FANTASY VS REALITY: PART I — THE DANGERS OF ROMANTICISM
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Who knows why I chose to keep pushing this off for an insanely long time. Perhaps because I still wrestle with this a lot, even being as old as I am.
And I also suppose it’s because most of the time I like writing pieces about things I’ve overcome rather than things that are current stumbling blocks.
Although, isn’t that the point of being an effective witness?
It shouldn’t always be about looking picture perfect or being spot on, but helping those struggling to know that you have your shortcomings too. It’s a necessary reminder that even the best of us need Jesus.
Frankly, If we’re being honest here, even among the best of us, no one is truly the best. We’re all broken people being rebuilt by the Savior and each of us is doing the best we can to get better.
So I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I’m just simply doing my best and that’s what counts.
And truthfully I haven’t been myself lately…mostly because of this thing I’m going to talk about:
What does it stem from? Where does it come from? What does it evolve itself out of?
The simple answer is loneliness, but for some of us it isn’t quite that simple is it.
There’s nothing like going through life thinking you’re the most content you’ve ever been until certain things come and tamper with that belief. I blamed being around people complaining of being single and desperately wanting to be in a relationship as the cause. I pointed the finger at my recent obsession with K-Pop music (both of which did play a small part, but ultimately were not the true factors for what I am about to share with you.)
You see, it’s easy to make romance songs, movies and books the scapegoats. “Man, I need to stop (reading/listening to/watching) this stuff! I was fine until I started entertaining all that!” Perhaps you are right. All the things mentioned, including those things listed above, can be triggers for loneliness.
But were you actually fine? Were you really okay or did it take those things to expose what was already there?
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These are things I’ve had to ask myself recently.
Romanticism in of itself seems straightforward, but in actuality, it’s more complex than you think. As it is defined, romanticism is described as something that borders on imagination. An idea that is impractical or unrealistic, and eventually, becomes belief. In a way this is true, but I think it’s even more than that. Romanticism not only can cause you to lose touch with reality, but it can also cause you to objectify people. It has you lust over traits and characteristics that you either attach or associate with that person while simultaneously stereotyping them. Romanticism can be quite disrespectful when you think about it because once the thrill gets cold it moves on to the next well of desire. Then once that well dries up, it moves on again, and again, and it never takes the person into consideration.
In some ways, I think there are some of us who have not only been victims but have created a body count of our own through romanticism…
Still, we have something like romance right? Romance between two people—scratch that—two MARRIED people isn’t a bad thing, is it?
I would say (going off of what I’ve heard from married folks in healthy, strong marriages) that romance without God in the picture is nothing more than lust. It’s fickle. If the romance is birthed from false pretenses and/or does not have Jesus Christ as the foundation then it’s an infatuation and a relationship that will soon be short-lived. Romance is nice, it lights the fire, but it takes Jesus, work and love to keep it going (and to get it going again when it’s burned out.)
We all know where lust leads us…but back to my point.
I remember all those times I fell into a whirlwind of, “Oh my goodness…(sigh)…If I could have a guy just like that…” every time I saw my celebrity crush in some film, saw his music video, etc. I recall watching Stomp the Yard and desiring a man who was a mixture of Brian White and Columbus Short. He’d be black, in a BGLO (Black Greek Letter Organization), and attending an HBCU.
Do you know how many Black men fit into that category?
LOTS people, LOTS.
And when I ran into a guy who happened to fit into this makeshift, spellbound wishlist, red flags were sure to follow. Here’s how it would usually go down:
Holy Spirit: He doesn’t believe in Jesus. He doesn’t believe in commitment. He’s got a different girl almost everyday of the week
ME: “…eh—I think I can make it work. He just seems like such a CATCH you know?”
To be clear, there are PLENTY of Black men who DO believe in Jesus, commitment and aren’t playing the field. I kept missing them though because that what Satan does. Through romanticism, he leads you to what you EXACTLY wanted for yourself. You miss out on the good ones with flaws but are great and decent men because they don’t fit into the stereotype of what you think he’s supposed to be.
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Yeah…I could go on about that for days…
Flash forward to today.
Somewhere down the road, I started doing the same thing with Asian men. I’ve done it with every man in every race, each having their own separate category of unrealistic expectations and—as I’ve said before—”romantic” stereotypes, but Asian men specifically have become the new well. The more I think about it though, junior high is possibly the earliest time this fantasy began. Where I live we didn’t have a lot of Asian guys around, so to come across one was like witnessing an amazing sight (for me, at least.) “Oh my goodness—he’s Asian! And he LIVES here?! He kinda cute too…” I think the only reason my first crush was Asian (still to this day we don’t know his exact ethnicity because he didn’t either) was simply because he was something different from the usual. “What would it be like to date an Asian guy? Oh the possible possibilities!”
And now that I take all that into consideration, I think it’s partially been my motivation for learning Japanese…
GEEZE—I can see why I didn’t want to talk about this now! It’s humiliating to admit this kind of stuff…!
I thought it was rude for someone to say they “loved” Asian guys but didn’t know anything about the culture or had any real respect for it. They just were basing it solely off of dramas and music songs from that culture. Taking a hard look at myself I’m really no different. If it weren’t for studying the Japanese language and learning about the culture, and reading my issues of the Inheritance magazine (which talks about Christ and Asian/Asian Americans and their testimonies, experiences) I still wouldn’t know much about Asian culture.
It’s contradictory, because as an African American woman, I hate when we are objectified. I hate the idea of a man solely approaching me because of my race—not my personality, not because of my character, not even because we share similar interests—but ONLY because I’m Black. He sees me as an opportunity to go exploring and see “what all the fuss is about.” I hate when that when it comes to romance and dating, there are all these superficial, stereotypical and degrading things associated with women like me. In fact I’m angered by it because I’m not a person anymore; I’m a conquest and he became interested because he was bored, I guess…
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However that is the same level of disrespect I have shown to my ALL my brothers, not just Asian. Regardless of what race he is or what he looks like, he’s still a person. At the end of the day, he’s a man and a human being like me. I need to recognize that; to treat him or view him as anything less is a disservice and a slap in the face of all men.
What I’m beginning to realize is that my issue was never with watching too many YouTube videos, or listening to too many K-Pop songs, or entertaining too many “someday my prince will come” conversations.
The real problem is, and has always been, that I became entranced by a warped idea of what I think love looks like and what it’s supposed to be.
And rather than addressing the problem, I chose to bury it instead.
Well, I can’t bury it anymore.
It’s grown too big and I’ve run out of dirt.
To be continued…