Rom-Coms killed the Black Girl
Hi, I’m Lois Midamba, and I’m a recovering romantic. I have spent the past few weeks almost paralyzed with nostalgia for moments that I watched through rose-colored glasses. See, I’m a sucker for a sappy romance film and tv shows. I love to binge Sex and the City. I’ve watched The Notebook way too many times. I love them so much that I find myself looking at the world through the main character’s eyes in one of these films.
Being a first-generation black girl from a white place, the only romance films I saw that starred black people were Love and Basketball and Cinderella starring Brandy. I clung to that version of Cinderella. I had it on VHS and watched it almost religiously one summer. Those films were quality, but eventually, you get tired of only watching one or two movies. So you put your imagination to work and watch these films that star white people. You eventually get so good at using your imagination that you can put on those rose-colored glasses in life and make any moment cinematic. Romance films have ruined my idea of what love is supposed to look like and possibly my perception of reality.
Alain de Botton perfectly explains how romanticism has hurt all of us in our pursuit of love.
Romanticism is the pursuit of an ideal person, and, unfortunately, no one on earth is ideal. It’s part of being human. We are all insufferable to the people who love us in one way or another. Long-lasting love requires us to not look past these things, pretend they don’t exist, or even trick ourselves into liking them. Long-lasting love needs us to be strong communicators and find someone with whom the pros outweigh the cons. Especially combined with all the things the world told me black woman must be, I feel that romanticism made me believe I must be a martyr in love. The western world thinks black women need to be selfless and look out for others before themselves. We must stay and fix our loved ones if we genuinely love them. By sticking around, we will inevitably be paid back with their love despite how detrimental it is to ourselves. We will be their one and only woman.
Life is slowly teaching me that the opposite might be so. That stepping away from someone might be the best way to show true love. If not to them, then to ourselves. Love can be a vice in the same way drugs can, and some people will refuse to heal so long as they have a loved one to tell them they are perfect in every way.
So what's my thesis? Why am I talking about this? Well, I’m assuming I’m not the only one living in a bit of nostalgia. Social distancing has us craving human contact. Because we can't create new experiences, I think a fair amount of us are looking back at situationships and desiring the good times. We omit the toxic times from our memories for the sake of feeling the rush of love again. That’s gotta be a contributing factor to “Good Days” by SZA topping the charts right now, besides the fact that it is a bop.
I would be lying if I said I think falling in love should purely be a logical brain process. I believe in the rush of initial interaction. I believe in divine romantic chemistry. I believe we got to look a little crazy in love. Amy Winehouse has a quote I think of often where she's talking about why she's drawn to the music from the ’50s, and ‘60’s “So much music nowadays is like ‘you don't know me’ ‘ I don’t need you.’ And all then music then was kind of like ‘I don't care if you don't love me, I will lie down in the road pour my heart out and show it to you.’” If you are passionate about someone, then fuck looking cool, let them know. I think it’s freeing and a way to validate your emotions. However, making this the root of love is signing up for a sprint rather than a marathon. For me, I guess I want that love that is present even after the honeymoon highs pass. I want a love that feels more like when Connie and Steven merge in Steven Universe. We both are still independent, but it heightens who we are when we come together. When we are apart, we don’t lose our power. We take what we have learned from being with each other to better ourselves as independent adults. I will know I have broken my romanticism curse when I fall in love with someone and not consume my waking and sleeping mind.
If you're also a healing romantic, please remember the journey is challenging but worth it. I strongly suggest Alain de Botton’s youtube channel “The School of Life '' for assistance in breaking from the ideology. To all my people feeling nostalgic for a past relationship, it’s good to validate the love you felt for that person. Give yourself an hour, a day just to be consumed with the thought of them, but after that, let go for your own heart. The only thing in this life we can't get back is our time.