BE THE Only!

Tender Mercies

I’m nervous.


Part of me feels special.

Another side of me is afraid.
Am I healed enough to say “yes?”

I’m getting head of myself.

He hasn’t asked. Yet.

But my mind is doing CRAZY things.

I’m seeing all-white wedding dresses.
Happy as the ring bearer wearing a customized bichon frise tux.


IF he asked?
IF I said yes?
IF Happy blessed our union?

I feel crazy.

Dizzy with possibility.

My Him keeps BLOWING my mind!

A few weeks ago, my Him came over bearing gifts.

These were not gifts I would ever ask for, and yet they made me feel loved.

We met in the parking garage in front of my valet. He smiled at me with his heart in his eyes as he pulled up.

“Hey babe, I have some things for you and Happy. Will you please pop your trunk so I can load up your rolling cart?”

I didn’t think anything about it.

I was just happy to see him. I popped my trunk. He got got out of his car, grabbed the rolling cart from my car, went to his trunk–and my mouth fell open.

In his trunk was a kitchen!

I mean he had EVERYTHING but the stove!

He had spices.
He had cooking utensils.
He had pans.


All items were new and never open.

I just stared.

When I finally could speak as he happily moved the kitchen from his truck to my rolling cart, I squeaked out, “Uh…. Honey… Umm… Are you moving in?”

He laughed, stopped unloading the kitchen, and came over to me.
There was pure joy in his eyes.

“No babe. I’m not moving in. I know that would overwhelm you. I’m cooking for you this weekend so you can focus on your work and writing.”

“But why do you have alllll,” I indicated the mountain of kitchen supplies that looked like the Grinch’s sleigh the night he stole Christmas, “of this???”

He threw a carefree glance over his shoulder to the kitchen mountain on wheels and said, “I take care of you. I didn’t know what you had so I bought what I needed to prepare for you what I wanted you to have.”

“But a crockpot? You bought a crockpot???”

My Him laughed again and said, “Yes a crockpot. You mentioned you like smoked turkey wings. So I am making you red beans and rice in the crockpot with the smoked turkey.”

He kisses my forehead.

“You mentioned you like Whitefish.
So I’m making seared cod in the pan.”

He kisses my cheeks.

“You mentioned you liked greens. So I am using that pot to make you collard greens as well as cornbread.”

He kisses my softly on my lips. My eyes stay open. I’m trying to process him.

He looks me in my eyes and softly said, “I love you Venus Opal Reese. You have a calling on your life. You help people heal. Of all the people in the world, I’m the one you have given your heart.”

He kisses my lips softly, cradling my face in his hands. He states his truth softly but hard as steel.

“It’s my job to take care of you.”

No words.

I just stand there in the parking garage, in front of the valet, completely speechless. My Him sees I’m stuck and throws me a line.

“I know it’s a lot for you. You’ve never been loved, really loved before. I’m a man. YOUR man. Here’s something that may help.”

He comes close again, kisses the corner of my lips and gently says, “Think of me as your Steadman.”

We both busted into laughter.

I could feel my anxiety and overwhelm melting in the warmth of joy.

It was at that moment, I realized something, sis.

Something I never realized in my entire life.

Of all the people I have been involved with sexually and romantically, I see so clearly now that I loved them but they didn’t love me.

Oh, they tolerated me so they could get what they wanted from the relationship, but they didn’t love ME.

They loved what I provided or who I was for them–at the cost of me.

I think the reason Black Women get so hurt in relationships is that we pour into people who don’t love us. They may say they do but their actions or non-actions NEVER lie.

When a Black Man loves you, you don’t have to beg for certainty.

He WANTS you to be secure in his love. He doesn’t want you second-guessing or feeling insecure.

That’s not love.

When a Black Man loves you…

…he creates amazing ways to please you instead of indirectly positioning you to nag or beg for attention and consistency.

I can’t tell you how many times I would bend over backward to show love to a person who said they loved me but NEVER have reciprocity.

When he loves you it’s his PLEASURE to put a smile on your face. He chose you. When he chooses you, there’s no need to twist his arm to treat you like he loves you. When you choose him, you have to browbeat him to do the bare minimum.

That’s not love. That’s trade.

When a Black Man loves you…

…he takes on the accountability of having the relationship soar. He adapts to you instead of insisting you adapt to him. This one took some doing for me to trust. I was so used to “making things work,” “doing my part,” or “going 50/50” I would compromise my needs.

I have given my love to damaged and broken people.

I thought it was my job to self-sacrifice and stay watering a dead relationship. I was wrong.
I was wounded and couldn’t only handle damaged things.

I had to heal to stop accepting scraps of love, like garbage thrown in the alleys where I used to eat.

I’m discovering that being in a healthy relationship with an emotionally mature human being means we both give naturally what we give and it fulfills the other person.

I’ve discovered because he adapts to my needs, I NATURALLY tend to his.
It matters to me that he comprehends how thankful I am for the quality of his attentiveness.

His thoughtfulness.
His emotional, mental, spiritual, and substantive provision.

Quite frankly, my Him is ruining it for ANYBODY but him!😂

I love that he shares how much he loves his Men’s therapy group, which he found on his own when he asked for another chance to tend to his triggers.

I feel included when he shares his work with me.

He forgives me when I fire off one of my PTSD anxiety-ridden text messages when he doesn’t say he loves me before going to bed.

He simply reassures me.

And somehow he translates my crazy into acts of love towards him. He thinks my fussiness is cute.🤦🏽‍♀️

His actions tell me he loves me.
His words solidify his love.
Not the other way around.

Even his mountain of culinary tools is just another way he is waving his heart at me.

He’s healing feeling attacked when I talk to him directly.

I’m healing my fear he will change his mind.

I’m learning how to speak up without coming down on him like a ton of razor-sharp daggers.

He’s learning how to hear my heart instead of my head when I feel anxious and afraid.

He speaks to me in soft tones instead of accusations.

I speak to him in loving language instead of criticism.

I am heard.
He is respected.
We are healing history.

The broken trust born in chattel slavery.
The wounded side.
Traumatic side of Black Love.

We are healing together.
Witnessing each other’s growth.
Granting grace for our stumbles.

Celebrating each emotional and behavioral victory when we heal or take ground with a wound that would have taken either one of us out.

We are growing.
We are blooming in our love.
As we heal, we love.

Healing let’s us be tender to us.
Grace looks like mercy, unearned.
Wholeness comes from healing.

Tender mercies make us whole.

With all the healing, I get overwhelmed sometimes. I sometimes feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. I’m afraid and exhilarated, simultaneously.

Weird, huh?

ALL of my feelings are extreme. I get SO hurt when I feel rejected. My heart breaks in my chest.

I feel better IMMEDIATELY when he clarifies what he meant versus what I heard.
My heart stops hurting.
I want to do cartwheels in the air when he looks at me like he needs me.

I’ve never had anyone care enough to learn to take care of and with me.

I sometimes think we don’t need to get married. This, what we have right now, is more than I have had in my life.

I don’t need the ring.
The dress.
The party.

He’s healing WITH me.

That’s more than enough.
I just hope he doesn’t expect me to learn how to cook.🙅🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️


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