprising in their simplicity and dare I say, obviousness. They often make us confront the unpleasant side of our stories and that may be why we relinquish doing the work in the first place. But being uneasy is sometimes an absolute necessity if we do not wish to reproduce the errors of the past or simply lead more carefree lives. 

I am reading and listening and being exposed so much to structural racism and conditioned misogyny that I have questioned in my personal life the occurrences of said injustices. Not just what may have happened but also where certain behaviors (of mine or others) may have stemmed from or yielded to.  In that process, I have also tried to position my own suite of contradicting values and misguided ideas. I am questioning both my legitimacy and my privilege(s) as I grapple with the blurred reality of being a Black woman entrepreneur raising a daughter in her own terms amidst a major relocation from the West to the Continent.

Looking inward and deconstructing what has always made sense can feel a tad chaotic and like I said above quite unpleasant. For one, relationship wise, I am now faced with the fact that what I consider to be freedom and autonomy can be perceived as neglect and selfishness. Not many men really understand what a woman means when she says that she does. not. need. to be in a formal, conventional amorous relation. What does that mean anyway to be in a relationship? What makes one happier (because truly relationships are life enhancers, no?)? Quality…which quite fortunately can be defined based on what one deems qualitative? Alignment of values, political views, ideas, desires? Intuitive syncopation or what I call the unexpected differences in sameness? All of the above? To want a wedding, a house, children and a dog is still a thing for many but not for all yet it seems that when I begin to articulate what seems to me like the many variables of a deep, purposeful, freeing commitment with a partner, I am unavoidably met with circumspection and insecurity. I was once told that I am not reassuring. Should I be? Should men be? Reassuring for what? Whom?  When will this pervasive idea that some, most women should be the uplifters steeped in the light, or plea or fate of their partners cease to be the norm? What if we were not co-dependents but mutually independent? I don’t believe in submission. I don’t believe in self-forgetfulness. I don’t believe in detachment either. I believe in something greater than self, so much so that in itself a relationship should be freeing. Surely there must be relationships that do not require the voluntary absorption of what brings unadulterated joy and purpose outside of one single partnership.

We have one or many friends. We travel to one or many places, regions, countries, continents, … Our identity is the sum of many experiences, histories, societies, … Why should we consider that our relationships cannot take on a plurality of forms and here I am not necessarily referring to polyamory but rather the way we view heterosexual, monogamous relationships as I have known them and very much yearn to continue having them. I always thought that a revolution is first mind-based and then acted upon. To act is to understand that there is nothing absolute and therefore irremovable in what we believe should be our norm… Knowing that the erected norm acknowledges our supposed invisibility and denies our legitimacy as Black Women. The act of resistance begins when we decide to set our norms, play by our rules, constantly interrogate said rules and make way for what FEELS and therefore IS what makes us happier.

“Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free (wo)man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved.”

Toni Morrison

“when you meet that person. a person. one of your soulmates. let the connection. relationship. be what it is. it may be five mins. five hours. five days. five months. five years. a lifetime. five lifetimes. let it manifest itself the way it is meant to. it has an organic destiny. this way if it stays or if it leaves, you will be softer. from having been loved this authentically. souls come into. return. open. and sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons. let them be who. and what they are meant.” 

Nayyirah Waheed

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