I never really cared about you when I was younger.
I mean, I noticed you; you were always hanging around the White kids — the ones with the latest video game consoles, the new Jordan’s, and that took fancy family trips to Disney Land in the summers. They had the privilege of growing up with you. You were always with them, from the moment they sauntered out of their mansions and slid into their BMWs. I could recognize your scent whenever you all walked past…
As I got older and moved out to go to college, my parents warned me about you. I could tell when they talked about you that they didn’t really know you that well though. They would lecture about who they had seen you have flings with — mostly men, older than me that you had flirted and been seen with before leaving them in a state of depression, broke, and even homeless. You were dangerous, and I was only 16. They would switch to Igbo as they gossiped about the illegal things many men had done to try to keep you around. They told me to be careful with you because one wrong move with you and I could be in a situation that could change the trajectory of my life — I was too young and naive to understand.
As I went off to college, I started to realize I barely knew you. Everybody was attracted to you, but admittedly when you’re young you get distracted by options. I gravitated in other directions where I felt passion. I even fell in love. Occasionally though, I would hear about you and be curious. I had heard rumors of what you were attracted to and who you’d recently been with; when you weren’t with White boys, you seemed to gravitate to Black and Latin bad boys — drug dealers and gangsters — always showing you off. I started seeing you in rappers’ videos. I would notice you in the club with athletes and entertainers. Everybody seemed so happy when you were around — you made them bigger than life and brought out the confidence in them. You had a way with people — you could make them dance, get them to be daredevils, and settle differences. Everybody wanted you…
I think a piece of me started to want you too.
When I graduated and got into “Corporate America” we finally started to see each other. We would hang out for a little bit, but you were always on your way to somebody else. I would get jealous as I spied on you and discovered how much time you spent with men that owned their own businesses, stock brokers, and all these big wigs at major corporations. I barely saw you before you saying, “I have to go…”. You’d usually be gone early in the month and I would look forward to those few days we had mid-month to do things together.
When I told my parents I wanted to get serious about you, they advised me to just hold onto you. Maybe just get a solid professional career because they figured that would keep you around. It was the immigrant mindset. They worried anytime I would let you go anywhere:
“What if she doesn’t come back?”
“What if you lose her?”
“If you want to start a family you need to be in a good space with her…”
“Don’t let her out of your sight!”
“You don’t want to retire one day and she’s not around…”
I heard it all from them, but they never really taught me how to treat you properly.
I’m writing you today because our entire relationship I have been intimidated by you and afraid to lose you. Every time you leave me it stings and I’m scared that you won’t come back. So I’ve been over-controlling and possessive. I track your every move. I plan where you can go and where you can’t. I’ve not trusted you enough to let you go and believe that you’ll come back to me bigger and better than you were before — ready to give more of yourself to me. I’ve operated with you from a place of fear.
I never really knew you. But I’m learning you more and more now. I know you love for me to hold you, but it’s better for us if you spread your wings and get to go a bunch of places as well. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend most of your time with me, but it means we should mix it up so we can grow together. I’m learning that yes, a good job will definitely keep you around, but that you love when I’m multi-faceted and have my hands in everything I’m passionate about; you like that about me and it seems to make you want to be around me even more. I understand that we will have our ups and downs. There will be times when it feels like I’m losing you — there may be unexpected things that temporarily take you away from me. But I now understand that I can’t be afraid to lose you. I have to realize, understand, and proclaim the fact that you love me and you’ll be back even stronger.
Yep, you love me.
You’re attracted to me.
You see a future with me.
So I’m not saying I can just go out and be stupid, but I know that in writing this letter, clearing the air, and letting you know how I’ve felt, it almost feels like a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders. I know how you feel about me, I know we’re about to grow together and I can’t wait to see it.
Can’t wait to see more of you soon.