My conversations with a woman I respect immensely who also happens to be my best friend, are invariably profound. Recently, we were swinging between genius and goofiness as we so often do, and Eloghosa said something very wise, as she so often does. "Grief is what happens when you have nowhere to put your love."

For me, From Louisville to Lagos, Black women have endured stunning, devastating violence. As I talked for hours yesterday with a woman I love dearly about the helpless fury she felt over I wondered when it would end. I wondered where we could rest. I wondered when our hearts would stop being subjected to these cruel beatings.

I don’t have any answers. At the beginning of the month, I tried to explain to Rob, our founding editor here at The Correspondent, what it is like to live in a constant state of existential exhaustion. To always be thinking about survival. To always be feeling my way through complicated grief. To be tired not only for myself, but also for my daughter, my mother, her mother, their sisters, their friends, and women I don’t even know.

I don’t think I succeeded. It is impossible to capture the weight of this type of onslaught, or to translate its particular texture to someone who has never been touched by it. Instead of continuing to attempt to explain, I told him this: a week after a sleeping woman was sexually assaulted two or three doors down from me. We were at a friend’s house. I was also sleeping. It was entirely premeditated.

When my friend told me what had happened, we cried for hours in each other’s arms. We didn’t need to explain why. The grief was familiar; decades old; unfortunately always growing.

Breonna had been sleeping too.

Throughout this year, as I have sat with instance upon instance of heartbreak over things that shouldn’t even be possible, I have taken comfort in witnessing other It has reminded me that grief comes from a deep belief – a firm knowing – that we deserve none of this. We deserve exponentially better than this.

We deserve to go to sleep, precious as we are, and wake up warm and rested. We deserve for our bodies to be safe; for our hearts to beat in a steady rhythm free of fear; for our sorrows to be brief, or at least meaningful in their prolongation. For no other reason than that we are already alive, we deserve to live.

When we grieve, it is because we love one another. Despite the lies that the world tries to force down our throats, we understand that we are loved and worthy of love. When our love is stopped in its tracks for whatever reason, our collective grief holds the space.

We write poems to and for one another, praying healing and holy words over our heavy hearts, looking one another in the eye and remembering to breathe in a world that clamours for us to stop.

It may break our hearts that inhuman systems claim that we are unloved and unworthy, but it doesn’t break our spirits. A lie remains a lie, no matter how loudly or insistently it is told. And here is the truth, precious in its fullness, precious just like us: Black women, black girls, are loved and worthy of love.

Our grief is this love in motion. It is the kind of love that keeps going, even when our hearts stutter – even beyond the point where our hearts stop.

The world is welcome to learn to love us, too.

Till next time,


Greyscale cartoon image of OluTimehin Adegbeye, Othering correspondent, on an orange background with a white envelope in the foreground. Want to receive my newsletter in your inbox? Follow my weekly newsletter to receive notes, thoughts, and questions on the topic of Othering and our shared humanity.
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