Editor’s notes that cover the thoughts of ILY founder, Erika Ramirez. Featured on ILY’s weekly, Patreon newsletter
It’s been hard to think about love, because I don’t think love is what’s going to fuel change, defund, and dismantle–at least not solely or foremost. Love, honestly, doesn’t exist without justice.
But as we are fighting, learning, and educating, it is important to be conscious of how one’s feeling, how one’s confronting or fighting against reliving trauma, how and what one’s processing, how one’s coping – specifically Black people.
“Black people can continue to study and use language that relates to our pain so we know what to call it when we see microagression, bigotry, classism, and sexism as well as patriarchy and racism,” Life Coach and Mental Health Therapist Asha Tarry shared in her interview below. “We must continue to validate one another’s experiences that are devastating and continue to advocate for our basic human rights. Black people have to also tell their white friends to do the work of being anti-racist, but without guiding white people to it. We have to quit cross-saviorism.”
Also, some people, because of the pandemic, were in the midst of confronting demons or wandering around the idea of healing, let alone doing so. Darryl Crews, our latest guest on our Emoments series, shared below how the self-love he’s been finding and fighting himself for during quarantine has translated into a deeper love for his fellow Black brothers and sisters.
There’s more work to be done, specifically from white people and non-Black people of color.
Words aren’t enough.
We need action, specifically from non-Black people of color and white people. We must protect, stand with, show up for Black people. We must educate ourselves and others. We must spread awareness. We must take part in fighting injustice and dismantling institutionalized racism. Starting from our hearts to our homes then across the world.
For non-Black POC and white people, writer Jezz Chung compiled resources to look into to support, donate, educate one’s self, and more. For the Black community, Ethel’s Club is hosting two free, one hour virtual group healing and grieving sessions.
Kenya Crawford, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, challenges Black people to “rest because the exhaustion that percolates after countless deaths of Black bodies can be debilitating.”
Sending an abundance of love and support to the Black community.
Letting go is tough as it is, but coupled with the loneliness specifically felt during these times, the concept has been harder to unravel and set in motion.
To my surprise, physical isolation has offered me the mental space to consider, for the first time in a long time, what I need to be healthy and happy–as happy as my perspective allows. It’s also forced me to find new coping mechanisms and rebuild structure (because what is structure even right now?). From there, it’s a domino effect of questions and purging of what fits and doesn’t fit in this new structure.
I think what’s hard is what happens after you’ve come to this clarity. How do you let go? Why is it so hard to let go even though you’re alone? I guess, it’s that you’re not alone. You’re alone with your thoughts.
What I have noticed though, now that there’s clarity is that it’s cleared the way for ideas: ideas on how to find balance, creative ideas, ideas on how to help my family and my community, etc. As Sex & Relationship Counselor Shelby Sells says, “Letting go of people, things, or habits that hold you back ultimately help you align with yourself and your purpose.”
The challenge now is how to train my heart to stay on a clearer path, versus running back for comfort which I can’t lie is appealing during a pandemic. But, at the same time, what a disservice that what be to what I’ve gained; for me to go back, when really, it won’t be the same–especially right now.
What about yourself have you learned during this pandemic? While you’ve sat with yourself, and only yourself?
There’s a theme of “too much” that’s been interwoven throughout my life, whether it be feeling too much or being too much or overthinking too much. But, it’s all been connecting as of late…
I have this fear of someone I love letting me go or forgetting me or not choosing me (when it comes to romantic love). it’s rooted from my childhood (of course), but fueled by not believing that I’m worth being with or, more importantly, that I’m worth more than being with someone who doesn’t surely want to be with me. If someone does decide to leave or let go, that choice has to do with them, not me.
I think what honestly saddens me the most, but what is the most eye-opening, is realizing that I’m only really myself with myself, because the fear of being let go of or forgotten has led me to hide who I am. I offer those I love pieces of me, gradually. But really, I’ve held back my wants and my needs; I’ve doubted them, even.
+ I care about how the other person feels before I care about how I feel; how they feel leads, what they want leads. I try to read between the lines of their messages and their sighs. Ultimately, I don’t show myself. I fear being vulnerable, therefore I’m not always authentic, and since that pains me, I choose to retreat and be vulnerable alone. I rather be alone with myself than be lonely while with someone else.
++ Because I’ve been told in the past that my feelings aren’t valid or however I feel is on me not whoever made me feel some way, I think I tend to hold emotions in and with that comes holding all of me in.
The problem with that is I’m not expressing and standing behind who I am. I’m letting someone else have control over my narrative and emotions. Most importantly, I’m not strengthening my self-worth.
But who I am, emotional and weirdly introverted, may be too much, but holding that back has only kept me away from love–love for myself and maybe love from others.
What is actually “too much” is carrying all this with me, instead of letting go of this fear and honestly letting go of people that only fuel that fear.
Love is complicated, until it isn’t. It’s a four-letter word with the power to amplify our greatest strengths and lead us to unravel in vulnerability. It’s a complex emotion capable of affirming our beliefs, while awakening our fears. Love shapes how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and how we engage with the world around us.
Yet, regardless of how we handle the trials and triumphs of living with it, love is a variable we all can’t live without. Whether a hopeless romantic, jaded skeptic or an undercover lover — ILY provides a platform for real people to share their true love story.
Through Patreon, ILY is creating a donation-based weekly newsletter that features original content. As with ILY’s site and social platforms, I aim to create a safe space for vulnerability. I hope to create a product that’s beneficial to as many people, especially during these times.