“I wonder if she ever sat down and thought for just one second that perhaps love doesn’t exist. Because who has she ever known that has ever been in love? Not her parents, not her neighbors, and most certainly not her friends. How is it that you can begin to believe in something when you have never seen proof of it ”– Ivelisse Rodriguez, “Love War Stories”
Have you ever wondered? Like have you ever sat there and wondered if whatever you really had or felt in the past was in fact, love? The above lines got me thinking, wondering, and envisioning. I sat in bed and decided that instead of contemplating my past, I would focus on what I wanted my Love Story to be.
Little did I know that this exercise would bring even more wonderment and contemplation to my evening. The difficult part was that I couldn’t get past the first line:
I want a relationship like…?
I was stumped. Now that I’m in my 40’s things look different. Things that I once considered wonderful and worth mimicking now serve as cautionary tales. Relationships that looked stable, are now one windstorm away from tumbling down. Relationships that I once thought of as #Goals because of their durability, have the scales tipping to one side. Up close you can see how it is one sided, with a questionable notion of respect.
Others that you just shrugged off as “…that’s just the way they are with each other but it works for them”, are now seen as completely unhealthy. I don’t judge them, I just realized that I had built the romanticism for them and about them in my head.
What’s even worse, I realized that I had done the same with my relationships. Being the masochist that I am, I had to take a deeper dive on this. Which got me to thinking, “Have I really, genuinely known love?”
I don’t know.
My first “love”, was pretty traumatizing. It was my first everything, including my first heartbreak. He said he loved me, but then left me for a job out of state. I was giving less than 24 hours’ notice, and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be angry. It was a job. Not another woman. But the pain and the act of leaving was still the same.
He came back twice after that, each time I had a standoff with my heart. Each time I lost, we tried, and he would leave again. He tried a third time, but this time my past hurt made me stronger and I chose me over him.
Yay, she wins. But she doesn’t. I don’t.
I’ve never allowed myself to fall for someone like that ever again.
I’ve had relationships, they claimed to have loved me. But their indifference and coldness proved otherwise. I didn’t stay long to find out how I felt.
The slightest notion, a single feeling of L-O-V-E, had me taking an inventory of my relationship. This usually meant I was about to make an exit. Why stay? Why hurt again? Even if they say it, their actions don’t show it. BYE!
With tears in their eyes, they passionately proclaimed “I will always love you!” But always seems so far away, they couldn’t love me then. When I was open to being loved and willing to love.
However, I can’t help but wonder…
Did I really want to love?
I once thought I had found thee guy. The guy made my heart skip a beat every time we spoke. The man I could see myself getting serious with, he was the whole package. He was everything I had asked God for in a partner. Every-THING! There was something between us, we never crossed the line, we tiptoed around it, we caressed it but never crossed it. But that was okay for me. Why rush it when this-whatever this is, feels like sunshine.
My favorite part? The way his eyes lit up and smiled almost as wide as his mouth did when he would see me. Our intellectually stimulating conversations. Boy, did I have it bad for this man.
You guessed it. I set myself up. I didn’t see what was there. I didn’t want to see it. We never crossed the line. We were together, but never intertwined. He admired my words, relished in our conversations and always appreciated the fact that I always gave him something to think about. Apparently, one night I was so good at it that he called me, as he was on his way to see his wife (they had been separated for 4-5 years) about giving it another go because of something I had said. Yay me!
As my heart crumbled into a million little pieces, I wished him luck. The worst part was, I really, genuinely meant it. I wanted him to be happy.
Was that love?
Well, it sucked!
Do I want a love like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy? Bridget and Mark?
Those had so much drama attached to it, I would be too exhausted.
Oprah and Steadman?
I think I want to get married, though.
I’ve had someone say they were in love with me, before we even entered the second month of the relationship. I didn’t feel the same, so a Thank you was all they got. A few weeks later, I got a positive when what I really wanted was a negative. At that very moment, all the signs that I had refused to see, where made apparent and were no longer easy to ignore. I knew I would never love this person, most importantly I didn’t want to. At that point, I wasn’t even sure I liked them anymore.
I had a new life in me and they had already won me over. I decided to love us more.
Best decision ever.
How about romantic love? Was my first love, really love?
Could the love that I’ve witnessed be love? It couldn’t be, it didn’t end well. Can love leave? Is it love only if they stay? But what if you leave because you love too much? Is that even possible?
I’ve been with someone because they made me feel safe in a moment when security was what I needed. Love was never there. I think he tried, but his trauma was too heavy a burden to let him. So, security was what he gave. Unfortunately, it was tangled up with coldness and insecurity. He felt security was enough to make me stay. I needed it and accepted it. My strength came back. Naturally, our time ran out. He wanted to love me, but didn’t know how. I didn’t feel it, so I didn’t have the patience or the will to teach.
So, now that I want to envision my love story I find myself spinning. What do I ask for? What do I want to feel? How will I know it’s real? How do I know what I want? What do I need? Is romance necessary to be in love? Is companionship bad? Can you be in love with your companion? Can you only have one or the other?
I don’t know.
Now I want to know it is love, without having to go looking for the answer. Without having to take an inventory of the situation because the way I feel declares it loudly and clearly. I want my heart, my eyes, and my mouth to smile at the sight of them. I want to know that I’m safe, able to take my armor off when I’m with them.
I want to enjoy our conversations, I want to continue to think about our conversations even when we are no longer in each other’s presence. Those are the good ones. The ones that make you go deep and really think. The ones that leave you wanting more and that have opened up a whole new world to discover.
I’m still contemplating. I know the Universe has my back and it knows what I need. Let’s face it that’s even better because sometimes what we want…
Dear friend, don’t pity me because of what I’ve shared. I’m not upset, I’m not bitter. To the contrary, I love-LOVE! I really do. When others find it, I celebrate it. When I witness it, I bless it.
Rodriguez’s words made me wonder if what I saw, felt and had was really love. I still don’t know. Maybe it was. Maybe it was the love that I needed at that very moment. Maybe my fear kept me from feeling more. Maybe my hope in it made me stay longer than I should have.
But more than likely…
I will get my very own Love Story.