By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said
Black women don’t need to be taught how to love. Despite what the common narrative may tell you, we are loving beings–no more or less so than any other group. You don’t see it, though. Too much of popular culture–even the movies, TV shows and books targeted to our community–presents black women as bitter and emasculating bitches, misguided in our independence and incapable of appreciating a good man. Don’t trust that.
For more than a month, I’ve been conducting preliminary interviews for my black women and marriage project. When I began this project, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy hearing other black women talk about how much they love their partners. This process has highlighted for me, how rarely I get to hear that. Oh, I experience it in real life, but sometimes pop culture can feel stronger and more encompassing than real life.
One interviewee, upon being asked what she loves most about her man, said: “You don’t have the time…” Another giddily talked about how she and her mate discovered their mutual interest in Greek mythology, prompting his family to exclaim, “Oh my God! There’s two of them!” Yet another woman proudly talked about how her husband could talk about philosophy and rewire a house. Another woman said that she was “stupid in love with her husband.” I can relate, as a stupidly in love woman myself.
Of course, as these women love, they are also loved back with the same vehemence and fullness. I’ve been talking to sisters who are experiencing an everything sort of love. That’s what I call it, anyway. There’s this song by Alanis Morisette that I love called “Everything.” In it, she sings about someone loving her for herself–all the good parts, the weird parts and, yes, the bad parts, too.
An everything kind of love is a love where someone actually sees you in all your complication and loves the hell out of you anyway. That kind of love feels soooo good.
That’s why I so hate all the “advice” directed at heterosexual black women searching for life partners. You may get a man by trying to act and think like someone else, but you won’t get an everything kind of love. And that’s the best love of all–the kind of love every man and woman deserves.