My Dearest Valentine,
I love you. Those words are insufficient; like a one-colored rainbow. Expressly, I adore you. I am in love with you madly, completely, proudly, my Black Brothas and Sistas.
Declaring my love for you is the boldest declaration of love I’ve ever made. It is a love that is forbidden; for various reasons my love for you—my love for us—is threatening. When I say that I love you; some hear me saying that I hate them. Oh, how wrong they are: my love is all-consuming. It permeates every cell of my body; propels me to wake up every morning even when I am weary; it influences—consciously or subconsciously- every decision I make. The massive love I have for you leaves no room for hate; or even much impulse to focus on others. When someone else catches my eye or causes me to think momentarily about them, it is typically because they in some way have harmed you. Yes, my dearest Valentine, you are the beginning and the end of each thought.
Admittedly, some of the reasons for my love are shallow. Simply put, you are breathtakingly beautiful–the most beautiful being to ever walk this earth. Your skin is the color of Moroccan sand, except for the red clay colored freckles splattered down the sides of your checks; your skin is the color of Brazilian coffee with just a splash of evaporated milk; your skin is the color of turmeric, sesame, cinnamon, curry, cumin, ajwain, or black pepper. The variety keeps me constantly intrigued.
Ahhhh…and your hair is magnificent: ranging from so straight that strand by strand used to slip out of the braids you wanted to wear to school by the time recess was over; to zig-zaggy coils whose acrobatics mesmerize.
And then those broad, strong shoulders; long queen-like necks, round hips that usher love and life like the welcome signs at state lines…yaaasssss… Regardless of your body size classification, strength is the connotation. You, my dear, can’t walk into a room unnoticed. Perhaps it’s the walk: the saunter, the sway, the bounce that trumpets the regality; or maybe it’s your distinctive nose or knowing eyes– blue, green or brown with flecks of sunset.
Yes, your eyes are beautiful; but they are so much more. In your eyes is where I find me. In your eyes is where I find understanding; my history, my future, and possibly, most importantly, the strength to handle the present. When our eyes meet from across a room in a restaurant, board room, ballroom, or store and we are the only Black people there, everyone else immediately fades in the background; and I instantly feel soothed. You understand. In that room, I have a best friend who may not know my name; but knows my secrets—all my fears and struggles—and who supports me.
Knowing that you’ve “got me” makes me feel invincible at times…almost arrogant. You are so badass. You can’t make a move without being mimicked: your slang, your dips, daps and dabs, your nail art, finger waves, intricate braids, hip-hop flava, your street art, and cooking style. You create beauty where there is none. You are the master of creating something out of nothing. And you can flow anywhere we go. You have the ability to speak professionally to your boss or client on the phone, while non-verbally disciplining your kids so harshly that they know not to make a sound. You can testify at church on Sunday, make a presentation at work on Monday, then trash talk with your boys on the court on Tuesday. You are brilliant, my love.
Perhaps what I love most about you is your refusal to accept the ‘No’s’ the world hurls at you. You are the swim star when your neighborhood had no pool; the valedictorian of your mostly White high school; the graduate who had a baby at 16; the new “girl next door” beauty queen. You are the only one at the table: a motivational childhood fable. With what the world has told you your entire life, dreams shouldn’t exist; yet you hustle to be a best-selling writer, engineer, rapper, singer, architect, designer—someone on the “top ten list.” You ignore the stats and depressing daily news, receive insults and rejections; yet refuse and refuse and refuse to give up. They, it, him, doubt, stats, don’t stop you. You continue to prove doubters wrong; no game is as strong as your “keep on keeping on.”
My dearest Valentine, I see you. I appreciate you. I thank you for being you. I love you so much. Thank you for being mine. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Forever and ever and ever yours,
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more