Coffee in my Left Hand…Love in my right

Let’s talk about Love (there’s a song lyric there, did you catch it?). It amazes me that the thing we are commanded to do above all, the thing we internally crave and desire, is one of the most difficult things to find, achieve, or sustain.  And if you just said in your head, “I like love, but I don’t need it”, you my cynical beloved are exactly the point I’ll be making. Grab your coffee and give me a few minutes…

Whether you believe in a sovereign creator (shout out to God; Hey Father God!), or evolution, or bangs of a big nature (scientific, not Texan beauty queens), you have to admit we are hard wired to love.  The very basis of the world continuing is men and women coming together, egg and sperm meeting. Now, I hear you saying, “Vonn, you don’t need love to have egg and sperm hookups.” Yes, you are right.  However, the draw, the pull, the belly flop that gets the egg/sperm carriers motivated is the desire for love; connection. Before you get riled up, yes, I believe in adoption, in-vitro and all other forms of getting a bouncing baby here, but to date, it still takes an egg and a sperm.  I have to spell that out, because I can already tell you all will fight over a Now Later if I’m not careful.  My point is, we are hard wired to want to connect, copulate and populate.

Lately though, it seems our world has placed a stigma on the desire for love.  We’ve labeled those who are open to finding it thirsty, or desperate. Those who are committed to making it work hen pecked or caught up.  It’s as if we’ve decided that love is the nerd in the corner that none of us want to be seen with.  Love has become persona non grata.  This, friends is not good.

Yet while we say out loud “Ew, I don’t need love” dating sites like Black People Meet, Tinder, EHarmony and Match are multi-million dollar companies.  Match Group (which holds Match, Tinder and OKCupid) saw quarterly earnings of $268 million, which was a 12% increase.  A lot of people are on the love-downlow and I need you to bring all this love searching to the light!  The divorce rate in America is high, yet we’re still getting married.  Not one chapel in Vegas has closed down due to a lack of business, and the wedding gown industry alone could fund a small country with their yearly earnings.  We’re looking for love, and we’re taking that ultimate leap to forever love.  So why all the cynicism and love shaming?

Vulnerability.  It’s not love that we shun; it’s the avoidance of vulnerability. We have become major love sissys who are afraid of rejection.  We’ve become afraid to step out there, own what we want, and seek it freely.  I see a whole lot of #livefree but not enough #lovefree.  We lift up and worship ‘our grind’, shout our independence to the rafters, place every activity above love, and then secretly pray for and pursue it in the dark places of our mind and heart. And Tinder.

We use to slow dance and play Lenny Williams love songs when our paramour didn’t feel the same way. Dudes would brag about a woman they were pursuing, and women about a man they were going to let catch them “any day now”.  It was sweet, it was a little game we willing and unashamedly played. Now our music doesn’t speak of love, our get togethers and ‘panels’ are full of “why we can’t get together”, and “the problem with (wo)men is…”.  We rehearse our failures and war stories to the point that we no longer want to participate in the battle.  We’ve packed our vulnerability on the shelf and replaced it with armor. Or, we pretend to on social media, then go home and make Match Group rich by looking for love on our phones and tablets. There is a sweetness to allowing ourselves to be open to the ‘what ifs’ and risks of love. There is valor in being vulnerable.

I want to us to start placing value on love again.  Start giving love it’s propers (did I just date myself there?). Start high fiving those around us who are fearless in their pursuit of love.  Yes, my cynical beloved, you do need love, and I’m officially making it the cool kid at school; go sit with love. Let’s make the pursuit popular again. Let’s let ‘open noses’ once again be something we smile and tease about, rather than scoff and ridicule.  Vulnerability and love are what set us apart as humans. It’s the best part. Go be your best.

Let me know if you feel me, or if you can’t quite reach me.

*Dedicated to the memory of LaKita Garret whose personal motto was #LoveWell: Rest in Power Kita*


Coffee in my Left Hand …Friends in my right. I want to talk today about your friends. What about your friends? Will they stand their ground, will they let you down again? Okay, if you read me say “about your friends”, and that song verse didn’t automatically pop into your head, just wait; it’ll catch on and so will you.
Today I’m laughing about and loving on my friends. Since you and I are still in the introduction stage, I thought I’d bring them in early. You’ll definitely see one of your own friends, or realize that you ARE the friend for someone else.

The Fighter: There is always one Mike Tyson/Layla Ali in the group. Who hurt you? Let’s eff ‘em up! All hell n’all, you don’t have to take that. Listen, I know some people, we can make this quick and easy. Dude, you wanna roll up on them? Now, if your friends don’t say “roll up on”, you are probably not from Chicago. Because in Chi, we ‘roll up on’. The Fighter is down for whatever, whenever, on your behalf. Questions of your innocence are secondary, maybe inconsequential; if a fight needs fighting, they are all in. And, they’re willing to push you in if you’re acting squeamish. Oddly, this is a comforting kind of love. Knowing that your Dude or your Girl has your back like that feels good.

The Preacher/Evangelist: Can’t pay your bills? Let’s pray. Ex-wife acting up? Dude, I was reading this one scripture. Madea going in for her court case? I’m going to fast AND pray for Madea! Anything from open heart surgery to a frustrating line at Walmart can set the Preacher/Evangelist in motion! Doesn’t matter if they are Muslim, Christian, Yoruba or a HBCU born hybrid of the three (trust, that’s a thing), every situation calls for intercessory prayer, scripture, theological reference and a detailed description of the time “the Lord brought me through.” Now, don’t sleep, this friend is as powerful and “down for whatever” as your Fighter, they just fight on a different playing field. You want a friend that can get a prayer past the ceiling, especially if you aren’t sure your own prayer Wi-Fi bill is paid.

The Holistic: Dude, you still eating that? You ain’t woke yet? Girl, I have this essential oil you can put on that. Herbs, oils, ‘mixes’, and the “head remedy in charge” shea butter are this friend’s world. While the Fighter is mapping the plan, and the Preacher is praying you out of that whole situation to begin with, the Holistic is doing a sage burn through your apartment, to cleanse the bad aura out. They have quickened a rub of cumin and honey for your forehead, got a soak ready for your feet and hooked you up with this kale/quinoa/rocks salad that will get you right, right now. We hate tofu, but we pretend to eat it just because we love them, because we know there is love in that rock salad they made.

The Centrist tries to stay level headed, and rationally talk you through the insanity that is your life. They don’t judge, ask probing questions, and try to get you to see your own way through. When the Fighter has you ready to assault the next person through the door, the Centrist will bring you back around to the horrors of prison and why bail money doesn’t grown on fighting trees.

The Mind Reader is that one friend who always knows what you’re thinking. As you are fixing your mouth to say it, they come right in with “nope, that ain’t right, Dude.” You can give them 45 minutes of conversation, and venting and the Mind Reader simply says, “okay, yeah, but what you’re really mad at is…” The Mind Reader knows you, the lies you start to tell but then decide against, and loves you anyway. There is a level of comfort in the Mind Reader; they make you feel understood, known, and seen. If you are self -actualized at all, you know the importance of feeling known.
Centrist and Mind Reader are core in your Village. If you don’t have them, you need to make them your #2017SquadGoals and quick.

In reality, most of your friends fall into different categories on different days. I have friends who can be all of those in one conversation! And we need that. In order to be the best you, you need to have a crew of people who fight for, pray for, help you heal, and walk with you through the ebbs and flows of life.

And whichever drinks the most coffee, is my favorite.