Love is a Curse Word.

Hollywood, MD – It’s Valentine’s Day again, and for many that may not be a happy day. This may be a day that has been dreaded all week. This brings back emotional wounds and fears and anxiety that you would just rather not deal with.

If hearing “Happy Valentine’s Day” makes you want to throw up….. ask yourself why are you so sensitive to the subject of love? What is that about? LOVE and COMPASSION often go together and they make some people feel uncomfortable if they don’t know how to receive them or give them. When was the last time you made someone smile, just because? If the answer is NEVER that you may have a problem show other people love and affection in general and Valentine’s Day is the best time to take a look at yourself and get honest.


Ask yourself these questions

How many acts of kindness towards total strangers have I done in the past 30 days?
How many kind things have I done for family or friends in the past 30 days?
Do I do things for others with strings attached?
Do I ‘fall in’ love easily?
Do I feel 
hollow inside –can’t feel deeply for anyone (detached)?
When I meet someone (regardless of gender) do I look for similarities OR differences?
Am I comfortable letting someone get to know me?
Do you have more female or male platonic friends?
Do I trust easily?
Am I open to love?
What did I learn about love as a child? 

Children tend to mimic what they see, whether they know it or not. If you received a lot of love and affection, then you may be a more loving affectionate adult. Additionally, people who are taught to believe in the presence or power in the Universe that is ultimately more superior than themselves are less selfish and more service-oriented in their behavior. Obviously, a child that is given material things before he/she asks for it or deserves it, is not a lesson in love. In 2017, just because the affluent parent can afford to shower their child with expensive gifts — does mean this action represent “healthy love” or will it help to mimic something that will later shape healthy decisions of the adult? Are we teaching our kids to grow up and strive to be loving or to feel ‘entitled’ to things in life whether they deserve it or not?

Reflecting on my own childhood…It was Valentine’s Day and I was a fourth-grade student at St. Phillip’s Apostle School located in Camp Springs attempting to cut out a paper a red construction paper heart. I really want to make a perfect heart shape for a red-haired boy named ‘Chucky LaBelle.’ I was concentrating on this cutting exercise when a female classmate asked what I was doing and I told her. She and Chucky were both Caucasian and I am African-American. I had recently moved to Maryland from Brooklyn, NY – the ‘land of immigrants.’  I was not raised to behave, act or think prejudiced or racist. I was raised to respect all people (especially my elders) of all practiced faiths, dogma, and religious backgrounds and never say or do anything to dishonor someone else’s God or object or place of worship.

The other child told me, “You can’t give him that!”  I was shocked and responded, “What do you mean? Why not?” She then told me that because he was white and I was black, I needed to give it to one of the two black students in our class. I still didn’t understand because I didn’t want to do that. This happened in 1978 and even though my little fourth-grade brain was still developing an understanding of love, I knew something was wrong with what she was telling me.

I was 9 years-old at the time, and prior to our relocation to Maryland, I had only experienced living in the city of New York (five big boroughs that never sleep) filled with a multitude of culture, skin colors in various tones and shades, exotic foods and languages spoken in every nation and land (sometimes heard yelling from cabs, windows, and fire escapes). Over the years, I returned to Brooklyn during school breaks in the summers and at holidays to visit my family, and will always consider that to be my home. Growing up in the red heart-shaped Big Apple, I experienced difference cultures blending and loving each other my whole life with no problem. I saw aunts, uncles and cousins date Puerto Ricans, Italians, Dominicans and Jamaicans.

Within a 10-block radius of my grandmother’s house every store owner and businessman knew her name. I have fond memories of the Jewish-owned deli on the corner that sold the meats my grandmother prepared every Sunday for dinner and the Polish butcher who would special order my grandmother sausage from South Carolina. I am from the section of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and you can’t get more culturally diverse than Brooklyn. I probably ate a million Italian ice cups and pizza slices growing up–my stomach hurts now thinking about it–made by real Italians.

Most importantly, I was taught to love your culture and appreciate the culture of others. Celebrate the differences in people and applaud diversity.

My mother’s youngest sister gave me the best advice on my last visit to East New York, Brooklyn. She said, “Niece, you should always meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.” I took that to mean, If I want more love in my life then I need to be more accepting and less ego-driven. 

Happy Valentine’s Day. One love.

Contact Shertina Mack at