Friday, October 21, 2011

Our love runs deeper than skin (Originally published 8/6/11)

I didn't intend to fall in love, not in the traditional sense anyway. I'd been there and done that more than once. It had served its purpose, and I was really feeling like it was time for me to just be me, just do me, for a while. A little dating here and there? Sure. But a serious relationship? No, not really. That's what I thought anyway. That's what I said. And then there he was.

He wrote me a message that was so eloquent and soulful that I had to take notice. I had never met a man with such a mastery of words, and self proclaimed "word nerd" that I am, this immediately drew me in. He was deep, REALLY deep. But it wasn't just how he was saying things that caught my attention. It was the what. Consciousness, destiny, self realization, spirituality, meditation, life's purpose, soul connection. These are the things that he wrote of, and that we spoke of, since the moment we first came into one another's life. His words could have easily been my own, and mine his. It was as if we shared the same mind, and now I know that in many ways we do, just as we share the same heart.

But there are differences. His more introverted Scorpio ways to my extroverted Aquarius ones. My vegetarianism to his meat-loving. His preference for that "lived in" feel in our home to my preference for neat and tidy order. My wide social circle to his selectively curated one. His black skin to my white. Our love runs deeper than all of this. Our love runs deeper than skin.

I point out the difference in our skin color more so than any other area where we vary because after a few months spent as part of an interracial couple, I have come to understand, from an insider's perspective, that in some ways this is a really big deal. I'm stating the obvious by saying that it doesn't much matter to me what color my lover's skin is, seeing as how I am the white girl dating the black guy. But there is more to it than that. Being with C., I have begun to peel back the curtain to glimpse a culture, a world really, that exists all around me without my ever having really known it. He and I grew up a town apart, a grade apart in school here in south Florida. We both have powerful minds, love the ocean, have strong parental instincts and inclinations, get lost in our writing, are intense personalities and are fiercely loyal to the ones we love. We even share some of the less than pleasant traits, like being moody, temperamental and wanting things our way at times. Yet for all these similarities, for all the reasons why we believe whole-heartedly that we are tailor-made for one another, we cannot change that fact that we've grown up so differently, often see the world differently and are treated by the world differently, just because I'm that white girl and he's that black guy. It is a constant source of amazement to me, when we look at the same situation through the eyes of our varied perspectives and have the chance to learn from each other. And it is a constant source of amusement when other people's eyes linger a little too long or stare a little too hard, at the sight of us. It never struck me as a big deal to see a mixed-race couple, but apparently even in the year 2011 in the melting pot that is America, we're still something to take notice of in some people's estimation.

Let them look! I certainly intend to. As I look, I learn and I am inspired. I love seeing our skin contrasting against one another when our fingers interlace as we walk hand in hand. I love that for as classy, intelligent, articulate and gracious as C. is, he can turn on the street vibe effortlessly and seamlessly at any moment, adapting to just about any setting and any company we are in. I love that we constantly share things with the other that are new and unknown, whether it be the music we listened to growing up to a favorite food to a place around town that one of us knows and loves yet has been entirely off the other's radar, until now. I am blessed with this amazing love, this amazing man, this amazing experience of an exercise in cultural sensitivity right in my own home, literally. It is so incredible to me. Our love runs so much deeper than our skin, down through every cell and to our souls. And we have our differences, particularly our different skin colors, to thank in part for what makes our union so intriguing and interesting, so I embrace it all.

I suspect that many a post in this blog will be informed by the experience of my relationship, of all that I am witnessing, learning and becoming. I know for certain all my posts will be inspired by my love, because this love is so powerful, so all-pervading, that it truly does color my entire world and perspective on life. So join me for this journey, and feel free to share with me about your own. Blessings to you all.

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