For the first time in my life, I felt as though I found a woman who saw real substance in my dreams. It was like a breath of fresh air. To live life, not according to criteria sent down from on-high, but according to the potential of our mutual love. Life was never the same again.
- Narrator, From Scholar to Felon
make sure you are not falling in love with the POTENTIAL of someone. We must know the difference between loving people for who they already are vs. loving the idea of what they COULD be. Make sure you are loving him for who he is today. His potential should be the icing...not the cake. (Smith)
reiterating that “falling in love with potential is a mistake” (Brunson). He goes on to say
So often I see good-willed people focus much of their energy on attempting to “rescue” or “upgrade” their partner… They haven’t fallen in love with the man/woman, they have actually fallen in love with the “ideal” of the man/woman. This is dangerous, simply because often times the “ideal” is never realized.
Potentially black love builds communities.
Some [women] give up on marriage, like, ‘I’m never going to find a guy who has a job, makes as much as I do, who’s cute, that I can’t pick up and spin around!’ (qtd. in Johnson)
Just a note on women’s liberation and the idea of gender equality. I have a friend. She and her brother are roughly the same age (actually they are the same age, for they are twins). When the young lady went off to college, her parents paid for her tuition, her off-campus apartments and her car (s). The brother had to earn his own way. Upon graduation, the young lady was lauded for how well she managed the university and for the independent spirit she demonstrated; the brother needed an extra year and a half to graduate the university. He worked full-time to cover his educational expenses and the opportunity time that could have been spent studying was sometimes spent working. In the same family, a family dominated by women for the brother and father were the only males in a household of at least eight persons, the young man is treated one way and the young lady another. What are we doing to our children? Some may think: the father was raising his son to be a real man. Ok. What was he raising the daughter to be? If I said a passive receptacle to reproduce concepts of middle-class patriarchal masculinity, would I be wrong? Let us move on.
Smith reminds us to “know the difference between loving people for who they already are vs. loving the idea of what they COULD be. Make sure you are loving him for who he is today” (Smith). And, in a posting on the Urban Cusp Facebook fanpage, managing editor Rahiel Tesfamariam suggests that we not “be seduced by counterfeits. Someone can be in love with the idea of you. An image of who you are that they manufactured for their own personal pleasure and contentment” (qtd. in Urban Cusp) (I first caught wind of this discussion via Urban Cusp’s Rahiel Tesfamarian. Urban Cusp is a great source for everything hip, divine and urban; check it out!). On the surface, I really agree with both the sentiment of Smith’s argument and Tesfamariam’s argument. I would suggest that everything we do with our lives seems to be rooted in idealism and potential, however. Remember the American Dream. (I’ll never forget when a girl was friendly to me because she said I had earning potential. Hah! Fooled her.). Hard work and dedication result, sometimes, in the attainment of dreams based on ideals. Sometimes all that is available is POTENTIAL...and sometimes what is most needed is someone who believes in and supports your drive towards becoming what you have dreamed of becoming. Perhaps, this is a role a parent or guardian should have provided. Some of us do not have the luxury of the noble lineage. Some of us get such support where we find it. Ultimately, I would leave each to his or her own. If you want to support someone because you believe in his or her potential and that makes you happy, then knock yourself out. Life is too short to do otherwise. Be happy. Unfortunately, some people are more concerned about what their friends will say when their friends discover that they are dating a man or woman who only possesses potential. “Why you dating him (or her)?” And then the trouble begins.
Brunson, Paul. “Falling in Love with Potential is a Mistake!” 7 June 2013.
Johnson, Christopher. “Single Black Man Seeks LTR. Single Black Woman? Not So Much.” 4 June 2013.
Labancamy Jankins. About Us.
Pinkett-Smith, Jada. “A letter to a friend.” Jada Pinkett Smith Facebook Fanpage. 28 Ma 2013.
Tesfamariam, Rahiel. Posting. Urban Cusp Facebook Fanpage. 25 April 2013.