I fell in love with the show Love Is__ as soon as I heard Nuri, half of the show's couple, ask, "Why can't a woman expect her partner to match her efforts and what she brings to the table... " or something to that effect. I was hooked. I immediately sent the 60-sec video clip to all of my independent but single homies and let them know that there was a new show to add to the roster while Black Love was on hiatus.
I was hyped to finally see a show that spoke to my own feelings about dating in this day and age. You know how it goes, the cycle where you're over-qualified for the position, put in work to heal and find a man but in the midst of his situation, asks you to pause all the ish you have going on to wait for him to get it together. It's not like I had been showing up to the table empty-handed or anything. I arrive drama-free, baggage-free, with my toolbelt in tow, my own business(es), and a renewed heart and mind. I worked on that list and I'm proud of it. Reciprocity, I've learned, is something that I'm just not willing to budge on when it comes to love, relationships, and more importantly, intimate relationships. However, a few episodes in Love Is__, I realized that in true OWN fashion, the show was never created to define love. It was created to begin a dialogue. Sure, Webster has a definition but it looks and feels differently to us all.
To be quite honest - we've all dated a few Yasirs and chile, my series would have been titled Love Is__Not.
So, full transparency, I was dating a Yasir throughout the course of the first season: Good-looking, kind, caring, and under construction. As an emotional, way too understanding Pisces, it was easy for me to overlook the time we went to eat when he told me the ATM didn't accept his card for some unknown reason on the third date. 'What's $20 that I had laying around in my purse anyway?', I thought. I have trust issues, so I don't leave home unless I have coins for my food and a way home anyway, so it really was no biggie. Another time I overlooked, was when my Yasir showered me with designer perfumes for my birthday, knowing full well that I had seen them in his closet months before in some old bag.
It's safe to say my situation definitely contributed to my obsession with the show. I was curious as to how this young professional could possibly be content long-term with a man whose current place of residence was his ex-girlfriend's house. However, I mentally checked out when Nuri called Yasir's ex to speak with him because that was where he lived at the time. 'Wait, what?' was My exact reaction. While I appreciate that this story is the recreation of Mara Brock Akil's love story and that things worked out in the end - it's important that we understand that Love is not a one size fits all kind of thing.
Given my personal experiences where love is concerned, I just wouldn't be able to overlook that sort of thing. Dude's plate sounds full and I certainly wouldn't be auditioning to be his dessert or anything else. Now I understand Yasir was really freeloading because funds were tight but if the only option the dude I'm dating has is to lay his head at his ex's place, then I'm out. I'm whole and healed, and my insecurities been checked, but what *clap* do *clap* I *clap* look *clap* like? It all comes down to understanding what Love looks like and feels like to you. I skimmed through a book called The 5 Love Languages once - it basically broke down the ways that people generally like to receive love. For some, it may be words of affirmation, for others it may be quality time.
Nuri's outspoken colleague attempts to remove her rose-colored glasses and fail, her mama tries to get her to see the light and fails. The reason no one can get through to Nuri is because sis knows what she wants and needs and understands that although it doesn't really make sense, Yasir is it. By the end of the Black Love doc, my jaw was on the floor with all that these people put up with in the name of love. That's because it isn't supposed to make sense. I don't mean the type of nonsense that clouds your vision from leaving an abusive situation. I mean the type of nonsense where you don't feel even an ounce of doubt or confusion. It just feels right. While Nuri may have been playing the field whilst getting to know Yasir, she knew from jump that she just couldn't get enough of the way he made her feel, even when it made sense to nobody else BUT her.
I had a conversation with a few of my girls about the show and had an a-ha moment when one of them said to me, "Most relationships lose their glitz and glamor when you start to really learn the things they've put up with to maintain the relationship." I think that before advancing the necessary agenda and narrative that Black Love actually exists, Mara Brock Akil wanted us to know that it doesn't really look like that crap you grew up watching on the movies. The kind where successful man meets successful woman, together they decide to raise a family, have babies, buy the house with the picket fence and all that other jazz. I mean those are usually typical pit stops along the journey but there's a whole lot of cussing, huffing and puffing, sometimes infidelity, infidelity that led to children outside the relationship, and not liking but still loving your partner wrapped up during it all.
The older I get and the more I learn about love, is the more I realize that four letter word just means compromise, forgiveness, understanding, someone that's worth it, and a splash of relentless faith.
I don't want to burst your bubble (trust and believe, I almost burst my own writing this here post, sis) but no, you probably won't meet this man with all his ducks in a row, bills paid on time, 50% of his down payment saved for his future home with his future wife and family, and all the other must-have requirements you may have on your proverbial checklist. He will be a work in progress with a few chips in his shoulder and a wavering self-esteem - just like you and the rest of us on this beautiful planet. It all comes down to choosing somebody that speaks your love language, warms your heart genuinely, and is honestly as tired of getting it wrong as you are. The dudes that you have to continuously advise on how to love you, why something hurts you, and where they're fucking up...consider them practice. They say you repeat a lesson until you've learned all it had to teach.
They were there to show you what love is...not.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.