In this week of Valentine’s Day—a week when I’ve been teaching bell hooks’s Feminism Is for Everybody; sharing love notes that amplify hooks’s words; and meditating with students about love as action, commitment, and a call to authenticity—I’m sitting with heartache.
Heartache that gun violence continues unchecked and that proclamations of love are flooded by the pain and fear of regular, normalized, and numbing violence.
Heartache that a series of online and phone conversations all concern bullying in schools—bullying of kids because of marginalized race, gender, and other social identities.
Heartache because this talk about bullying reminds me of my own experiences with Valentine’s Day and the hurt associated with not getting cards from classmates and of classmates playing hurtful jokes on others (that is, bullying) via the exchange of Valentines.
Heartache that enduring violence—in youth and adulthood, through actions of Othering and extinguishing life—dig in deeper and deeper scars, deeper and deeper trauma.
I take this heartache and choose to feel it.
To acknowledge and not deny it.
To speak it aloud.
To share that it’s here, calling for healing.
To learn from its wisdom.
To commit, again, to love.
Committing again to love—love for justice—I sit with adrienne maree brown’s “Love as Political Resistance: Lessons from Audre Lorde and Octavia Butler.”
brown calls us to action:
“This Valentine’s Day, commit to developing an unflappable devotion to yourself as part of an abundant, loving whole. Make a commitment to five people to be more honest with each other, heal together, change together, and become a community of care that can grow to hold us all.”
Sitting with heartache, I say, YES! I make this commitment toward growing spaces/communities “to hold us all.” Especially now as we’re asked to confront ever-increasing violence, may we invest in collective healing toward collective liberation.
This post is written by Beth Godbee for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For more posts like this one, you might try “Swinging from Sweet to Sour,” “Holding Space and Being Present: Two Resolutions Following the Las Vegas Shooting,” or “Today Resistance Looks Like …” Please also consider following the blog via email. Thanks!