I’m not sure if I believe in love. I’m not talking about the kind of love you have for yourself, or your work, or your family and friends – because of course, I know those to be true. I’m talking more about the romantic kind of love, the love you feel when it’s just you and them against the world.
I use to think it existed. I use to think that cuddles and movie nights and knowing everything about the other person meant you were in love because that’s what my last relationship consisted of. But every time he would break something, or call me a bitch, or insist it was just me not loving him enough I would think, “this can’t be love” can it. I thought that for months before I actually realized that it wasn’t. He was in love with broken me, the me I was when I met him. He loved the me that needed him, relied on him, wanted to build him up and then build a world around him, when that changed – after I almost died last summer, I truly believe he was still in love with the girl who had died within me. The person I came back as could see the cracks in our relationship for what they were, the end.
I remember not too long ago, maybe sometime in early March (pre Denver) us getting in a fight about something trivial – money I think. We fought, it escalated, he kicked our rotating fan across the room into the backyard as I slid down the wall into a puddle of tears. I threatened to leave, I told him I was done and he had a panic attack and locked me in the laundry room until I listened to him “with reason”. That was the real moment it was over for me, sitting half dressed in a 5 x 7 laundry room, watching him pour his heart out, fearful and confused. I knew in that moment that there was no way our “love” was the real deal.
I became obsessed with that show 19 Kids & Counting. I remember watching Jill Dugger (now Jill Dillard) falling in love with her soon-to-be husband Derrick. Her face would light up whenever she said his name and you could just see this unspoken energy between them that was clearly love. Had I ever had that? Was I ever apart of anything that felt or looked like that?
I spent from March until now learning how to love myself. I prayed, I ran, I wrote, and I focused on me. I leaned in to every fear and insecurity within myself and let it break me down further so I could rebuild. When I started doing that good things started to happen – no, not good, great things started to happen. I took myself on dates, I listened to music too loudly, I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, lost A LOT of weight. I took small road trips and had dance parties with a 6 year old version of myself. You’ve heard this story, it’s a version of Eat, Pray, Love but a less extravagant, mid twenties version. I fell in love with life, truly. Gratitude and humbleness grace me every morning and I greet them with a smile and prepare for the day to take me on a new adventure even in the days that are not filled with very much.
It is within this that I figured out that I do know what love is and how to do it, yet I’m still in an internal struggle with myself over wether it exist. How can that be? When I was in Berkeley last weekend my best friend and I saw a couple making out in the middle of the sidewalk. It was a beautiful day, made only sweeter by the cool bay breeze and the soft summer sun streaming through the trees. We laughed and made fun of the couple as they walked, but as we kept driving we saw them stop for another passionate kiss and a tinge of bitterness that felt extremely uncomfortable came over me. I was jealous. Jealous that they had found love and here I was debating with myself over it’s very existence. Why was it so easy for them?! (It took me a while to finally realize I was assuming a whole bunch of things based on absolutely no physical or empirical evidence whatsoever… as I sometimes do…) Then I was angry at myself for being jealous and spent the rest of the afternoon silently fuming until I had a beer, talked it out, and then let it go (I had similar feeling to this throughout the rest of the night because she made me watch The Notebook too. Luckily I had alcohol.)
So, I’ve been thinking about all that lately feeling bummed that now at the end of my Eat, Pray, Love journey towards self discovery nothing romantic or epically and blatantly love like had happened. I wasn’t feeling love, I wasn’t thinking about anything even remotely love like… and then something happened…
A spark of something that resembles that love I was talking about started. It was just a glimpse, a moment in time where if I had blinked I would have missed it. I felt this feeling I had never really experienced before and I realized I was at the beginning of something… Something big.
TO BE CONTINUED 🙂