Getting over an evil ex is never pleasant. It is the pure, unadulterated definition of unpleasant.
I’ve tried many things to numb the discomfort: drugs, alcohol, crying alone in my apartment to sad music, crying alone on the metro after fucking someone who didn’t make me feel better. I went to a lot of shitty 4 AM after parties to distract myself. I flirted with a lot of mediocre people.
B.B made everything painful and hard. We really were just playing house. The Barbie version of me was in love, but truthfully, I became mean and defensive in order to salvage what was left of the true me when he would leave. He left often. He made empty promises and only ever wanted to go out to shitty clubs. I could tell he wanted me to be a white girl in leggings and a crop top.
For him I wore leggings and crop tops.
It’s hard to love yourself when the person you love wants to love someone different: someone thinner and quieter, less argumentative, more interested in FishBowl Fridays than a social, political, and economic uprising of the Black population.
My brain has spent the entirety of my sexual and romantic life making everything exceptionally difficult for me. I overthink everything. I attempt becoming a docile and polite white girl. I am not a docile and polite white girl and my attempts are futile.
But love isn’t supposed to ruin you and Black girls don’t have to pretend to be white girls. It’s not supposed to be hard: it’s supposed to feel good, like you can just melt into it.
So now I’m finding the lovers who fall asleep listening to podcasts about Black liberation. Whose beds are exceptionally comfortable and who fuck me all night and count how many times I come up to the double digits. I find the lovers who let me be obnoxious, twerk with me to Megan Thee Stallion, but still challenge me when my walls come up and I’m being too stubborn.
I have begun to devote myself to catching feelings in the best kind of way; the unpossessive, unobsessed kind that nourishes itself with the sunlight that leaks into a cum-covered bed in the morning aftermath. The kind of way that releases expectations and enjoys, instead, the beauty of not taking anything too seriously.
This is a summer of fucking at least three times a sitting; eating takeout naked and drinking rose; spooning while watching psychological thrillers and contemplating how to dismantle White Supremacy.
It’s a summer of boyfriends. Spending hours in their beds without losing myself in trying to make them mine or trying to make myself something different. They aren’t mine and I’m not theirs. We just are. Existing. I am just me: sticky and sweaty and filled with exuberance and passion. There is no pretending.
This summer is different. It’s a Lauryn Hill kind of summer. It’s a summer to let the sun lick my skin dark. There is only room for growth, like curls towards a bright blue sky.
It’s a summer to lay in the bed of someone who values me, let the sweat fall in the folds of our black skin, salt water kissing salt water.
Give me the moments where we play Afro-beat and shoot our shit. I value you. Let the light pour in to all the stale places.
I’ve dated a lot of people and I realize that the best kind of lover opens you up and pours themselves in; nourishes and satisfies you, illuminates things you’ve hidden for fear of being too much.
My Blackness is not too much; I am not too much.
This isn’t just a Hot Girl Summer. It’s a Black Girl soaking in Black Love Summer.
Willow Vimbainaishe Cioppa is an interdisciplinary artist and playwright based in Montreal, QC. Their work focuses on the nuances of sexuality, trauma, self-reflection, femininity, Blackness, and their undying love for rap music. Their life's work is the search for the perfect dep wine to drink while writing about ex lovers who have wronged them.
Cole Craib is a photographer based in Montreal who focuses on bringing attention to artists and models of colour. In reference to the lack of representation in fashion and photographic industries, the use of a platform as a means of portfolio building for new models of colour is a key aspect of Cole’s community building. Cole plans to continue his 2nd year of remote studies at SPAO - the Ottawa School of Photographic Arts.