Reminiscing on love lessons from Love and Basketball.
It’s interesting how music and movies become the soundtrack to our love lives. When I was 20-something I ended a serious long-term relationship because “he didn’t want to compete with my career.” It wasn’t that I didn’t make time for him, I think he just hated that I wanted success just as much as he did, and maybe even more. Things were good as long as I never talked about my ambitions, but the minute I spoke about my own aspirations everything changed. I’m not ashamed to tell you that when he dumped me, I was feeling a lot like a dog that had been kicked in the belly – howling included.
One Saturday night, while I was knee deep in my caterwauling, my bestie dropped by my apartment. She goaded me into joining her at the movies. Honestly, I would much rather have spent the night with two of my favorite fellas – Ben & Jerry.
I finally decided to go, wearing a stank-nasty attitude all the way to the theater. I don’t know what was I thinking to let her chose the movie. While we were standing in line at the theater, I was looking up at the marquis trying to eyeball a better option. I turned to her and asked, “What’s this movie about again?” Not that I cared, I was just hoping she would hear herself and change her mind. I finally gave up and decided to settle for just “getting through” this movie that I was bound and determined to hate.
Let me skip forward a little bit to save us both some time. Long story short, not only did I love the film, it has become one of my favorite love stories of all time. Now isn’t that how us girls behave? Kicking and screaming all the way, only to end up loving what we started out resenting. I think I might still owe my friend an apology. *giggles*
I suppose what won me over about the movie is the fact that a hard-core woman like Monica (Sanaa Lathan) found her true love Quincy (Omar Epps) without compromising her identity. I also loved the fact that she was not the traditional “girly-girl.” You can’t tell it by the looks of my makeup table right now, but I used to be quite the tomboy. There was a time when I would have opted for a pair of Timberland boots over heels any day. Heck, I didn’t even get my ears pierced until I was 32. (Don’t judge me, I saw your jaw drop!)
I totally saw myself in Monica: Always the friend; never the girlfriend. I was more the “around the way” girl than the glamour girl. I was even convinced that pantyhose were invented as torture tools (I still think that). I felt her apprehension and frustration, but mostly I felt her passion. She loved what she did (basketball) and she loved her man (Q) with equal abundance, and in the end, she was able to have both.
I remember leaving the movie theater feeling hopeful that my Timbos and I could find love together, and that I wouldn’t have to trade them in for 4-inch heels in the process. Now, this was all before I grew into my femininity and tamed my alley cat of a shrew. But there is still that part of me that is very much like Monica Wright. Shux, when I’m angry I’m more like Ice Cube than Iyanla (ok, that one had me laughing at myself).
Thirteen years later, the message from the film still resonates in the way I live my life. My final point is this: I love my career and my man with equal zeal, and I’m hoping to never have to choose. Ok, now it’s your turn. Tell me a love story that changed your life, and why.
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