I’ve fallen both in and out of love. I’ve lost love tragically, and thought I’d never recover from the overwhelming sadness. I was absolutely traumatized, in a way that left me numb and unaware. The only time I’d allowed myself to be completely vulnerable in a relationship with a man, I lost him to sudden death under terrible conditions. After that, accepting love and feeling deserving of it became an uphill battle. I never wanted to let someone in that much again. Once I knew what it felt like to lose that big, and hurt that much, I never wanted to be near it. My disassociative response leaves a big gap in time.
I unconsciously, and later with intention, set out to live a life where I never depended on anyone, for anything. Statistically, I was already fucked from a relationship perspective. A myriad of unhealthy childhood and adolescent experiences had shaped an unhealthy picture of what love and trust looked like, already. Surely my relationship style was “avoidant”, at best. I learned quite young that to be well I had to expect nothing, prepare for the worst, trust no one, and rely on myself. At twenty-two And alone, I added “love no one” to the list of ingredients. And, for a long time, that trauma soup worked for me. Really well.
Being vulnerable was a weakness. While I’m not where I need to be, I’ve learned to take some risks with my heart, and I’ve been rewarded with so much self awareness and understanding. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about what I want, what I need, what I don’t, and what I love. I’ve learned just how weak I really am, and just how strong a man I need. I’ve also learned what I can do, what I can’t, and just how confusing it can be for a man who isn’t tender to try to hold a broken heart when his own hands and heart aren’t big enough.
I’m not easy to love, and I constantly challenge it. I’m hard to please, I’m not tolerant, and I’m now filled with expectations. I’m both venomous and nurturing, and refuse to settle for less than what fills me. I am direct and independent, often confused with bossy and controlling. I’m moody and sharp. I resist charm and superficial bullshit like a super-power. To bring me to a place of openness requires a significant amount of trust. I need a presence of love that moves me, and as I grow older I am more comfortable with that expectation. I’ve grown to understand that I can deserve it, I just don’t always feel that way because I’m letting in the lover that isn’t mine.
Every kind of love is a gift and teacher, no matter how small or fleeting. But just because we love doesn’t mean we stay, or commit, or should. Often we shouldn’t.
I’ve had a brief encounter that took my breath away and it still makes me smile when I think of him. I’ve worked hard to make a relationship work, and I’ve turned my back with ease on another. I fought for one with Spartan determination, and tested another to see if he’d fight for me. I’ve been proposed to, and never married. I’ve given back an engagement ring…twice. I’ve been worshiped like a goddess and sung to by moonlight. I’ve had crushes that were nothing more, and once secretly adored a boy I never spoke to. I’ve had an emotional connection with no physical relationship, and I’ve had a physical relationship without a hint of emotion. I’ve tasted summer love to have my heart broken on Labor Day weekend, like most girls from The Cape. I remember my first love. And for years, I’ve held on to a deep and lifelong true love.
Some boys loved me, others didn’t at all. Some left scars, some became friends, and others just memories. I believe that love and heartaches are part of our journey and I do truly love love. I’m trying more than ever not to resist it.
I’m grateful for all flavors of love, but long for the companionship that both takes my hand and fills my heart. The kind that lets me bask and rest and trust. The kind that lasts. The kind of love that I love back, and it feels like a sigh when I do. The lover who knows that broken hearts are whole hearts…in more pieces with more edges. He’ll love it for all its complexities and lack of smoothness. He won’t try to patch it or assemble it, because it works. He’ll know that it doesn’t need to be fixed.
I’m ready to accept the love of a soul who has lived and hurt and loved as much as I have. Someone with his own scars and cracks. Someone who is as in tune with me as he is with himself. Someone who’s definition of love has also changed and developed into something much more than youthful unsustainable excitement and now includes something that moves him.
I’m waiting on a different kind of love than I’ve taken before. The one that charges my blood. The one that makes my chest flutter while I push responsibilities aside. A love who understands my instincts and my fears, and promises to nurture them. The one who accepts my challenges and laughs at my venom. The one who’s super power is to make me laugh. I’m looking for someone who loves love as much as I do.
I’m holding out for that one because I believe in its sentiment. Because with him comes balance and peace.
And when that man who knows how to hold a broken heart, in all its bloodied sharp pieces comes along, his hands will be big enough to hold both my heart and my hand.