Ever met someone who felt like home? Their arms felt familiar from the first time and you could unmask and lay it down? Ever been held with so much tenderness, an assurance with no word spoken? Held like everything will be okay when your world is all up in flames?
My relationship with love has always been shaky. From years of believing that I didn’t deserve it to thinking that I couldn’t possibly give it and running, hoping to hide from it. But love always reaches out. To say that I’ve never been loved would be the biggest lie.
My upbringing distorted my view of love. The love was I saw and experienced had a tinge of pain and people leaving. When I grew older, that’s what I looked for, without realizing it. My friendships were just as messy.
When my healing journey began, I accepted I had my flaws to work on. Being single for long periods led me to believe that I’d worked on myself enough, but I was merely building walls around my heart still. I’m human. My desire for companionship grew strong, and I needed to honour it as I did my loneliness.
I got into a relationship with someone. One thing I didn’t expect was the relationship triggering me. When you’re single, you’re blind to all the triggers and insecurities that arise with vulnerability. I wanted to hold on to my strength and, in doing that, I deprived myself of the joy that love would offer me.
The minute I fell in love, I wanted to leave the relationship. Love was stripping the walls I’d imprisoned my heart in, brick by brick. I started sabotaging the relationship to protect myself from heartbreak.
I loved with all the fear you can imagine. My bags were always packed up by the door with my feet itching to run. The relationship ended eventually. I wasn’t ready to be vulnerable and accept what I couldn’t control. I looked for trouble when there wasn’t any.
I gave love another last year, the most courageous thing I’d done in a while. It was effortless. Not toiling for it scared me, I was unfamiliar with ease. They loved me for existing.
I learned to let go and let love, no matter how strong the urge to control and fix was. The relationship triggered me as well, but instead of leaving, I allowed myself to feel every emotion and find the source of the doubts.
I had to stop agonizing about getting moments right instead of being fully present. I had to teach myself to stay, to forgive, and to be gentle with myself and my partner. I was learning about them as much as I was learning about myself as a lover and not the loner I’d always been.
So What Does Love Look Like For Me?
It’s taking a stroll hand in hand, to destination unknown, occasionally stopping to smell the flowers by the road. It’s the peace to run home to. The calm on days that attempt to shred me to threads. It’s laughter, talking, comfortable silence, friendship… It’s choosing each other every day, staying for however long it takes.