“… I wanted to be his witness. I think that’s what love is, being a witness for the one you love, their complete journey, defeats and victories.”
“Now women, their strength astonishes me, how they soften and wrap themselves around your bruised heart to heal you, how they damn your shortcomings to raise your level. I owe it all to them. I am spoiled by the women in my life. I stand because they stood up for me.”
I’ve recently become obsessed with watching, Love Is ______, a show on OWN. It’s a re-telling of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s love story. It’s about a successful woman, Nuri, (established in her career and a new home owner) who meets the love of her life, Yasir, who turns out to be everything she wasn’t looking for (divorced father with no career prospects or home ownership in sight). I don’t know why it feeds my soul so much? Maybe it’s because instead of running away from the pain, the only way I see getting through any of my heartbreak is to bum rush into it? Or, perhaps it’s because I see so much of me and you that it scares me into believing that I was incapable of being patient enough for you. But, as I keep watching, I wonder if you ever were really secure enough in yourself as a human being or capable of really providing me the clarity and honesty I sought so desperately from the world. Maybe that’s the danger of comparisons… each love story is so unique no matter what brings them together on the surface?
The show is now 8 episodes in and we’re getting to the juicy drama where Nuri meets the baby mama and Yasir’s mother. After visiting them, at the end of a complete shit show, an older Nuri narrates and says in that moment she wanted to see him reunited with his son and in a better place in his life to provide for him. She then says the first quote above, “… I wanted to be his witness. I think that’s what love is, being a witness for the one you love, their complete journey, defeats and victories.” The moment I heard that I had to pause the episode and write it down. She took the words out of my mouth. What no one could possibly fathom is that even though my ex and I were at different points in our lives, loving someone is being present and seeing them through their life. It is important for me to note here that she did not want to save him; she wanted to be there as he maneuvered this particular juncture in his life. I think I just felt it in my bones; I thought it was going to be amazing to be a witness to you and your adventures in this life. If I could see you and be there to celebrate them with you or hold you when you failed to maintain some sense of the world’s necessity for masculinity then I would literally be in the best place on earth because I would still be near you. Granted, now looking back, I can imagine I overstepped the role of witness constantly. I’m sure my need to control and see the path and journey a particular way was overwhelming. As established as I may have seemed in any part of my life (professional or otherwise) I appreciated how you made me feel loved, and forced me to be so much more compassionate than I had imagined I could be. When I tell people that I don’t need a man to take care of me in some large very defined way society has pre-determined, I mean that. I want a man who can make space for me and hold me emotionally, and that’s what you provided. But comparisons are finicky things, because I believed that was sufficient, but it proved otherwise (as could be evidenced by my nagging / pushing of you)… and maybe I’m forgetting that Yasir cooked and prepared meals which provided a sense of home that I never received?
The second quote above comes from Yasir’s narration at the end of the episode, after the entire introduction to his mother and ex-wife has gone awry. “Now women, their strength astonishes me, how they soften and wrap themselves around your bruised heart to heal you, how they damn your shortcomings to raise your level. I owe it all to them. I am spoiled by the women in my life. I stand because they stood up for me.” There is nothing I think that better encapsulates what I hope you will say and feel one day. You are made up of all the women who raised you, loved you, and made you. So yes, keep looking at the trinkets I gifted you, even though I can’t stare at the ones you gave me and I can’t have visual representations of you anywhere in my space. If those objects remind you of how you were made and loved, then do it, appreciate their presence in your life.
But, for me, I’m scared I’ll spend months, maybe even years, writing you love letters in this manner, just like the way I write random social media posts to see if you’ll notice the small signs triggering key moments in our relationship. My heart sits here hoping you’ll read and return but I know it’s a little slow on the uptake. My heart is taking its time in following what my mind knows definitively (and the questions of comparison so clearly reveal here). Sometimes I need to honor its needs and so for today I allow my heart to take control of my hands, the writing, the page; it needs space to breathe you out of me, my body, my home, my temple, my refuge. I need to fully grieve you everywhere so that when I look upon your face I no longer feel any tinge of sadness or anger, but rather a sense of satisfying joy at having experienced something I said I didn’t want to die without having had: romantic love.