I am jealous of the love black women, African women reserve for men.
Their men, the men yet to be theirs, the men who we are not sure exist yet, or who exist but just don’t show up.
The sort of love that has us ready and willing to edit ourselves to be what you desire.
The love that has us buying fabric and thinking of how we’ll make two outfits instead of one.
The love that has us learning skills we wouldn’t need otherwise, just to please/impress you.
The love that forgives without neither complete apologies nor changed behavior.
The love that hopes in things that are not seen and builds futures on potential
I am jealous of that love which has been so normalized evidence of it is no longer considered extraordinary…
Like the fact that The Power of a Praying Wife sells out every Sunday outside of church and yet the bookseller hasn’t bothered to restock The Power of a Prayer Husband since he barely managed to sell the last one.
Or the fact that you can enter a shop and tell the salesperson “I di find “Papa e Dish’” and they will know what you refer to. A dish reserved for your gender, a status symbol you are eligible for even if you are not sure you want to be ‘Papa’.
I am jealous of the love women like me have earmarked as just for men like you; the way we save everything from the best piece of meat to the best seat at the table, to ourselves… just for you.
And I am jealous of how easy it is for you to find a place to belong because of this;
Jealous of the advantage you have because we believe that we can/should/must earn the love we so eagerly want to give you, because so many of us are convinced you are the ones to fill the reserved spaces we kept…
I am jealous of the prayers my kind pray for men.
How does it feel? To have all the women in your life praying for you, when you forget to pray for yourself?
I am jealous of the kind of love that makes us aspire to be superwomen; that makes us desire to be everything a much less than “super” man desires. I am jealous of the love that makes us plan our aspirations around men who never asked us to.
I am jealous of how ready we are to offer what these men are not ready to take. Of how well we have been shaped for a time such as this – years of grooming on how to give love unasked, to accept less than we offer… decades of conditioning that leaves you wondering if what you do is what you want to, or what you know is expected of you…
I am jealous of men like you, for being offered such love on the regular.
Jealous of the position of power you don’t recognize you have because you think this love is merely an individual choice… blissfully unaware of how that choice in itself is externally orchestrated.
I am jealous of your confidence and the corresponding nonchalance that the love we offer you breeds; because our love sees us as the author and finisher of the family, and makes us responsible for all that goes wrong or never goes at all. We are the neck, the rib, the backbone. Anything but the head.
I thought I was angry at you, you probably thought so too.
But no, what I am is jealous.
I envy you for being offered the kind love I wish someone would give me.
And if I am angry, I am angry at myself.
Because I continue to reserve for you what I wish I could give myself.
Because despite love being a good thing, this brand of love is yet another thing I have found that I must unlearn.