Anthony Hamilton released his latest album on March 25, and I’ve been living with it for about a week. (Pre-ordered because I stan for that man’s voice.) It is definitely an older generation’s album, music you’d hear on your parent’s radio station. But I dig that kind of music, music that elevates women, music where men express love through their actions and words and not the abilities of their dicks, music that makes you long for someone to wrap you in warmth the way the lyrics draw you close.
This isn’t a review of the album though. Buy it yourselves and be blessed. No, this is about one song, one lyric in particular. Slightly over two minutes into the title track What I’m Feeling, Mr. Hamilton sings “You showed me what a man feels like when he’s covered, baby.” That stopped me in my grooving because I am pretty much clueless over that sentiment. I grew up in a single-parent household. I had a stepfather and he was a great provider, but he was not a second parent. My mother is a nurturer. She’s submissive (in the Biblical sense) and Southern through and through. But the dynamic between her and my stepfather seemed much more slave and master than one of a loving couple. To this day, I resent everything about that situation. The waiting on him hand and foot, the home-cooked meals, the obedience…other than keeping the bills paid, he did nothing to deserve any of that. And lest you think I’m just overly opinionated, my mom agrees with me. Okay, probably not completely but she doesn’t read my blog.
A village raised me. My rearing did not stop when I set foot outside my house. Everyone raised me, but in my household, where I would have a front row seat to how men and women are designed to complement each other, I didn’t have that. What I did have made me resentful and opinionated. Before I submitted to any man, he was going to require more than his paycheck because I would have my own. The last thing I would ever do is give my all to a man and he turned out to be worthless the entire time. So to fast forward a bit, my adult relationships consisted more of my requiring more of a man because I didn’t need him than showing him that I needed him so he could give me more. I had/have this fear of being made a fool, so I’m extra inquisitive and defensive. I’m not a “just go with the flow” type woman. Gray areas, “situations” bring out the worst in me. I need to know where we going and how are we planning to get there? Does he understand how many noes I handed out before I said yes to him and does he plan to keep deserving that yes?
So when I hear about covering a man, what does that entail exactly? The resentful, independent product of my environment inside me wants to reply, with accompanying neckroll, “Well, is he covering me?” But I’m not giving into that persona today. I truly want to comprehend and experience what Mr. Hamilton is singing about. To cover, bibilically, means to take responsibility for what God has placed in your care. How astounding is that?! Am I alone in feeling the world shift right then? Fine, just me. I’m sure I’m the only one late to the party. Y’all already knew this. Nonetheless, a relationship nonstarter for me, a mandate, a do not pass go prerequisite, was that a man must prove worthy of all that is in me. I was embodying, inaccurately, that Betty Wright lyric, “You can’t show your teeth to every guy you meet.”
I cover my family, my nephews and sisters. I cover my friends and women I never even met. I let them know they’re loved through my actions and my words. I make sure they’re good every day. I uplift them when they need it and pull them close when they hurt. They’ve never had to prove to me they deserved it and I definitely never threaten to take away my covering if things don’t go my way. Even writing such a thought has me scoffing. Neither my brain nor heart could even fathom such a requirement. So why have I not applied that same sentiment in relationships? Why have I not been earning my man as I was learning my man? Why have I not covered all those God placed in my care?
My younger brother told me once that I have a checklist in my head that I grade every man I date by. And as soon as he doesn’t check one box, I write him off as a failure. My brother is not wrong. But you know I want to do more than listen to how love should feel, I want to feel that love. I want to earn it.
(Of course, I want to earn it from a man that deserves such because a man is to cover, too. I’m as much his responsibility as he is mine. Just had to say it.)
Seriously, though…y’all didn’t feel that tectonic shift?
Today’s Soundtrack – Anthony Hamilton’s What I’m Feelin