No Ordinary Love

Love is simple and complicated all at the same time. It is not just one single avenue but a plethora of traffic lanes that when it all flows it is an amazing ride, but when things get backed up it throws you off. Nevertheless, I couldn’t imagine not having experienced love. Especially romantic one, that raw sort of it-is-us-against-the-world love, or what my friends would refer to as “balls to the wall” love. I have been in love three times in my life where I gave it all and our world became a little less significant. And equal amount of times I have had my heart scattered to pieces on the floor like mosaic tiles. Still, to miss out on that sort of love life would be dull. But this is me today. I realized the hard way that loving someone else also meant loving yourself. And that sort of love didn’t come easy to me.

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It was year 2010 and I had just gotten out of a relationship with a man I thought I would grow old with. We spent two something years together, intense and beautiful. When he left me, I spent weeks weeping like a tree, rooted in my physical body yet falling over like thin branches carrying fruit. I wanted a second chance, a do-over. I had more love to give. I promised. But love doesn’t measure in ounces and pounds. And though it was true, I had more love to give just not to where I expected it.

Love is a give and receive, where the latter was an uncomfortable position I avoided for many years. I somehow didn’t feel I deserved it. So here I was, scraping up mosaic tiles with my nails. But you can only go so far by loving someone else but not yourself.  To not accept love from someone you care about makes that person doubt their ability to give love and contribute to your happiness. If something you give constantly bounces back, you will eventually end up feeling useless. Life has a way to bring these things to the surface no matter how hard you press down. I stared at my nails filled with pieces of mosaic. I knew I had work to do.

I started small by writing things down about myself that I appreciated. This was anything from physical attributes, to characteristics and abilities. Just to put three things down was a challenge. I twisted and turned every thought as if it was an inherent flaw in it. My hair: too unruly. My thighs: too big. My dance style: nothing special. My sense of humor: I haven’t laughed in months. My creativity: I don’t do anything that no one else can do. My ability to see the beauty in things: is that even a thing? Needless to say, it took me many months to feel remotely comfortable writing this list. Then slowly, we started to merge.

After months of that process I started to enjoy it, sort of like a dating except I was dating myself. Not only did I appreciate this, but I was curious to find out more things about myself. My hair: great texture. My thighs: lots of strong muscles. My dance style: individual and weird. My sense of humor: sarcasm. My creativity: this is creative isn’t it? My ability to see the beauty in things: yes, that is a thing. I started to re- discover a woman who had much more spirit and creativity than I had given her credit for. This was a person who had been in my life all the time, but I had forgotten her somewhere along the line.

I began to take shape differently in my own eyes. Appreciating these things made me much kinder to myself. When things didn’t work out the way I expected, I didn’t think it was my fault. When people gave me compliments, I thanked them. When I tried something new, or in a different way, I took away wins. I learned to set boundaries with the voice in my head that tried to make me feel bad for not being enough. No such thing; I was enough.

I gave myself the permission to be human. I understood that I had the right and the desire to love no matter what. I started to listen to my intuition, and what my body needed. A bath, quiet time, social time, laughter, artistic expression, a walk with a friend, a hug. I shared wins and my struggles with my friends for the first time. I cried when I was sad, screamed when angry, and even when I was frustrated and hurt I trusted that these less charming sides made me no less lovable. If I accepted flaws in everyone else around me, I owed the same treatment to myself. I asked for help. I allowed friends to care for me. I allowed them to be the friends they wanted to be; friends who loved me. And one day, more than a year after I started the process I sat with my evening journal and wrote “I love you.”

I am here today proud of how I got here. Proud of who I am. I desire love. I give love and I accept love. I meditate love. I teach with love. I grow in love. I can’t protect my heart from getting bruised or broken, but that is not a reason to not receive love. I deserve love.

We have one life. Thousands of people will come and go. Some will be in your life forever, others for a brief moment. We give so much effort to love and please others, and we try to be who we think we need to be to keep them in our life, to be loved. We make ourselves more than available for others, and often compromise our own definition of love for the other people’s sake. But don’t forget that the only person who will for sure be in your life, for as long as you are alive, is no one else but you. Give yourself a hug. Be kind to your heart. Shine bright. Appreciate you. Trust your abilities to love and be loved. And say yes to love. Love others, friends, family. Grow in and out of love.

And love yourself. More.

 

 

 

 

 

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