This post came from the August Writing Challenge I’m currently curating and also participating in. It is one of my favorites, so I decided to repost it here.
Sade Adu is one of my favorite artists ever. As one of my friends once said, she basically created her own genre. Back in the day when New York had a smooth jazz station, my dad would play it, and Sade was always on heavy rotation.
One major theme of Sade’s music I began noticing as I listened to her with more mature ears is the theme of loyalty.
I always hope that you remember/ what we have is strong and tender/ and in the middle of the madness/ hold on. – “Nothing Can Come Between Us”
As I’ve gone through my share of dating situations and my first long-term relationship, as well as observing the relationships of others around me, one thing I noticed is that loyalty isn’t always valued.
We sometimes claim to want companionship but don’t want to do the work so that loyalty is maintained in those relationships.
I used to think it had to do with age. Many people in their college and early post-grad years often are in the ‘I’mma do me phase’. Or they think they want relationships, but don’t realize that they aren’t ready for the responsibilities that come with it. In the end they end up bowing out of something good because they just don’t know how to make things work. That’s life. We all go through this.
But even when I speak to my older cousins and older sisters about relationships (more like quietly sit and intently listen to their man tales) much of the same relationship dysfunctions that are happening now, still happen down the line.
This makes me believe that the act of loyalty is really a conscious decision outside of age. We do not become better simply by living another year on earth. It’s a change that occurs because we choose to be self-aware and actually take actions to be better. Our relationships are only as good as the people present in them. And they won’t get better if we choose to stay the same person we were when our last one bombed.
Be brave when the journey is rough/It’s not easy when you’re in love/Don’t be ashamed when the going gets tough/It’s not easy don’t give up. – “Hang On To Your Love”
On the flipside of things, sometimes we become loyal way too soon. We don’t take time to investigate who a person is before we actually decide that we’re going to be loyal to them. Not everyone deserves our loyalty.
But I feel if we’re going to place ourselves in a relationship where loyalty is expected and it’s something good, then show and prove. If no longer capable, save your time and their time.
Unfortunately this isn’t always the norm. Can it all be so simple? Maybe.
Perhaps we should get back to listening to Sade.
“To turn my back on you/now would I turn my back on me?” – “Turn My Back On You”