Hey, y’all. Happy Thursday.

So today, we’re talking all about love. You see what I did there. It’s the title of the book or whatever, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about.

All right, we’ll go back. Hello, welcome back to my page. My name is timothy Dwight, and these are the Dwight pages.

Oh, so good to see you all um if you’re new to my channel, welcome, and if you’re returning, hey, nice to see you again.

We have a whole studio audience situation over here to get used to it but let’s get back to you so today.

We’re going to be where should I start. Well, to be a hundred, let’s just keep it real because that’s how you know we do it on my channel.

We keep it honest. Um, I’m not feeling the best today, uh emotionally. So we’re gonna see how this goes. Okay, because I’m feeling like a mess, but you know why I started this channel. Maybe it’s not why I started this channel, but it’s just gonna be a facet of who the hell I am.

So we’re just gonna have to deal with this. If I end up not doing this video, then y’all won’t see it. We’re wondering what matters right, so here we go so for this series in February.

I wanted to focus more so and like kind of give and create content that’s more heart-centered. So and thing and by heart-centered, I mean things that mean a lot to me.

Um, so for the first video. If you’ve seen it, if not, I’ll leave it in a card symbol. Um, I talked about black queer youth. Right, and that means something to me because I was at one point of black queer youth, and to this day, I still see the importance and um ride for black queer youth that exists.

And I am always looking for better ways to advocate and be a champion of black queer youth. So that was my first video, and today, I want to continue on the vein of sort of getting.

You all to get to know me and what I value. More uh yes, so today we’re going to be talking about obviously, as you could tell from the title and probably the thumbnail of this video all about love by bell hooks.

But coupled with that, I would like to discuss a bit of my journey. Reading this book, um, and a few of my relationships related to love right.

In particular, I wanted to compare what bell hooks are talking about and the sort of steps around like love. And like showing love and um receiving love and all that as it relates to.

My relationship with my um now-estranged father uh so yeah y’all just gonna get to know me a little bit more you’re gonna be a little bit more in my business.

But I feel like this is a worthwhile conversation because, during valentine’s day, folks always attribute this kind of holiday as a sort of holiday.

Or this like just gearing up towards this holiday is always readily associated with romantic love and though I have romantic love in my life um by way of my partner.

And by way of like many friendships and stuff, I really want to bring this conversation into the familial and how, to be honest, just valentine’s day is bringing up just me missing my father.

And that is a valid um how that is also a valid feeling to have um during a time that is supposed to be like this fest and merriment of love right so yes that is what we’re going to be talking about today.

Daddy issues. All right, let’s do that in bell hooks all about love. Um, she talks about, you guessed it, everything about love. There are sections here that talk about familial love that talks about um spiritual love like divine love, like the connection between you and spirit and you and god.

She talks about obviously romantic love, uh love amongst friendships, um, all those things, but for the sake of this video, I’m gonna break. I’m just going to focus on the first three chapters.

Um, and hopefully, after having the discussion, it will lead you all to want to check out the book yourself and read the rest of the chapters because there’s just so so so so much information in here.

That it’s just worthwhile and genuinely like, in some ways life-changing and in some ways super life-affirming.

I experienced a lot of like feeling affirmed the things I’ve experienced in my life through reading this that felt really good.

So yes, um, all this to say, I’m gonna just keep saying that I highly highly highly highly um recommend picking it up.

So the first chapter in this book is entitled clarity. Give love words um, and basically with this um entire first chapter talks about is the idea that love has been said to be undefinable.

Uh and like and very often in like our media and our rom-com universe, this idea of love is always seen as this sort of intrinsic uh natural.

It just happens like you just know. There are no putting words to it frequently. It is said that even trying to put words to what love is sort of diminishes it right. Because it’s supposed to be this like a heralded magical thing, and in this book, bell hooks are just like Nah.

The chapter discusses the different um different ways in which love can be sustained right and. Often a lot of what we see or are depicted in media relates to love stops at affection right sorry or attraction.

So in many of these different narratives, you find just the very nature of someone being attracted or someone feeling pulled towards another being is enough.

Or it is seen as like that is what love is and like that is like the summation of what you should expect from love.

But what bell hooks argue is that attraction and affection are just one ingredient related to sustaining a love that can continue to go on right, so the other things that are of primary importance as it relates to love.

Like all these other ingredients, things like care, trust, respect, and commitment are essential and sometimes even outweigh what we know to be attraction or affection.

So yeah, that one is like the opening premise that bell hooks give us to help us better understand where she’s going to navigate us related to the rest of the book.

And just to start there as it relates to my own story, as I said before, I wanted to connect my understanding of this book as it relates to what I’m currently feeling um with my [Music] sadness.

I guess that’s the best way to say it surrounding my relationship with my father, and I’m deciding to bring this up. While reading this entire book, I couldn’t stop thinking about my father, which was interesting because I thought that the first person to come to mind when I was reading this was my partner.

Um, right, like I thought that would be the thing like it’s all about love, so of course, I’ll be reading this for strategies to better our relationship, but in actuality, what was coming up was, um, what I was feeling like I was missing from my father.

And I think to start at the first chapter, what brought that up is how we define love and how the absence of a definition causes a lot of turmoil.

Right um and what she talks about in this book in many different sections is that how we define love and how we learn to define love varies from person to person, so what I would define as love or love is different from my father.

For instance, it would define love and loving, and the reason for that difference in many ways is just how we had grown upright.

I existed in a generation with different conversations about love than the generation my father grew up in.

Um, and knowing that my father grew up in a household that wasn’t a love focus. Like that wasn’t the center of their ecosystem of existing was how they love each other causes our definitions to be different.

And in that difference and in that lack of definition, it causes turmoil and can happen with any relationship, and it’s sad when it happens with a parent and a child.

But I think what bell hooks explains very well in this book is the dynamics of what makes love possible and what makes love sustainable.

Actually is not very different um across types of relationship, like what makes a quote-unquote romantic relationship work impossible isn’t very different from what makes a friendship um possible.

Right and also isn’t really different of what makes a similar son and a father’s relationship possible. I think that was a super important realization for me to read and see because that was something I was experiencing.

And I already knew it to be accurate but for it to be voiced in this way was very helpful.

So the second chapter is entitled justice childhood love lessons.

Um, and basically this whole chapter, this chapter was actually pretty rough to engage with, I’m not gonna lie.

In this chapter, bell hook explores childhood and explores and or instead acts as the reader to explore their childhood.

And she posits that abuse and love, um, cannot live in the same space.

If within the space abuses it exists, then love cannot exist simultaneously, which may feel like at first.

It felt like a sort of reasonable assertion. When I first heard it, I was like, okay, that makes sense. I don’t think abuse and love should be considered like um partners or something. That could possibly, um, feed one another right.

I think that is in itself violent and destructive. Right um, but when she was discussing this concept related to childhood then and when it became a little like right little rough, you know.

She acts us as a reader to look at our childhood and look at the times within our childhood that our parents acted in ways that weren’t that didn’t feel loving.

Right, and she asked us to sort of think about how we rationalize that and learn to rationalize it and how that rationalization and the logics we employed as children.

To sort of um make sense of the violence that we were experiencing along with this sort of assertion that it was because we were loved so much by these authority figures in our lives.

She asked us to evaluate that and think about how that has trickled um on into adulthood and how we define love.

If you really think about it, and this is not everyone’s experience, and I actually hope it’s not everyone’s experience because that would not be good. Still, I can say that there were many times when I was just confused by my parents’ actions.

And I was confused because there was one part of me that just knew so wholeheartedly that my parents loved me and knew in the sense that I was told it enough, right at least by my mother.

Um, so I just knew this I knew this thing like okay, I knew I was loved, but it was hard to reconcile what I knew to be accurate, which was I was loved to what I was feeling, which was not love right.

And I feel like that was the beginning of a lot of my cognitive dissonance that I think many people experience to this day—this idea of like the difference between what your mind knows and what your body knows.

Um, I’m saying this coming from this is coming from me whose mother was an alcoholic for most of my life um and whose father was emotionally unavailable.

As well right so these are the two people who raised me who also I know were doing their very best right, which I also know had was raised by parents of similar circumstance if not in many cases significantly worse.

Right, so I know that my parents were doing the best they possibly could, but I also know what I was experiencing.

Um, and how I wanted to offer grace as much as I possibly can throughout my childhood as a child, I wanted to offer my parents grace so much that I built up this sort of cognitive dissonance of what it means to feel abused.

But also believe that I’m being loved. I say all this to say that when she talks about this in this chapter, she asked us to reevaluate our childhood, as I mentioned before, but she asked us to think about how this has kind of spilled over into our lives today. I think nightmare.

I think I know that so many of my relationships in my early 20s were vastly informed by my desire, similar to when I was a child, to believe something in my mind that I wasn’t feeling in my body.

It was so long that I spent just like confused by why I was this way right like I had friends telling me like oh you need to leave this person or all that but like my mind couldn’t let go of what I believed.

I knew to be true even with so much evidence of the fact that this wasn’t true right, and I think about adulthood instead is spent trying to undo unlearned what do we have um built up as like sort of coping mechanisms and protection mechanisms through our childhood that we’re learning we don’t need now.

And I think this book, just that chapter, in particular, opened up that conversation for me in ways that I just need it like I just needed someone to say it, you know. It wasn’t an easy thing to read and then an easy thing to think about um but I hope through the course of me um within this like a short period of us being connected in this video um and me sharing these stories it’ll help to jog uh you. to be able to think about these things as well.

So the final um chapter I’d like to discuss in this video is chapter three, entitled honesty be true to love.

Um, and this chapter was also quite something. And in this chapter, bell hooks tells us basically that we’re all liars. And how so much of our lying has stemmed from our childhood and stem from what society has told us um is polite.

Right and how in many ways, this idea of being nice is also self-inflicted pain. Right like this, this desire to be excellent at all means it’s also like a vicious attack on the self in ways that are not just like cute or small or a little white lie.

That is actually very, very traumatic and, um, disastrous to your own well-being. So she talks about lying in the sense of like how you how we are taught to lie.

So, for instance, she uses examples like if you’re younger and you see your mother actually father um oh do I look fat in this right and you see your father take a moment like a squint a little bit think about it and say oh no absolutely not, of course, you don’t.

Right um, you as a child know your father well enough to know when he lies right so that you could see lies and then even if you were to ask your father about it right or maybe some other circumstance in which he has lied. If you were to ask him, he’d say, ” Well, you know sometimes you lie to protect the other person.

Right, and how just that very lesson alone has done so much damage to us as people that we don’t even understand that we don’t even know its gravity that even what we do as a means to keep each other protected.

Or um, like care for each other with these lies is actually doing the very opposite um and she even explains that there is no room for dishonesty in true love.

She defines love as one who is seeking to expand one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Right, like that’s her working definition of love. And she says within that definition, um, like an intrinsic part of that definition is honesty. Because it is impossible to, um, be a positive enabler of someone’s spiritual growth if you are lying.

You know today, um, I have been thinking a lot about that as it relates to my father and how I’ve spent a lot of time lying to him in the sense that I have not been honest about our relationship.

And I’ve been a little bit more honest as of late, which is why we haven’t spoken forum well over a year now, and it’s painful to think and to read this book and to know that the only way that we could possibly have a healthy relationship is if I’m honest.

But it is the very nature of me being honest that keeps us from having a relationship.

But the truth of the matter is that bell hooks teach us in this book that there is no true love without honesty and if that and if your relationship cannot endure the honesty, then true love does not exist between you even if it is a parent.

Even if it is a parent, I think that part was tough to come to terms with.

It was, and it still is, you know, um, but it’s so important, and she talks about this idea of living a life with a love ethic.

Many things go into love ethic right um many many different assortments of things that she speaks about in this book constitute a love ethic.

But the most supreme that she keeps returning to is honesty, and honestly, this isn’t an easy video to make.

And honestly, I was thinking about doing something a little different, a little more fun. Um, but I think the point that this book was trying to tell me and that like just the universe my ancestors everyone has been trying to tell me is or maybe is also trying to tell you is that you’re doing the very best that you can, and all you have is the truth.

Literally, that’s it, and I think that’s good enough. All right, so my camera died, um, apply for the best because I started really feeling it, but we’re back.

So yeah, yes, those are the first three chapters. Um, again, there’s so much more in here that I really really would suggest, and I would love for us to rethink um rethink holidays.

Like valentine’s day and what should be centered um in this conversation because yes, valentine’s day is often marketed to romantic couples like just coupling in general but let’s make this holiday of love.

Though obviously like super corporate industrialized or whatever, if we wanna if we’re going to use this space that we have which is this holiday, might as well use it for our service.

And some of that service can be going back and trying to look at our relationships from a non-hierarchical plane and seeing that how that we can how we can be better lovers to those who are not just being us laying beside us at bed at night.

You know, yeah, this has been all about the love. We have reached the end, um, if you made it to the end of this video.

Would you please leave a heart-eye emoji? um yes, leave a heart eye emoji and of course, um, please like, share and subscribe if you like this video and I will see you next week