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European monarchies built and waged their power upon our deaths and our blood. Within this context, how could we possibly expect them to value Blackness?

By Nneka M. Okona Some months ago, I was comfy and settled on my couch awaiting that week’s episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. I had a glass of wine at my side and as I reached for the first sip, my eyes caught   a commercial for a new show aired by Bravo, named “To Rome For Love”. The basic premise of the show: a group of middle-aged Black women crossing the Atlantic to visit Rome, the land of pasta, gelato and the famed coliseum — for love of course. Gina Neely, one half of the famed pair known for their cooking show on the Food Network, was one of the featured women looking for love across an ocean and time zones. I watched the episode of Real Housewives and got my cackles in. My curiosity was piqued after seeing the preview for  “To Rome For Love”, but mere minutes later I began to ask myself questions. One of the first things I heard uttered on the show was how, “Black women have trouble finding love in America” and from there a laundry list was rattled off about the numerous ways Black women are perceived to be undesirable romantically; the goal of the show promotes the idea that if Black women dared to relocate across the pond, in London, Paris or Rome, their chances for finding love and being appreciated increases exponentially. That’s where the buck stopped for me and when I changed the channel to something else. Although it’s merely a television show, the fallacy of elsewhere in the world, namely Europe being a fertile ground for Black women to find love and adoration, is prevalent. It’s a commonly believed truth as per conversations I’ve had with other Black women of all ages throughout the years.
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Committing to self-love whispered quietly in your mind is all you need to ground yourself in the work.

Self-love is a term that's honestly gotten a bad rep. Maybe it's from buzzing around social media for so long without committing to the work of unpacking what it really means, but there's a lot of confusion on the role that self-love plays in our lives. It's more than a fun buzzword — it's the starting point for all of the love that we feel and connect with others in our lives. It all begins with self-love.  So what exactly is self-love? At its simplest terms, self-love is, well, love that you have for yourself. But where most people go awry with this is seeing self-love as a destination that they need to reach. Creating conditionals for yourself — if I lose weight or finish this class or change whatever it is about myself that is holding me back — isn't the way to build a strong self-love. The love that we all desire and crave already exists in ourselves, no conditions necessary. As corny as it may sound, the following is the trust statement we could learn about self-love: self-love isn't a destination, it's a journey that we embark on, and every day we make the choice to take another step. Even in romantic relationships, making time to center self-love is important. Too often we can lose ourselves, our identities, the core of who we are in exchange for how good it feels to be part of a partnership. But who does it serve if we create a hierarchy of importance between our identities as self-loving individuals and loving romantic partners? Both are important. If we want to incorporate more love into our relationships, no matter what form they take, we have to start with a strong foundation of self-love. There's no other way around it.
Related: TAKING SELF-CARE BEYOND ITS COMMERCIALIZED VERSION

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