It was my intention to post this last night since yesterday was February 1st and I have this whole little countdown to Valentine’s thing planned to prove that I’m not totally anti-Valentine’s Day this year… but I got distracted by chocolate, wine, Guitar Hero & my most amazing niece.
My first “February is the month of Love” post – Love is More Than A 4 Letter Word.
Side note: Ironically, February is traditionally the coldest month of the year. Probably only ironic because my mind immediately goes to cold-hearted right now. (I’m laughing.) Anyway.
I came across the following video a couple weeks ago. It was posted last year. As some of you know, 2 years ago D’s niece was suspended from playing in a basketball game after saying “I love you” in her Native language. It wasn’t until her suspension that I found out how to say “I love you” in Ojibwe (gi-zaagi’in). Because of that, finding this Indigenous Love Words Project meant a lot to me. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve watched it. The day that I shared it with a friend of mine was a little amusing. She had one of the same reactions that I did, “Awww, look at all them NDN babies!” My favorite is the elder at the end.
This next video is called Native Love. I found it shortly after it was posted 4 years ago. I go back & watch it every few months. Earlier in the week when I described the video to Rachel I told her, “It’s a bunch of Native men showing appreciation to Native women & how much we put up with loving them.” She laughed and completely agreed with me.
And for the last section… I’ve been reading a book called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie. I love this book. Most of the stories have me giggling away. The following are quotes from the short story Because My Father Always Said He Was The Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangle Banner” At Woodstock. It was the only story that I didn’t laugh… because too many parts hit home.
From page 41.
Somehow my father’s memories of my mother grew more beautiful as their relationship became more hostile. By the time the divorce was final, my mother was quite possibly the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
“Your father was always half crazy,” my mother told me more than once. “And the other half was on medication.”
But she loved him, too, with a ferocity that eventually forced her to leave him. They fought each other with the kind of graceful anger that only love can create. Still, their love was passionate, unpredictable, and selfish.
From pages 45-46.
And even though my mother didn’t want to be married to him anymore and his wreck didn’t change her mind about that, she still came to see him every day.
After he began to recover, my mother stopped visiting as often. She helped him through the worst, though. When he didn’t need her anymore, she went back to the life she had created.
“I remember your mother when she was the best traditional dancer in the world,” my father said. “Everyone wanted to call her sweetheart. But she only danced for me. That’s how it was. She told me that every other step was just for me.”
“But that’s only half of the dance,” I said.
“Yeah,” my father said. “She was keeping the rest for herself. Nobody can give everything away. It ain’t healthy.”
“You know, ” I said, “sometimes you sound like you ain’t even real.”
“What’s real? I ain’t interested in what’s real. I’m interested in how things should be.”
My father’s mind always worked that way. If you don’t like the things you remember, then all you have to do is change the memories. Instead of remembering the bad things, remember what happened immediately before.