When Do yOU sAY i love You?
By: Kemar Anglin
I dedicated an I love you after a possession by the spirits of Valentine’s day. The season is adorably inspiring, I could not pass it up. Before the season I have been thinking about whether or not I am actually in love. The questions came up of: When to say I Love you? When do you know your right? How do you know the feeling? Prior to my queering, I aimed to embody the beauty in a traditional love story. Most of these stories represent straight couples, living picturesque lives, sometimes going through trials and tribulations but still finding their way back to each other in the end. These characters sometimes knew that it was love at first sight. There is little context just passion. There is marriage, a baby, and a happy ever after. That makes a good story, but the transpiration of love in my reality has been everything but traditional. I am beginning to realize abiding by different culture's relationship milestones leaves me feeling confused.
Although it may feel like it, there is no right or wrong in the act of love. We (people), especially I, sometimes like explanations. An analysis of why we choose to love, the chemicals that it releases and how it can be controlled. Sometimes I wish loving another person could be as easy as loving my favorite food, frankly even that is complex. What if it is made differently or what if my taste grows….would it still be to my liking?
Living in the fear of something changing, doing something wrong, moving to fast, rejection or hurting the other person, hurts love. Fear leaves it battered, bruised, and ignored. Diminishing many potential relationships that I could have if I decide just to open up. This creates an argument against fighting the comfort and intimacy that another person can bring, even if it may not last forever. Why not embrace? When you feel it why not say I love you?
The man I wrote that I love to, I have known for a while. We notoriously have flirted with each other on and off and there is not much likelihood of us ever being an exclusive thing. There has been downs, heartache, and disappointment that I have felt with him that trump me feeling comfortable enough for commitment. Alongside my lack of knowing exactly what I want out of life, I do not care to pursue anything. Despite me knowing all this and perpetuating our distance, I still feel love for him. It is the strangest feeling. I know what some might be thinking “I am situated”, I’ll admit I am pro-situationship. Love does not equate to a partnership and sometimes a situationship is needed. On the other hand, I would not consider our relationship that. I consider him a friend. I like him. He’s cute and makes me laugh. I want him in my life, but I don’t want the pressures of a partnership in hopes of better days.
He has been the longest-standing romantic relationship in my life, committed or not, that is my milestone. I don’t believe in a forever we and I don’t want to convince myself of that possibility. I’d like to believe that I can’t comprehend how I can have love for someone who I felt wronged and invalidated me, but in actuality I can.
We learn how to love through our environments, identities, and the experiences that each of us have. Love was shaped differently within my Jamaican and Queer environments than the Western norm. I did not grow up with two parents traditionally in love. There were not much words of affirmations but a call to action. My parents were opposites, while being strong and resilient both in their unique lights. My queer influences have opened me up to their dating challenges, introducing me to the realities of my newly opened identity. They are not the ideal that society has constructed, but I learned to love others and love myself through their words of wisdom. I learned that love is a journey and is not perfection. I learned I don’t need the prince, protector, or the one to make me whole, instead look for myself. If that is the case, what do I lose by loving those who aim to truly understand me and who I aim to truly understand.
Free love is something that I don’t usually do. I like to be realistic, the realism is that all of us perform a mating call. My mating call might be considered the chase, understanding the choice of the prize, I like to think of it as the flow, understanding the length of time. Sometimes love can feel too good to be true, too bad to be false and everywhere in between, making it so confusing. When it feels bad, I am consumed with a fear of judgement and loss. Next the question becomes when do I say goodbye, but love isn’t a singular emotion but a grouping of many. I feel like these emotions can change as I change and I am not sure in what direction my change will go. Will I be monogamous, open, or poly or single? These answers come with time. They are deeply personal and subjective with no allowance for a universal answer, only introspection. Whatever I decide will be for me.
My growth is understanding every relationship brings something different. My mind has opened through my relationships; I have become self-aware of an entirely different world that I have not lived. I have become more patient, more loving, and more communicative. I’ve learned about myself. It is enlightening at best and stressful at worst. I love the time we spend together. I love the way I learn about myself through our conversations. We don’t love in ways I aim to love my partner but I love him.
—So I wrote him I love you.
Where are Our Gay Bell Hooks’?
Written by Kemar
Dating in my 20s is not the Sex and the City romance that I have recently come to romanticize. It is hard, anxiety-inducing, sad, and, at moments when a random hookup turns into an unlocked sexual fantasy or new situation-ship cuddle buddy, amazing. I am nearing the end of my induction to the 20s club. An exclusive affair where only the liveliest are allowed to enter. Weekends are spent partying with friends and getting to know myself sexually with strangers. The weekdays are spent playing catch-up and trying to integrate the highlights of the weekend. Every day consists of trying to solve the mystery of who I am and what I want.
Despite what multitudes of social media platforms are telling me, I can’t help but piece together what exactly I see for my love life. Marriage? Single? Poly? I feel like the search for love is not a norm for the young gay man. It isn’t current to be on a quest for love in the early 20s. In aspects I stand with the noncommittal 20-year-olds, I think it radiates heavy pick-me behavior shaping your fresh years of independence around a partner when there is so much more to life and many others to meet. The formative 20s are especially important for us Queer people. Most of us have been inauthentic our entire lives up until this point, shapeshifting our way through straight and/or white spaces looking for a place where we belong. Searching for a place where we are loved, where it is given and received effortlessly. On the other hand, I don't trust that it will all fall into place without some initiative. Figuring out, What is love? The never-ending (sometimes avoided) question with the always changing answer. Do our relationships always consist of love? I have only had one relationship and I am hesitant to count it, but I have learned even the toxic ones have love.
I am a talker, unabashedly, I can talk and talk and talk and I like to learn from the people I am surrounded by. Most of us pick up our ideas of love from the people around us. There is no right or wrong answer to what love is. Respectfully I cannot begin to imagine a lifelong partnership. It is scary to imagine myself with one person for 50 years as much as it is intoxicating. What if I get bored? What if one dick and ass is just not enough? What if I was wrong? And the question I am scared of most is, What if I get hurt? Can I argue that my generation has it worst with relationships? Or is it a cultural shift to something better?
Where are our Gay Bell Hooks’? Did we lose you to the epidemic? The love guru that will unlock the door to how men coexist with each other. Not a bromance, but an actual romance that transcends the current ideas of love. Does love surpass our man-made gender constructs?
Social media allows us to see what works for so many different relationships and gain perspective but it is almost impossible to differentiate what is actually working unless you are an apprentice of Sigmund Freud. I cannot see inside these relationships. I only see happy faces and cute photos. An ideal couple who are unimaginably beautiful and confident. I want this. I used to be ashamed to admit it, but I do. The right partner, the right time, the right love. Someone who just fits. How do I know when it’s right?
Most things I read say when I am at peace with myself and my partner. A partnership where we can express our genuine selves and emotions. A place where I don't have to prove that I am lovable but in fact I was born that way. It can be hard to feel loved in a culture that sometimes feels like your capital is based on your marketability. Big dick? Gimme some of that. U looking? Always. Fat? No. Positive? Stay away. Femme? Masc only pooky. Online dating is often a massacre waiting to happen: constant ghosting, the noncommittal grinders and jackees, and the lack of actually knowing the vibe.
Can we even socialize as a people anymore? Do we take risks on people we would not meet in our everyday circle? Or are we programmed to date based on social grouping and aesthetics? Is marriage outdated? Where is the direct communication? Has it gotten up and exited this era or are we just all lost queers in our 20s and our 20s expulsion will breed improvement? Is it love or is it lust? Am I too young to know?
To all my young gay men looking for love, you are never to young in your 20s, unless you are trying to run for presidency. I believe we can trust our hearts. Patience is the answer to our love intruder.
Time will tell.
By: Kemar Anglin
At 20, I find myself thinking about where I am going to be when I am 30. Will I have kids? Will I be married? Will I be loving what I am doing through and through? Will I be happy? Will I find love? I have always had finding love as one of my life goals. Finding a partner that I can share my life with long term. Someone who will always be there for me and me for them, who I will share my most intimate moments with, and grow with. I know I have so much time to focus on these things and should just revel in my youth while I can, but I argue that luxury is not easy for queer people. I have felt like it is something unattainable for some people in the queer community because of the stigmatization we face and the queerphobic thought patterns that also plague our communities, especially within underrepresented members. There is no blueprint for our futures, that is applicable to everyone despite our gender and sexual differences, but white, cisgender and heterosexual people have an idea of all the things their lives can become. They have more representation of the multitudes of identities, traits, and futures they can encompass, which are more positive than not.
Black Artist Matter!!!
Nicholas Anglin| July 20, 2020| 12:00 p.m
Meet Tell Hardy, a 21 year-old upcoming photographer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to ask him some questions pertaining to his work, himself, and how essentially supporting black artist intertwines with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Art is important, it records and showcases history. Ignoring or whitewashing black artistry, which is done often in America, aids in the silencing of black voices. A recent study done in 2019 shows "that 85% of artists [in museums] are white and 87% are men" and not much has changed since then. We should not leave black artistry to be showcased in only black history museums. Minority artist are often ignore or stereotyped, as we can see by the "Oscars so white", and how the only time black women are seen in big roles is if they are playing common stereotypes, such as the "Tragic Mulatto", the "Mammy" and the "Jezebel". It is important that we as a society amplify black artist voices and works and this starts at home. Lets meet and support Tell Hardy!!!!
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? With everything going on in the world right now, I don't really know. I know for sure I want to move to Atlanta next year to expand my art works. But right now things are tricky with this pandemic going on. I am working on a solo exhibition for next year! Im very excited about that. It will be my first solo show, so I'm taking this time in quarantine to research and learn a lot.
9. Why is supporting black artists a huge factor in furthering the Black Lives Matter Movement? It's our time! Sadly it took this long for people to realize. The world is changing. I'm very proud of the Black Young and Educated movement you all started. To be coming out of highschool, your minds are amazing. Keep that shit up! CHANGE is all I want at this time, and I know others do too.
How to support Tell Hardy!!!!
You can submit any work through firstname.lastname@example.org.