Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Love, revisited.

I have been forced to reflect lately over the happenings of the last decade or so of my life after I awoke from a dream in which I been suffering from a broken heart. I carried that feeling with me for at least the entire morning. Even after I had realized it was a dream, even after I had kissed my husband and seen him off to work, I still held that heaviness in my heart. I felt so bad for that girl, the dreamland version of me. She was someone I used to be, feeling things I used to feel. She felt something that no matter how bad things get I cannot relate to.

I realized that I have learned to love in a different context. Love in my youth (---ugh, youth!) was largely characterized by desire, by a longing to have, needing, the idea of passion. "Love is the feeling that you can't live without someone." And how tragic is that? If you can imagine, my most significant romantic relationships were mainly with people who simply were not available to me. Whether he was not willing to commit, to equally engage with me emotionally, or was absent physically, the love of the moment was never in my grasp. I felt like I needed them, couldn't live without them. My heart was constantly in chase mode.

I used to reason that I must I enjoy the chase, like men. But I hated it, I am a woman after all and a very sensitive one at that (despite the image I put forth). My heart was exhausted. It was once the person I loved was no longer absent that I truly changed the way I viewed love. There is so much to love that is front and center. It's not just about how I feel about that person but really how that person makes me feel. Sadly, I had never viewed love as something that should be uplifting, providing pleasure and security. In fact upon reflection for every man I said I loved, love did just the opposite.



 I guess the cliche' "you can't love someone until you love yourself first" would be appropriate here but I don't think I didn't love myself. I don't think millions of women don't value themselves. We judge ourselves based on what we have to give-- and ultimately do give---a relationship, which is fine, but the term value implies price. More often than not we fail to collect. Hell, we are taught to give ourselves away, to toil and sweat for free. To demand anything in return would make us, whores or gold-diggers or worse...men. Even the Bible says that a virtuous woman is long-suffering. How would I have ever viewed love in any way other than suffering? Emotional starvation rather than fulfillment? It is so clear now, but it used to be so hard. The pain the girl feels isn't just of a broken heart but of having a bit of her personhood ripped from her. We give love more than it should take. It's not about how I feel about that person but how that person makes me feel. The answer the majority of the time should simply be "good".

I am finally demanding and receiving what I believe my love is worth. And to be honest, I still think I cut my husband a deal.
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