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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speshal Walker Gautier a.k.a. Dr. Spesh

Sis, Love is vulnerable.

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Meeting and dating my husband was timely. When we met, I had been in therapy for a while and had done a bunch of unpacking and learning about myself. By then I was well aware of the many ways I had been socialized as a strong Black woman by two loving parents who only wanted the best for me. My therapist helped me to peel back layers of emotional armor as my journey in truly learning and bettering myself involved honestly exploring and confronting the deepest parts of myself. Woo! Talk about lessons in vulnerability and intimacy. I was working with a Black woman who both validated my experience and challenged the deeply engrained beliefs and patterns that were not serving me. Sis… when I say Dr. M got me all the way together! I am grateful for the journey that had already begun because had I met my husband any sooner I likely would not have been ready to take the necessary leaps involved in our love story.

Falling in love is vulnerable, expressing what you want and need is vulnerable. Sharing the deepest parts of yourself involves lowering your guard enough to allow someone in. This is an area that can be challenging for many of us because of our collective baggage. Within the Black community, we have a shared experience of resilience but also a common experience of protecting ourselves through emotional hardening. While I am talking to the ladies, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that many Black men have also been socialized to be strong and invulnerable. So regardless of sexual orientation or who Black women are dating, falling in love requires us to confront the internalized messages that may inadvertently impede our capacity for deep emotional intimacy.

Love can be scary because opening yourself up to love involves risks and vulnerability. There is a risk of being hurt and some approach relationships expecting to be hurt. Guardedness can become comfortable because it feels safe. Yet if you are reading these love letters, you’re likely interested in trying something different. So, let’s roll with that. As you continue these letters and imagine approaching dating differently you may find yourself in uncharted territory. In my work as a therapist, I often use the phrase “if nothing changes, nothing changes.” While vulnerability can feel unfamiliar and scary, opening yourself to love and letting down the emotional walls also has the capacity to deepen your relationships in ways you may have never imagined. If you’re looking for love it's time to l open yourself to love, Sis.

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