“Love is never wasted, for it’s value does not rest upon reciprocity”
I remember years ago having a tussle with a lawyer over the definition of love, as he wafted his newly engaged fiances ring around the restaurant table. I am no kill joy but coupled with the break-up of a very tempestuous 3 year relationship with an illegal immigrant, I found the whole notion of love hard to digest.
What if you are just fond of each other? Can you prove that it’s love? What if you are just really familiar with each other? You can’t touch it, see it or taste it. Prove it? Prove what you feel is love? How do you know love even exists?
I now think that Love has a lot to do with finding the one person who you like, who doesn’t reject your version of happiness. Someone who is comfortable with all aspects of your mind, body and soul.
The truth is Love is my biggest fear and my greatest disappointment. The first man I thought I fell in love with was when I was 13 years old. He was an exchange student and boy did I love him. I would just watch him in awe as he walked passed me and spat racial slurs but even though he called me names and made me feel like shit, I thought I “loved” him. Realising that someone could be horrified by my affection because of the colour of my skin was a real eye opener as well as a slap in the face. I definitely realised that as a person of colour not everyone will accept you truly, unless you accept yourself first.
Fast forward to my first proper boyfriend. At the age of 16 I met someone who liked me. Never mind that I had had the biggest crush on him for the 2 years prior to our first date, I had finally met a man who wanted to get to know me. This romance was short lived and soon after we started dating he turned out to be a cheater. Despite my young age my maturity was astounding and myself and the girl in question had a long chat, ironed out our differences and went our separate ways. My take-away from that experience was to be more honest about red flags. I realised that if someone cheated on me it wasn’t a reflection of me but a reflection of them. This lesson was hard but worthwhile.
My third heart break came by way of my abortion. I was 29 years old and in a toxic relationship which was failing in every way. My partner who was a narcissist, controlled everything and I allowed myself to be manipulated into thinking that was love. Never did we talk about what happened and if I tried to mention it, I was met with the rage of a steroid pumped stranger. I navigated the loss in silence but every day for 10 years was a day I live in incredible pain. Learning to forgive myself was my biggest personal challenge but living in the past stunted my progress and growth. Getting through the grief of abortion was hard but being able to live with my decision was the only way to move forward.
My forth heartbreak was more prolonged. With the realisation that my parents had lied to me about who my real father was for 32 years and the constant accusations by them that I was insane, it became hard to look at myself with any sense of self. I was lost and tried desperately to get someone to say… yes you have a point? Maybe you are right? I spoke to friends and boyfriends but no one could give me answers and ultimately no one cared. I sounded paranoid and delusional to the point that my family ostracised me. I was the one never invited to the family events, the one who didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge, the one who worked in ‘retail’, who didn’t have a handle on her career. By casting aspersions on my character they breezed though life without having to own up to their treatment of me. My jobs were dismissed. my career choice was an embarrassment to them and no one ever really asked me how I was? At the age of 32 my father died and within eight months I had a break down.
There is something so raw about breaking down. Everyone who looses faith will experience it differently. I couldn’t walk across me hallway to go to the toilet, my joints had seized up and my body and mind were exhausted. I didn’t care what I looked like, smelled like, nothing. I just cried for days and days as my world unravelled. I saw no value in anything and didn’t see the point in living, so I decided to get help.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (C.B.T) allowed me to speak to someone, really honestly for the first time in my life. Someone who didn’t see my issues as frivolous complaints but genuine concerns that we could get on top of. It was liberating to speak to someone who wasn’t rolling their eyes or cutting me off. I felt a sense of validation. I finally stopped hating myself and thinking that I couldn’t go on. Couldn’t succeed at anything. I stopped repeating the rules that my parents has slipped into my tea every time I didn’t live up to their expectations and I started to learn that I could decide the outcome of my feelings about myself.
Now i’m 40 I feel that my heart has been though a lot but despite everything I have been through it’s still beating; still keeping me alive. Getting your heart broken is actually a state of mind. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, wiser and enables you to grow. I no longer feel ashamed of who I am, as to feel ashamed is to let the naysayers win. Every day I ask the universe to send me a sign, someone good, who will love me for me, warts and all but until that day, I reserve my love for the woman in the mirror.
(Image not owned by chicandshady.com . No copy write intended)