Niggling at the back of my mind for what seems like a couple of weeks now is a conversation I would like to have with you. It has taken a bit to get it to tumble out onto these pages because I had to sit with it for just a bit – to see not only how I felt about it, but certainly how I was going to present it to you. It’s important; so, let’s address this.
Naturally I am unaware of the upbringing (most of) you had; the cultures, doctrines and moralities that were or should have been instilled. Only through your sharing will I ever be granted a peek into what makes your heart sing or your soul cry. So, for the most part I also do not know your thinking with regard to not just love, but more importantly, loving. I am unaware of what you were told as a young child – whether male or female – regarding not only your right to receive love, but, your responsibility in demonstrating it. For instance, did anyone ever have the conversation with you about touching? And here, I am not (solely) speaking about the kind of touching most of us engage in with regard to fucking, but I am addressing having been told or taught what it means to be touched… for no other reason than because, well, you’re loved. To demonstrate that you love.
As a black woman who has been both adored and abused, I am here to state that as natural and as simple as it sounds, “Of course I touch! Of course I allow others to touch me!” what I am speaking of is sadly not a reality for many of us. In my own life, as evolved (true) and as open and expressive (also true) as I am, I am willing to state that at times, the simplicity in accepting an expression of love and care through a touch terrifies me. I wonder if it’s because of the bruising I have received at times so that, like a wounded animal I have learned to cower at any potential threat of not only harm but good. Or if my periodic rejection of that display of vulnerability – both mine and theirs – signifies the antithesis of what I was nurtured to believe is the evidence of a strong, independent black woman.
“Don’t touch me like you love me…” Have you ever uttered those words, or any version of it? I have. I remember being both terrified and turned on. I remember the fear of the responsibility of what that touch would then mean to me and the possibility of what it could potentially ignite in me. I recall the egotistical power I understood I now had, while at the same time knowing the moment I exercised that power, I would be yielding it to another. I remember accepting the incredibly sad reality that slaps and punches I understand – there are no hidden layers in them; they land with all the giver’s intent – without misinterpretation. But caresses? Well therein lies the mind-fuck – with every tender stroke it anoints your skin with the giver’s feelings while simultaneously peeling back the layers of yours – leaving you (deliciously) raw, exposed, vulnerable… leaving you loved.
For too many of us the reality is that we negate the value in the transmittal of positive, soothing, life-altering strokes. Oftentimes we are too busy, too stressed, too beat down, too wary, too skittish, too bruised, too skeptical, too broken, too hurt, too much in a hurry, too sexual and not sensual enough, too unaware, too afraid, too distrusting, too lost, too ignorant, too broken, too scarred, too scared, too uneducated, too un-indoctrinated.
Okay. Have you been taught how to accept touch? Has anyone explained you are entitled? Do you know touches don’t necessarily have to lead to either abuse or sex? Have you ever been touched… there? You know, on your soul? Are you brave enough to accept it? To know you’re entitled to it? To boldly stand up, look someone in the eye and say, “Touch me like you love me”? Do it. I dare you…