By S.R. Grant
I am in love. I am 46 years old, never married, and have yet to experience a healthy, spiritual long-term relationship. I am a black woman, and the statistics clearly show that if I want to remain within my own cultural-ethnic group, the pickings are slim. Because of all these factors, the fact that I am in love should be a marvelous and hopeful thing. It is not that simple.
The object of my desire has a dubious past and a questionable future. He has three small children, and even more women, including me. He is 10 years my junior. He has no education. Other than the foundation of our shared African-American background, we are culturally, socially, and environmentally worlds apart. He is currently incarcerated, and will not be released until the seasons have turned twice. I have not laid eyes on his beautiful, sable colored, irregularly arranged face in more than two months.
How did I end up here, giving my body, my love, and my soul to someone for whom it is not meant? The reasons why true love and devotion have escaped me are a conundrum. For the longest time I just believed that I was too independent, entirely whole and strong to ever need a serious relationship.
My philosophy has always been that if such a relationship should happen to develop, cool. But, I always told myself, no way are you putting up with anybody's angst, hang-ups, self-esteem issues, whatever, for the sake of a relationship. And in many ways I have stuck to that. And in truth, in many other ways, I have put up with and out for some pretty degrading behavior. Upon serious reflection, I have to admit that I have sabotaged good relationships, sought destructive ones, and devalued my being all in the need for self preservation. How messed up am I?
The real reasons why I may end up forever single are complex and many, and I am still trying to unearth them. There is the fact that I had a father that I adored, and who adored me. Every man has to measure up to him. Though I do not romanticize my father, he was an incredible and incredibly flawed human being who remains for me incomparable.
My apparent deep-seated aversion to true intimacy may be fueled by the fact that I was molested until the age of 11 by multiple men. Having someone stick their tongue down your throat when you are not yet in first grade can definitely lead to a dislike to kissing and a mistrust of men.
To be sure, there are other issues as well.
This is why I love him so, because through his eyes I see in me someone who is beautiful, sexy, worthy, capable, gifted and blessed. Through all his obstacles and issues shines a charismatic, sensitive, attentive, naturally intelligent human being who loves with no holds barred. I love him because in the fleeting four months that we were involved he has given me utmost care, concern and passion unlike I have ever known. And the scarcity of available African-American men is not the reason why I am involved with him. He is special, and those statistics are inconsequential in this case.
I have no regrets, am glad I have him in my life, and adore him.
I have never been one who had to have a man to define me, and that has not changed. I do now believe, however, that unadulterated affection and intense emotion are truly wondrous. I never knew I could feel this way, or that someone would feel this way about me. I now believe that life is not lived until one has felt all this, no matter how brief, no matter its incarnation.
This I believe - that life cannot be lived to the fullest until you take huge chances, go hard, and open your heart to what the universe has for you.
Our differences, our individual baggage, and outside circumstances are likely to end this scenario with us living apart and without each other. At this point it seems imminent. The bottom line is that he has enriched my life and enhanced my sense of self. My view of the world has been transformed by passion. For this I am forever grateful.