You are never more alive than when you love, why not Love Again?
I recently released my debut book, daring to express what most men, especially black men feel, but fear to say -- and what every woman longs to hear. Everyone has a "love and loss" story -- we've been hurt or rejected by someone who mattered to us be that via divorce, death, rejection, breakup. The book, Love Again, is a memoir, my memoir, one that has taken the last seven years of my life to write. I know it may be a bit presumptuous to write a memoir at thirty-six years old, seeing that I don't have a father from Kenya or a mother from Kansas, but I employ the literary tool of the memoir as a canvas to paint my ideas about love and loss, more specifically about black love. Most public literary works around these ideas are written by women, whom I respect a great deal. However, often I have read their work and pondered the half truth in them. This was not done intentionally but done by the mere fact that the scope of thought was made imperfect by their personal experiences or the experiences of another woman's life. The missing part of this needed discourse was the emotional presence of a man, a crucial voice in the public discourse that was unheard. It is for this reason alone I find it faithful and just for me to write about love. The first ideas and writings about love come from the most indigenous parts of Africa, my ideas about love fall within sacred thought of black people. I bear witness to love through my writing, I reclaim not black masculinity alone but our rich and collective inheritance of love and relationships deeded to us by our fore-family.
If I recorded an album, the thoughts in Love Again would be the lyrics. I wanted to write in sounds and rhythms, in movements and flows that would be refreshing to the soul, just like our favorite song does for us every time we hear it. I wanted to write what I heard deep inside and what I wasn't hearing on the outside of me. I wanted people to read this book, but I also wanted them to hear my voice saying what is not usually said and sharing what is not easily given by men in literature. Before the book was released, I sat and talked with my former wife. I was practicing being or attempting to make the effort at being an emotionally responsible adult. I told her that I wanted her to read something as I reached in my bag and pulled out a galley copy of the book. I said, "I'm not giving this to you so you can find reasons to disagree with me, I am giving this to you because there were so many things that I never said to you, things that at the time, I didn't have the ability to say to you, things that perhaps if I said them then, things would be different. No matter what has happened between us, I want you to hear how deeply loved you were." I wanted to write this for all my sisters who may have been with a man and things didn't work out between you, I wanted to put in words how a man feels about the woman who he loves but never gave a lot of words to his feelings.
My brothers have written some great books, the New York Times best-sellers list can testify to that. This is a companion work to what they have done. It is not an overly dramatized caricature of men. It is not an enterprising of black love and the subsequent negotiation tactics that must be employed so you can win at the game of love. Neither is it an historical treaty of the socialization of black love in post-diaspora America. Love Again is our collective story as humans. It is a new epistle submitted to the cannon of the work that precedes it bearing witness to the truth that we are bonded in ways that are inescapable, not always obvious, but tangible. We love, we sometimes lose love and then there is innately within every human ever born, no matter how emotionally devastated or the depth of wounding, a wanting to love again, and the more we touch, taste and speak that truth the sooner we are able to bring that love to us.
As men, we all know what it is to love a woman so deeply that we break every rule, would fight any foe and go through any test to have her heart. We also know what it is to lose that love and never talk about it again to anyone. We are peculiar in the way we move on. We don't heal ourselves in the same place we hurt ourselves, so we just shrug and say "on to the next one." But there is one we carry with us always, the one that got away. I understand. I wrote so we all can know that we are not alone. We don't have to talk about it; you may have gotten to the point where you feel it doesn't matter anymore, and I get it. However, as you read Love Again: A Spiritual Memoir, I hope the words can help reconcile unresolved pain for you in ways that brings you into wholeness, to be better whenever love comes again and for whomever you are blessed to share it with.
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