My Heart, Your Home: What is love?   

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What is love?

I am not sure that I ever truly learnt what "love" means. For a man to love a woman, a woman to love a man. I have ideas about what I believe love should be like. I have a hollywood fantasy. I have expectations and I have beliefs. But I still dont think I know what love is.

I come from a family who came from broken families. As far as I know there is no history of a successful relationship on either side of my family. Both my parents came from parents who ended up apart and who exposed their children to treatment that is far less than what I consider to be love. I am not sure that they ever learnt what it means for a man to love a woman, a woman to love a man. 

I have been privy to love filled relationships, of course. But I was raised by my Mother. Not a Father and a Mother. My Mum met a man, who was there all along. My Step-Dad who is here no more. But he never raised us. My Mother raised us and so I was not exposed to how a Mother and a Father love each other, how they show that love and connection to their children. My Mother did the best she could with what she could and I know that she loves us. But the love between a Mother and her children is so very different to the love between a man and a woman. It is that love that I never learnt. 

Because of this, because I never learnt what love is, I have had a hard time throughout my life trying to navigate men, and women. Relationships, boundaries, expectations, friendships. To begin a relationship is frightening and confronting. To stay in a relationship is terrifying and testing. To be a part of the relationship, that is the part I find the most difficult of all. I don't know how to give myself to a relationship, to a man. To a friend. I don't know how to ask for help, if I need it. I don't know where to start or where to stop. Once I begin to rely on someone, I start to rely on them too much. I find myself pulling back, diving in, pulling back again. I push.  I push so very hard. A test maybe? To see how much they do love me? Then when they walk I always think to myself, see... they never loved you at all.

I don't know what love is and for that I need to apologise. I need to say sorry to the boys I dated in highschool. The ones that allowed themselves to love me. The ones I hurt and pushed away. I need to say sorry, to all the girlfriends I never made because I was busy allowing myself be hurt by the one girl I knew would never truly love me, I was busy thinking she was the only girl that would ever like me and so I shut myself off to any other. 

I need to say sorry to the men I dated post highschool. The ones whom thought we had a future together. The ones whom did love me, the ones I thought I loved in return, but never truly did. I need to say sorry to the girls I have made friends with, only to no longer be friends with. I don't know what love is and I have hurt so many people in my quest to find it.

I need to apologise. To so many people. But mostly I think I need to say sorry to myself. For being so afraid of love, of having someone love me, that I have spent my life pushing love away. I have spent my life, mostly alone. Because I don't know what love is, I have allowed myself to be treated badly. So very poorly. I allowed boys to take advantage of me and I allowed friends to belittle me. Never truly believing that I was anything more than the way they made me feel. Irrelevant. Small. Boring. I was used by plenty and that was okay with me because at least when I was being used I was feeling something, if only for a little while.

"We accept ourselves the love we think we deserve"
--Perks of Being a Wallflower

If I didn't know what love was then how could I expect to be treated with any. I owe myself an apology. The biggest apology of all. I am sorry that I allowed myself to live a life of such unimportance. I am sorry that I allowed myself to disregarded and abused. I am sorry that the child in me was treated so poorly, by me and by the people I thought I deserved. 

As I grow older, I am still navigating my way through love and through life. I am now aware of my patterns. Of my ability to push someone away, to hurt someone bad enough that they leave me. I know how difficult I make it to love me but I have been blessed. I have been so truly and completely blessed. 

I am blessed by a man who loves me. Some days I don't think he does. Some days I let my lack of understanding allow me to believe that he doesn't and I push him. I push him away, I hurt him, I test him. I hurt myself. He does love me and he never leaves. I can see in his eyes that he isn't going to leave. I can see him begin to break and confusion take over and I always continue to push and he just pushes me right back. Because he does love me. He may not love every part of me, I may hide away some parts and other parts are not loveable. But he loves me and he proves it every day in the way he holds my hand. The way he looks me in the eye. The way he knows that I just need him, even when I don't ask for him, he is there. Giving himself to me and when I throw it back at him, he just takes it back and protects it a little while and then he does the most amazing thing of all. He gives it back to me, he gives himself back to me, when he knows that I am ready again. 

I have been blessed by a man who is made up of the blood of fairies, the sweat of angels and the tears of saints. He is full of all the things you want to be full of. He is patient. He is kind and gentle. He is soft and caring. He is loving and supportive. He is mine and I am blessed. 

I may not know what love is but I have the most amazing teacher. I have a man who is willing to walk me through this life and show me what love is. He holds my hand through all the good parts and he carries me through all the hard stuff. He is always there, even when I am wishing him away. I may not know what love is but I am learning. 

I have a man who is willing to teach me what love is because he loves me and that is more than I ever could have dreamed of as a child. 

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