Moments after I had sent it, she called my phone in a panic. “Are you okay?” she asked. I reassured her that I was fine. She went on to explain that she thought something was wrong and that perhaps I was contemplating taking my own life and that this message was goodbye.
Why is it that we don’t tell people that we love that we love them? Why is it hard?
When was the last time you sent your sister, brother, mother, father a message telling them that you love them? It’s almost like we assume that they know that we love them. How would they know when we don’t tell them?
Telling someone that you love that you love them requires a level of vulnerability that’s almost repulsive. It’s so much easier to say an ‘I love you’ that you barely even mean like those windis who love every woman who passes by. When the ‘I love you’ feels like a boulder in your throat, that’s the one that really needs to be said.
In African homes, we are yet to normalise telling each other how much we mean to one another. It’s like the “I love you” statement is solely reserved for romantic relationships. We can live in the same house for years and only tell you that we love you on a WhatsApp status on your birthday once a year. A long essay on Facebook pouring out our love for you is easier than sitting down with you, looking into your eyes and saying the very same things to your face. Why is that?
Charity begins at home
Our homes are the first place where we ought to grow and nurture love. Where we grew up is where we were meant to formulate an idea of what true love is like to prepare us for the world. We are currently searching for love in all the wrong places to fill the void of not receiving it from our families. Umjolo is giving us dating problems because frankly we are a Lil Wayne song and we don’t know how to love.
The world is going through a tough time. We lost so many people to the pandemic. It’s time for us to come together and relearn how to love each other loudly and blatantly in our homes and within families. This means more hugs and more ‘I love you’s. Our mental health is in shambles and there are people who literally need to hear how much they mean to you because they are not soothsayers. Tell them so that they don’t have to guess that you love them. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Fathers tell your sons how much you love them. It is not homosexual for a father to love his son.
I challenge you to send out those messages of love today. Take note of their reactions. One response that I got was, “I really needed to hear that.” It broke my heart. Why had I never said it before?