The month of February, we will focus on defying and redefining love.
This is a post on how I realized I was under a spell of being a hopeless “romantic,” what “romance” really means, and how I have decided to stop falling and start rising in love.
My higher self has actively been trying to make me rise above romantic love for a long time to no avail. Well, until now.
Hey y’all. I’m Naima.
Hi Naima. 👋🏿
And I’m a recovering romantic.
My obsession with romance novels and films and the idea of love is not by accident. The spell of romantic love was instilled in me from a young age — from the historical fiction romance novels books I would swallow in a day or two, before indulging again right after; to the back-to-back “must-see” rom-coms that exploded in the 90s and 00s that filled my belly with half-laughs & my heart with whole-hope; to the imaginary Prince Charming of many faces in Disney films; to the societal pressures from friends and family and strangers - is he your boyfriend? No, he’s — When are you getting married? Um, I — Why are you single? Um… I.. huh? You’ve NEVER been in LOVE?????? Well.. no, gee.. um..
All my life, I have been programmed to be in love with the idea of romantic love. ROMANTIC love is the key here. Not the idea or action of self love. Not the idea or action of practical love. Not the idea or action of compassionate love. Not the idea or action of platonic love. Not the idea of universal love. Not even the idea of familial love was pushed as hard as the obsession of romantic love. Romantic love was pushed on me harder than any other type love I knew:
Dear young girl,
You should live and you should die by romance. Till death do you part with romance. Romance should guide how you carry yourself, dress, style your hair, powder your face, perfume your body, open your waxed legs.
Be desperate for love, young girl. Don’t you want that feeling? That spark, head-over-heels, indescribable, who-knows-what that you saw in Love Jones? You know you tryna be the Nia to a Larenz, so stop playing. You know, that feeling in your gut — the uhhh... butterflies. Butterflies, not your body’s natural fight or flight response telling you to be cautious. No, butterflies are fun. These butterflies are definitely a good thing, young girl. They lead you to romance.
Romance, that indescribable feeling you can only feel with another. Ah, romance. And my young girl, you are so deserving of this random thing no one can explain or give a true purpose for why you should feel it. But everyone feels it and you can’t miss out young girl. I mean, where is your worth if you don’t experience this romance thing, young girl? What is your purpose without that feeling, young girl?
Go fall in it. Aimlessly. Desperately. Fall. Head over heels.
And as someone who has never experienced “true” romantic love in 28 years of my life, despite the many experiences I’ve had with men, I thought for a really long time something was wrong with me. Something must be wrong with me for never having experienced “true” romance, like I saw on Love Jones or a Disney film. But wait… wait... let me back up.
What the hell is romance anyway?
The meaning of romance:
Google (well where else was I gonna go? A dictionary?) defines romance as:
NOUN - a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. Example: “in search of romance"
VERB - court; woo. Example: “the real estate owner romanced her”
Both definitions find their etymological roots in the Middle Ages, during the times of filth, disease, & feudalism — I mean, the (romanticized) times of kings, queens, princesses, knights. During these
times of plague medieval times, a romance was a narrative or poem or tale of a knight's adventure. These fantasy stories typically featured both propaganda and satire, the slaying of dragons, aimlessly searching for quests to complete, and saving a helpless and desperate damsel. The action of courting finds its roots in courtly love, which is another literary concept often found in these adventure stories. Courtly love consisted of a Knight doing deeds for a noble woman of the court in order to win her heart.
Some person on Quora believes there is a connection in ROMANCE to Old French’s “rim, rimas, rimance” which is also described as a style of verse narrative based on repetition. While “rim” seems to be most closely associated with rhyme, their emphasis on repetition resonated with me. Perhaps, because of the heavy repetition (programming) of romance films from the 80s to the 2000s I watched growing up.
Distilled down, to romance is to imagine, idealize, fantasize and project that fantasy. These fantasies are not just unique to your life partner, either. You can have an idealistic view of your parents, friends, idols, coworkers, and strangers.
I do believe relationships are integral to life on earth. I do believe love is true heaven on earth. I do believe in the importance of all types of love - be it passionate, sexual, pragmatic, friendly, or familial. I just think all of these things come second to the most important type of relationship or love. I think the obsession over romance is a distraction from real love. Real love, aka self love, reigns supreme.
Better than Romance 😍
How have you changed yourself for your idea of romance in the past?
How have you bent over for romance?
How have you settled?
Where were you desperate for romance and how did that actualize?
The reason I designed the OSHUNITA Collection was to create tools that support the love of self. Not to attract lovers, but to anoint and treat and love on you the way you should love on you. To appreciate and honor yourself the way you should.
The purest, most transformative, and godly type of love on this plane is the love of self. I personally believe romance is pushed so hard is because it encourages you to search outside of yourself for love. I do believe a lot of self harm women inflict on themselves, like desperation and toxic beauty practices and standards, are directly related to attracting the “perfect” romance we saw in movies.
If you are a self proclaimed romantic, I challenge you to put all energy you put in fantasizing about romance and craving and wanting into back into the self. What needs that love, attention, and affection is staring you in the mirror. Maferefun Oshun.
Again, relationships are important as we do not need to walk this earth without a tribe. Whether it be pragmatic, familial, sexual, platonic or otherwise. I want you to experience all love that is meant for you. But also remember how important it is to be self sufficient in love. Be self sufficient in love.
And this ain’t one of those “if you don’t love you how will someone else?” foolishness or post either. I’m saying you have to love you. Fullstop. Period. Regardless of what happens outside of you, you have to rise in love with yourself. You must. Finding a partner should not be the reason you love yourself. Love yourself because it is your divine right to experience heaven on earth. Love yourself in solace, in front of your enemy, in front of your lover, in front of strangers, in nature, with God watching. Love yourself because it’s not always easy to do. Love yourself because it will save you in this life and in the after. There is truly nothing more transformative than the love of self. There is nothing more divine.
What does creating a healthy relationship with yourself look like?
What does obsessing over you and loving yourself look like?
When was the last time you lied to you? What did you lie to yourself about?
Okay, let me rephrase the question. When was the last time you did something that wasn’t true to you? What was it? Why did you do it? How did you feel after you did it?
What will it take for you to full accept yourself?
What will it take for you to fully love yourself?
Being true to yourself is the new romance. I cannot tell you what that is or what that consists of, but empower yourself with permission to remember. I am constantly being reminded, and I am constantly learning new ways to love myself truthfully and honestly and divinely. Defying societal pressures of what love should be and redefining to what feels right. And the love of self reigns supreme.