It is Best of the Year list time: best music, films, and concerts. The top fashion collections, celebrity looks and sneaker releases. The Best books, the Best of the Best. This being the end of the decade, we are also treated or subjected, depending on your point of view to the Best of the Decade lists.
But I'm not thinking about lists, I am thinking about love.
Before you roll your eyes and turn the page, please give me a few more sentences to state my case. I am not focused on romantic love, I am talking about the many forms of love that got me through this year, the loves that will get me through the next, this new decade, or 4.5 billion+ years of life on Earth.
I will begin with family love. I am a survivor of childhood abuse, so I am not going on all fairytale-like. Yes, family love can be simple, pure, and true. But it can also be difficult, messy, and conditional based on accomplishments, religion/faith, expressing your sexuality or gender in a certain way. There can be many barriers between an individual and their family, which can lead many of us to create and focus on a logical family rather than biological family.
This year brought a new clarity about both my biological and logical families. People who cheered on successes. People who have helped me when I was sick, broke and/or sad. Friends who carried bags of clothing and ironed clothes in a NYC hotel basement for a fashion presentation. Family and friends who I happily showed up for and who exponentially increased my joy.
The second form of love that got me through this year was a deeper understanding of my anger. Not a blinding rage though some elements of that exists, how can it not? My anger comes from living in an unjust society that motivates me to work for real freedom for all, now. This anger simply drives me to expect justice for all. This anger insists on being called the name I chose for myself, to use a Kwanzaa term: Kujichagulia (self-determination). The root of the word is "Angr," the Old Norse word for "grief." I grieve for the lack of equity; I grieve that no one is really free.
Self-love as survival love No. 3 is something I developed as a child, and for much of my life, it was my main source of love for self. Earlier this year, I dismissed this as not enough love to thrive, and it may not be, but truth be told it is how I still exist to this day. It is part of the base of my internal self-love source sauce, on the downest down days I can dip into its rich simmering broth and remember how I saved my life.
The final form is self-love as an absolute love: a highly concentrated rich gooey resin-like molasses compared to the gravy-thick survivor sauce. After graduate school, I returned to the United States in such a state that a friend said to me, Tereneh, you need to see someone. That someone was a therapist and after several therapy sessions, the counselor asked me a simple enough question that changed my life:
Do you love yourself unconditionally?
My reaction was physical. It felt as though an explosion started in my pelvis and moved down to my feet, then erupted back through my legs, coursing up my spine and bursting from the base of my neck then out through my mouth and eyes in the form of tears, snot, and an animalistic wail. It took me about a minute (or 30?) to finally form the simple one word answer: No.
Fast-forward several years and a friend of mine who had seen me at my worst just a few weeks before that fateful therapy session said, Tereneh, your Patronis (Harry Potter reference to a manifestation of protection) is self-love. This self-love is not the idea of self-perfection; this is unconditional love like all forms of love includes accountability. In the words of bell hooks, Love is intention and action.
It may look happy, messy, angry, joyous, insistent, quiet or loud, but it is all love.
And what I have learned is that love of self is a revolution.
Go here to read the rest:
- The Presidential Medal of Freedom: Its Just So Beautiful - RushLimbaugh.com - February 9th, 2020
- Both Freedom teams clinch NWC titles they hope to win outright next week - Morganton News Herald - February 9th, 2020
- Democracy and freedom of expression are under threat in Brazil - The Guardian - February 9th, 2020
- The Classic Novel That Saw Pleasure as a Path to Freedom - The New York Times - February 9th, 2020
- U.S. Launches The First-Ever International Religious Freedom Alliance - Forbes - February 9th, 2020
- You Will Find Your Freedom : Has Netflix Renewed Season 3 of OA? - Union Journalism - February 9th, 2020
- Bloomberg has thoughts on press freedom; the other candidates should give us theirs, too | TheHill - The Hill - February 9th, 2020
- Poetry, Walls and Freedom - The Wire - February 9th, 2020
- The latest assault on freedom of the press | TheHill - The Hill - February 9th, 2020
- Azaadiphobia: Who is Afraid of Freedom and Why - NewsClick - February 9th, 2020
- The Most Abused Freedom of Information Act Exemption Still Needs to Be Reined In - Project On Government Oversight - February 9th, 2020
- Freedom unifies the soul: Trump's State of the Union speechwriters have thrown in the towel - The Guardian - February 9th, 2020
- Trump says he will award Rush Limbaugh with Medal of Freedom - msnNOW - February 9th, 2020
- Case of Freedom Trail guides headed to the NLRB - The Boston Globe - February 9th, 2020
- Freedom Project: Play highlights civil rights perspective of black women - Meridian Star - February 9th, 2020
- Arts Wave partners with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to celebrate Black History Month. - WLWT Cincinnati - February 9th, 2020
- Taking the Freedom Out of Freelancing - Foundation for Economic Education - Foundation for Economic Education - February 9th, 2020
- The freedom Bobby Hurley gives to players is often criticized, but it might end up saving ASU's season - The Athletic - February 9th, 2020
- The basis of freedom - SC Times - February 9th, 2020
- The freedom in not knowing - The Boston Globe - January 30th, 2020
- 3 things you need to know about Birmingham's proposed Freedom Walk - Bham Now - January 30th, 2020
- Support school choice and empower families with educational freedom - Washington Examiner - January 30th, 2020
- Huber, Freedom want one more shot at wrestling in their own gym - lehighvalleylive.com - January 30th, 2020
- Freedom of Speech Doesn't Mean You Have to Be a Jerk Online - catcountry1073.com - January 30th, 2020
- No to Trump's apartheid plan. Yes to freedom and justice for the Palestinians - Haaretz - January 30th, 2020
- The True Cost Of Freedom Gas - Yahoo Finance - January 30th, 2020
- The long road to freedom - a giraffe is on the lam in Thailand - News965 - January 30th, 2020
- How An Enslaved Woman Sued And Won Her Freedom In 18th-Century Massachusetts - WBUR - January 30th, 2020
- Collings Foundation and FAA agree to temporary grounding of Wings of Freedom vintage planes - FOX61 Hartford - January 30th, 2020
- Sports: A Battlefield for Freedom of Expression and Political Change - besacenter.org - January 30th, 2020
- Jon Moxley '1000 percent' reinvigorated by creative freedom in All Elite Wrestling - WKYC.com - January 30th, 2020
- Melissa Martin: What happens when freedom of the press is silenced? - Cleburne Times-Review - January 1st, 2020
- Bagram's Afghan music night is the American base's other 'sound of freedom' - Stars and Stripes - January 1st, 2020
- Theros: Beyond Death Previews - Glimpse of Freedom and Sweet Oblivion MTG Arena Zone - MTG Arena Zone - January 1st, 2020
- Invest in Freedom: Support the Washington Monthly - Washington Monthly - January 1st, 2020
- Alabama's 200 years in 200 images: Freedom fighting from Iwo Jima to Selma - AL.com - January 1st, 2020
- Letter: Choice is simple freedom or slavery? - Northwest Herald - January 1st, 2020
- STORIES OF THE DECADE: Freedom boys hoops rallies to win 2013-14 state title at buzzer - Morganton News Herald - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation - Royal Caribbean Blog - January 1st, 2020
- Ring in the New Year with Freedom Soup: Recipe - FOX 29 News Philadelphia - January 1st, 2020
- OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media welcomes release of Aseev and Halaziuk - Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news - January 1st, 2020
- STORIES OF THE DECADE: Freedom girls go perfect in 2015-16 for programs 5th title - Morganton News Herald - January 1st, 2020
- Press freedom situation yet to be satisfactory: FNJ - Khabarhub - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom of the Seas 2019 Live Blog - Preview - Royal Caribbean Blog - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom from 3Cs - The Indian Express - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom, Real Dividend of Democracy - THISDAY Newspapers - January 1st, 2020
- Economic freedom, not government programs, the key to poverty reduction - Orange County Register - Daily Gaming Worlld - January 1st, 2020
- Freedom Synonyms, Freedom Antonyms | Thesaurus.com - December 27th, 2019
- Byrne: Freedom from Religion Foundation needs to "stop forcing their ungodly, un-American views down our throats" - alreporter.com - December 27th, 2019
- Western Balkans Have Yet to Embrace Freedom of Information - Balkan Insight - December 27th, 2019
- Video: King Willem-Alexander addresses the Dutch public on Christmas Day, stressing the importance of freedom - Royal Central - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom to offend is a right and essential to democracy, says outgoing press watchdog chairman - The Sun - December 27th, 2019
- Of Concerns and Waivers: Religious Freedom and US Interests in Central Asia - The Diplomat - December 27th, 2019
- Climate tariffs on fracked molecules of freedom: German think tank wants to punish US for sanctions against Nord Stream 2 - RT - December 27th, 2019
- Weekly Wrap: Winter Solstice celebrations and responses | Freedom From Religion Foundation - Patheos - December 27th, 2019
- 'Freedom for All': Enes Kanter finally allowed to travel outside the U.S. for game - The Globe and Mail - December 27th, 2019
- The Colorado Springs Gazette: Happy Hanukkah, a celebration of freedom - coloradopolitics.com - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom Of Assembly - The Nation - December 27th, 2019
- A Trump sweatshirt and some thoughts on freedom - LancasterOnline - December 27th, 2019
- To Pay For The Freedom Dividend, Andrew Yang Says Our Mental State Matters To The Math - Forbes - December 27th, 2019
- Freedom Township man arrested after excessive speeds on motorcyle - Record-Courier - December 26th, 2019
- It's Official: 'Freedom Gas' Is the Worst Phrase of the Year - Gizmodo - December 26th, 2019
- In Punjab, the Legacy of the Ghadar Movement Continues to Inspire the Fight for Justice - The Wire - December 26th, 2019
- The Times view on freedom of speech: Taking Offence - The Times - December 26th, 2019
- Students at elite Shanghai university protest the removal of "freedom of thought" from the school charter - Boing Boing - December 21st, 2019
- Why Freedom Gas Was Voted The Worst Phrase Of The Year - OilPrice.com - December 21st, 2019
- Review: Wing Freedom e-bike wins style points and it works great, too! - Electrek - December 21st, 2019
- Explained: Reading Bangladesh provisions for citizenship and freedom of religion - The Indian Express - December 21st, 2019
- Tennessee football: Vols now have freedom to target top 2020 prospects - All for Tennessee - December 21st, 2019
- Andrew Yang: 'If we had a freedom dividend, I would not be the only candidate of color on the stage' - USA TODAY - December 21st, 2019
- My shortwave radio still speaks of freedom | Comment - The Times - December 21st, 2019
- Chinese University Drops 'Freedom of Thought' From Charter - Inside Higher Ed - December 19th, 2019
- Freedom, Peace, and Justice: The Surprising Success of Sudan's Glorious Revolution - Just Security - December 19th, 2019
- The Gift of Fire: The Purpose of Capital as Freedom - Nonprofit Quarterly - December 19th, 2019
- Fuel the Fight for Reason, Individualism and Freedom - New Ideal - December 19th, 2019
- Top Chinese Universities Amend Charters to Remove Reference to Freedom - Radio Free Asia - December 19th, 2019
- Leading Chinese university drops 'freedom of thought' from charter - Bangkok Post - December 19th, 2019
- Jeff Bezos Freedom's Wings Award Highlights the Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards - PRNewswire - December 19th, 2019
- POV: Trump's Executive Order Aimed at Protecting Jews Will Have a Chilling Effect on Freedom of Speech at Colleges - BU Today - December 19th, 2019
- Maple Leafs Prospect Report: Growlers giving Hollowell more freedom, Agostino dominant in AHL and more - The Athletic - December 19th, 2019