Dear Black women, an apology and a love letter

By: Jeremiah Pennebaker ~Staff Writer~

Dear Beloved,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I stress you. I’m sorry you’ve always felt the need to put me and my needs ahead of yourself. I’m sorry I’ve never come to recognize that. You were always there to tend to my wounds, to pick me up, to dust me off and tell me you love me and I can do anything. I’m sorry I never afforded you the same treatment. I’m sorry you had to lay down your dreams for me. I’m sorry I never encouraged you to pick them back up.

I love you. I love you for loving me. I love you for teaching me how to love. I love you for all of those late nights spent teaching me how to read. I love you for each shift you picked up in order for me to have lunch money. I love you for all of the sacrifices you made that I’m not aware of. I love you because you saved me even when I didn’t deserve it. I love you because you first loved me.

Beloved, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you felt that you alone had to be strong. I’m sorry I couldn’t be strong with you. I’m sorry that you took all the punishment and I took all of the credit. I’m sorry that you had to be broken to build me. I’m sorry I wasn’t appreciative. I’m beginning to recognize all of the things that you’ve done for me, all of the times that you stood up for us both when I was too afraid to help myself. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize this. I’m sorry I selfishly took advantage of that.

Jeremiah Pennebaker is a senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public major and staff writer for the Newswire from Columbus, Ohio.

I love you. I love you even though I’m reluctant to show it. I love you for all the times you’ve saved me from myself. All of the times you’ve fed me when I was hungry, the times you cared for me when I was sick and the times I was lost but you made a way. I love you because you showed me what friendship is. I love you because you never asked me to be different than what I am but you pushed me to be a better version of myself.

Beloved, I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I cursed your ebony skin. I’m sorry I criticized your full lips and the sway of your hips. I’m sorry I scorned your tongue as it told me what I refused to hear. I’m sorry I praised these same qualities in the women who killed Emmett Till. I’m sorry I made you feel as if you were less than, that you weren’t beautiful, that you weren’t magical. I’m sorry I claimed you were just pretty for a Black girl, as if Black girls aren’t the reason for sunshine. I’m sorry I made you question your intelligence, your exceptionalism or your power. I’m sorry you no longer feel that you can trust me. I love you. I want you to love me.

I want to earn your trust again. I want to break down the barriers that I forced you to put up. I want to melt away the iceberg around your heart. I want you to let me in. I want that intimacy we used to have. I know that my words mean nothing at this point, but I love you. It’s been a while since we’ve talked, but I miss you. I want you to come back to me. I cannot give any legitimate reasons why you should. After all the things I’ve done to you, I wouldn’t speak to me again, but I’m asking for forgiveness.