Love Matters, but Where Is It?
Where is the love? Did it fly out of the chicken coop or exit through the side door? Is it hiding under a rug or waiting to be unearthed and brought forth begrudgingly?
Is love caught at the back of our throats urging for release, but too afraid to be vulnerable and raw? Does love exist for refugees? Do we have love for the elderly, the disabled, the veterans, for women who confront harassment, wage inequality and domestic violence? Where is the love for Black people? Where is the damn love?
If justice movements were framed as Denied love, would this resonate more? All justice is ultimately the human wound of: I do not feel seen. I do not feel heard. I do not feel respected. I do not feel valued. And it can cross into: I do not feel safe. I do not feel wanted. Dare I say, I do not feel loved?
Where is the love? Did it exit off ramp 21? Did it just leave without a trace? Or did it never exist? And this flurry of horrid thoughts is the initial point of a black hole of doom. Maybe it never existed. Maybe there has never been love for women. Maybe there has never been love for indigenous people. Maybe there has never been love for Muslims. Maybe there has never been love for effeminate men.
Maybe there has never been love for Black people. And if that’s true, then the needle of justice can only move so far. It can budge a smidgen. Because I matter is the basic minimum. I have a right to exist without fear is the minimum. But the larger need, the more radical move on the chessboard, is the game of love. It’s the love movement happening right now in our face. Our society and our world are not operating from a place of love. The current paradigm is justice.
Love is too damn radical.
So all this New Agey self-love is nice, but in the face of current challenges, it is drastically inadequate. In the face of structural and collective injustice and outright denial of existence, where is the love? Because isn’t self-love taught? And if a society says you trans people, you fat woman, you homeless person, or you Black people are unloved, doesn’t that somehow sink into our bones? Doesn’t that reside in our collective psyche? But go ahead and try.
Try to love yourself up, you immigrant, you LGBT person, you addict. Go nuts. But do it out of my view and not in my space.
If the society we live in chooses to systematically and daily reinforce and dismantle one’s self-worth, one’s self-esteem, intimidate, deny and kill, justice is just the basic minimum starting point. But what will result is the type of love that does not silently exit or slink away. Because love is also fury. It’s passion. It’s tornadoes. It’s transformation. And it’s thundercanes (yes, I made that up because nature and love are inexplicable, and we need new words for chaos).
Love will be in your face, fast and furious, and it will say our self-love, my self-love, is here to stay. This kind of love will grow into the edges of your discomfort, and uproot and pinpoint your shame. This type of love is not about civic or legal platitudes of a justice system that’s inherently biased. It’s beyond the concept of I matter. It’s pushing the boundaries of our vulnerabilities and rubbing salt into the wound we hide and deny. And it hurts.
It hurts for everyone to feel that pain exposed, raw and bright as daylight. It’s not going to heal overnight. This is the wave that had to come. This is time in the making. It’s a throwdown of love.
It’s the I deserve to be seen! I deserve to be heard! I deserve to be felt! I deserve to be validated! I deserve to be valued! I deserve to be fully expressed! I deserve to be whole! I am worthy and my story matters. And fuck you if you think this type of love is going to be graceful, kind and convenient.
And isn’t that what Love is? Love is the expansion of holding the pain, the chaos, and hopelessness. Love is limitless. But we are on the edge of our love frontier. It extends into infinity, but are we the warriors willing to risk it and go there? The other side is dark and deep, and there are miles to go before we sleep, a la Robert Frost. Because how can we really provide justice if at the root of our psyche there’s no empathy? And how can there be empathy if we don’t really care?
In all our technological connections, we lack heart linkages. We must dislodge the vulnerability at the back of our throats, and use it in the name of love to fight against this dominant paradigm of pain inflicted on so many. This terrible blight of racism, classism, structural and economic violence we cannot ignore. It’s here. It’s in our face. It’s our collective responsibility. It matters. Black Lives Matter. Love matters. And you matter.
Jolie Marie Carey is an East Coast native who has spent much of her life traveling, living and working outside of the U.S. Her favorite travel stories include hiking in Nepal, hiding from the law in Timbuktu, Mali, and living in a tent in South Sudan. She derives inspiration from magic in the everyday, words, conversations with random people and close friends. She believes laughter is the key to transcending all differences. She has been fortunate to teach Yoga in Haiti. As a Gemini, she is pulled between living simply, dancing under the stars, and trying to impact the world through bureaucratic means where she benefits from high-end parties.