If ever there was a lesson that took years for me to learn, it was the one given to me by a childhood friend of mine. I will always call her friend because she planted a seed so valuable inside of me, that it took many seasons of watering and many hands to till before it could sprout into the concepts I hold today. I’ll never forgot the words she spoke to me that day, and I will always remember the effect it had on me. This is what Victoria doesn’t know.
Victoria Nellum was my crush in the 7th grade at Larkspur Middle School. It was her beauty and style, and her always energetic and talkative personality that drew me to her. We began conversations as friends attending a few of the same classes until finally we exchanged numbers and began a time period of innocent courting. Victoria had no idea I was absolutely infatuated with her. Anytime she spoke, even if it was to answer a prompted question, I would lean my ear in her direction just to catch a wind of her inflections. We would youthfully hold hands in the hallways or lean up against our lockers, and I would eagerly await for the moment the “minute bell” rang so that I could press my lips against hers to say goodbye.
One day after school, we were having one of our many phone conversations about any and everything, and I, being the charmer that I was, mustered enough bravado to tell Victoria I love her. I remember the pause of silence that lasted what seemed like an entire minute. She asked me what I had said again and I said, “I love you.” Victoria sighed then replied “How can you love me? You don’t even know what love is. You don’t love me, you just think you do.”
As my heart began to sink, and my throat dried up and tightened from the sting of rejection, it hit me. I really don’t know what love is. Because in the moment of her response, all those thoughts of her melodic voice, her lips pressed against mine, and her sweet perfume all faded away. When my love given wasn’t reciprocated, I retreated, carrying with me my limited conception of love.
Victoria taught me a valuable lesson then, even though it took years to solidify the concept through learning experiences with other people. I learned in that moment the difference between love and infatuation.
No matter how strong the infatuation is, the feeling is based on a limited perspective of the whole person. Its easy to be infatuated with someone’s beauty, or the common interests you share, or the things that person likes because you’re learning about a whole person and the possibilities of the human desire have no end. But infatuation is put to the test when you uncover that this person, is just a person, with mistakes and mood shifts, challenges and faults, or just traits that may rub you the wrong way.
Victoria was right in that, first of all we were just kids. How could we possibly know anything about loving someone else? But secondly, we hadn’t taken any time in looking deep into one another and finding out who we were actually courting. Again being a kid, all I knew was I liked Phys Ed. and that I was spending lunch and class breaks with a girl that actually wanted to be around me.
Breaking out of infatuation into love takes a trial, a situation, or circumstance that challenges the relationship but bonds the two people involved together. It’s difficult to love someone through a disruption, but what I’ve discovered is that using discernment and wisdom on the front end makes the journey easier down the line. When you are able to read the intentions of a man’s heart, you can accept them for who they are, and choose to navigate the challenges of your life with or without them. Even if the challenge is them.
Bishop Clinton Foster would constantly tell me “When people show you who they really are, you should believe them the first time.” Study a person’s deeds and words and see if they align with the morals and values they claim to uphold. Then compare them to your own values and see if they are in harmony. This is the way into love.
Let me be clear in saying that just because there isn’t alignment between to beings now, doesn’t mean there can’t be alignment at a later point. This all depends on the life stage both beings are in. And also just because someone doesn’t have the same morals or values as yourself does not mean they should be demonized or outcast. Everyone in this world has something unique to bring to the table, it’s you who decides whether to add it on your plate and eat it or not. We cause more problems for ourselves when we feel that we “have to” entertain the person in front of us, or that it’s polite to grit and bear the situations we are put in with other people. We don’t, and there is way of escape in any situation.
So to Victoria, who gave me my first encounter with the complexities of what love isn’t, Thank you, for checking my ignorance about love at the door, and sending me on my journey to try again. A true friend will tell you the truth at all times, and this one lesson has never lied. From friend to friend, I love you.
In you I found peace.
I found my place to release.
I found my strength.
I remember learning new things
About eachother everyday.
You just wanteded to listen,
For me to talk the pain away.
There were moments of confusion.There were times when
I would compare you to the others,
But you held this uniqueness.
I always preferred you.
I felt connected to the universe.
I could see all things in you,
And the world saw me too.
My visions. My dreams and wants. My mental breakdowns captured
In your physical fortress.
In time my reality became
Confusing and perceptions shaken.
It became difficult to come to you;
To talk to you;
To tell you how I really feel
And all the while I held this
New found passion that needed
To be expressed….
That’s when she came along…..
I was with her back in college
When she wasn’t doing much.
Her recent popularity intrigued me.
She had a face socially acceptable,
An appeal designed for the masses.
I desired her.
I wanted her on my arm
Instead of you.
And so, I left you
With little words to explain.
I chose her because she felt familiar
But when we first touched
The spark that I felt
The first time we came together
And I disregarded that.
I dealt with her,
Despite knowing that everyone
Had time with her.
I dealt with her,
Knowing that people I know
Had thier way with her
And in a way,
That made our encounters exciting.
As we went along I noticed
She wasn’t as connected
To the world as she made it seem.
I would express my heart and soul
Only to have my words neglected
As if they don’t matter.
As if my thoughts cascade
Into an endless pit.
I couldn’t talk to her.
Like I’m wasting my time and hers.
She’s been used so much that
She doesn’t even care,
Its just on to the next
While I sit here,
Recounting our affair.
So I sit here.
Wanting you…. again.
Remembering the late nights we had.
Remembering the feelings of
Knowing you are where I need to be.
Remembering that it was you
That held me in dark hours…
When I almost turned off
The light of my future.
It was you that captured my redemption.
It was you that expressed
My pain, my love,
My knowledge and ideas.
And you held on to them,
In case I returned one day again.
And so I return,
Asking your forgiveness WordPress.
I left you,
Thinking that Facebook,
Would give me more
Than you ever could.
Thinking that my abilities,
My words and thoughts would be
Better utilized on
A mass appealed forum.
But my abilities are being
Thwarted by pictures
Of celebrities, promos, and ads.
Are being diluted by the redundancy
Of “Hit like for Jesus….”
Are overlooked because “friends”
Post where they are in that exact moment,
Complete with GPS maps
And smiley faces.
Are overshadowed by
The mindlessness of the world around me.
But yet I express love.
At times anger.
With you my thoughts are seen
In Canada, The Caribbean,
People I will never meet but
Speak to thier hearts.
On Facebook, the same ideas
Stay in a circle of people with agendas.
Facebook could care less….
I left you WordPress,
For a fling with a simple minded whore.
And I’m sorry.
I’m coming home.
First of all, I just want to say thank you again, for the opportunity to open up for you sir. Spoken word and a comedic performance go hand in hand in my point of view. We both use words, no music, as an artistic expression to communicate our perceptions or passions on a subject in a way that causes the audience to experience different emotions. Our artistries can also be seen as our way of being transparent to encourage an audience to action….
What pushed me to write this letter is not only my identification with your artistry, but your bravery; to step out of your “expected niche” of making people laugh, to end the show with a serious segment on the state of our people and what we need to do to fix it.
The impressions were dead on, the jokes were off the chain, and the whole theater damn near died laughing. Im sure you view laughter as natural medicine. We need to laugh to temporarily forget our issues, our pains, our frustrations and worries. You helped us do that last night. But you ended the show by stepping out the box; almost saying “Even though the NOI united for a time to laugh, our people as a whole is in desperate need of unity…… or the laughter will be cease to exist…..”
So what happens after the laughter?
Black people are scattered and disconnected; by church affiliations or religions (Pentacostal or Nation of Islam), by cultural differences (black Americans or Nigerians), by generational gaps, by skin color, by socio-economic ideologies (ghetto mentality or bourgeoisie), and the list goes on right? We catagorize ourselves. Label ourselves. Seperate ourselves from ourselves. And the only way we all can advance is if we unite, create, and define for ourselves.
I appreciated your transparency; to give a message that embraced our people despite your celebrity; to still be an artist after all the years of dealing with Hollywood; to use your comedic platform as a way to spread a positive cause.
Thank you for blessing San Diego. I wish more would’ve witnessed it but at the same time, those who were there are the ones that were meant to hear the charge and run with it. I pray we take heed.
We have leadership in this city that can do great things for the black community. We’re just so disconnected. Everyone has their own agenda; their own problems to fix. But if we come together, address the concerns together, we can cure the concerns, together.
Again sir thank you for opportunity to open for you and blessings be upon you and yours.