Making Sense of Rihanna and Loves that Don’t Make Sense

“The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.”

~ Jacques Benigne Bossuel

The thing with celebrity news is that, to some people, they’re like street musicians. You don’t seek for them, but sometimes they get so loud they become difficult to ignore.

Sometimes you walk on anyway. Other times, you bring yourself over and observe the spectacle for a while, and then you walk away. But other, other times, you walk away with the song stuck in your head.
You walk away remembering, thinking, and somehow understanding something.

Quite recently Rihanna sung to Oprah that she still loves Chris Brown. This was loud. We know what he’s done to her.

But apparently, we seem to assume it means we also know how she is, or is not, supposed to feel about him.

For much of this ongoing hard-to-ignore street concert that some of us have been drawn to, I’d been pretty much on the same side as the mainstream audience and particularly female population.

Along with much of the rest of the world, I too sympathized with her plight, I too grew inexplicable feelings of despise for this man whom I never even knew, I too quietly cheered her decision to end the relationship and speak about her experience to raise awareness about abusive relationships, I too then turned around and questioned her sanity for releasing a single that seems to contradict her stand and glorify it instead.


So when I frst started reading about her ‘he is the love of my life’ confession, (possibly along with much of the rest of the world) I couldn’t help to involuntarily react in a silent I-can’t-believe-you-not-only-still-have-a-heart-for-that-douche-but-also-wear-it-on-your-sleeve-and-bare-it-for-the-benefit-of-his-ego-like-that kind of sneer.

But out of a need to pass my judgment based on more information, I read on.

And as I arrived at the point where she expressed her struggle trying to make sense of all that had happened and how at the end of the day, his happiness is still important to her regardless; the thick wall of cynicsm I had put up between the laptop screen and my mind broke down, and an invisible bitter sneer turned into a plain flat “Oh, I get her.”


I’ve been terribly in love once. At 23 in university I fell hard for a guy I was in a platonic friendship with.
He wasn’t exactly my type. And we had very little in common except for that we really liked being with each other and cared about one another deeply.

My friends for the life of me couldn’t figure out what it was that I saw in him or how it is that we were ever going to work out.

Yet against all my (and everyone else who matters’) better judgment I pursued the ‘relationship’ and pushed for a real relationship.

Never mind that I found he didn’t want the same thing. Never mind that each time he said that he would still go on and continue to pull me closer. Never mind that each and every time it would hurt.

We went on in the whirl for a few months. And no amount of time that passed could make more sense out of any of that than it did when it first began.

I eventually did snap out of it. But for a little while both my friends and I still kind of wondered, how in the world did that happen in the first place?

There are many possible reasons.
My own insecurities, ‘daddy issues’, a kind of second-time ‘first-love’, a not-yet fully-developed prefrontal cortex, chemical reaction as a result of physical intimacy, and other kinds of physiological analysis which could be very well true of me considering my background, temperament and general romantic history with men.

But if you ask me, stripped all that aside, the most essential answer I can give is this: I don’t know. I just loved him that much.

And as much as anyone would like to smack me in the head for that, that is, truly, simply how I feel.

And I can still say that about him now. Even after he’s moved on, even after I’ve moved on. Even when I no longer hope for the possibility of us ever being together again.

I can still say in all genuineness that yes, I will always care about his well-being. I will always be happy to know that he is happy.

Now I recognize that the kind of hurt I experienced cannot be easily compared to what Rihanna suffered through. And in no way do I see how such an act of violence upon another human being should be justified. But that’s not what I’m getting at here.

What I’m saying is that when I said I will always care about the ‘love of my life’ who shattered my 23 year-old heart,
I say that without the intention of justifying the contribution his actions made to the emotional turmoil I experienced throughout my relationship with him. I say that without forgetting what once happened or ignoring the obvious risk I would take if we were to ever be involved again.

I say that for no other reason than that is simply the way I feel.

And that‘s the point.

And that’s what much of the rest of the world doesn’t seem to hear from this song.


Whether it was the wisest decision for someone as heard of as her to speak in the way that may be misunderstood when it surrounds such a sensitive and hard-to-ignore topic, that is an area that would require a whole other evaluation (which I do not intend to elaborate on). But what is also important to understand is this:

People who have gone through very difficult experience involving a person they care about deeply, making peace with it and themselves in one way or another is extremely important in coping.

Some find the need to justify for what the other person has done, some need to find a way to understand in order to forgive, and some need to know nothing more than despite all, they still have love.

And that’s not something anyone can say “You’re an idiot” about. That’s not something anyone can take away from your life.

So if you’ve been dropping by and watching this street spectacle, observe before passing a quick judgment, listen before walking on.