That’s the lesson I am learning these days. The other lesson I am learning these days is this: when life has a lesson you are clearly meant to learn, the whole entire world shows up to teach it to you. You get reminders of the lesson in songs. In traffic signs. In conversations. In strangers. Everywhere, through everything, the world shows up to teach you good. And it seems as though life beats that little lesson into you until you hold up your hands in exasperation and say, “Okay. I get it. I’ll learn this. I won’t ignore it any longer. We good? We good?”
Yea, that’s the lesson. And I don’t even mean that to play on a metaphor. I just mean, love is not some sugary, empty thing that looks surface-level pretty but fails to keep you full. If you keep meeting that sort of love then I think maybe you’re meeting an imposter. Some other thing dressed up and pretending to be love. Take caution, I’m no expert. I’m not someone who is going to yell in your face and tell you about the love you deserve. I’m just going to take off my own mask and finally admit it: I’ve worshipped the wrong definition of love for far too long. There was a strange kind of comfort in worshipping my own definition of love— it meant it could never hurt me, control me, surprise me or wreck me. My own definition of love let me be in charge of hurting, controlling, surprising and wrecking myself first.
Love, to me, was this script on repeat:
“Win people. Be worthwhile. Be the one that people want to love. Do what it takes to please them.”
And if someone came to me and said, “Listen, we need to borrow your definition of love. We want to print it in all the dictionaries,” then I would need to pity the world who would have to try to live inside my definition.
Because love, to me, was green eyes that stopped looking in my direction.
Love, to me, was begging to my own strength to try to get it all right.
Love to me was hearing scriptures like “love your neighbor as yourself” and laughing as I whispered, “That’s so funny. I barely even like myself.”
Love was promises we could not keep. Love was disappointment. And walls built up to keep me safe.
Love was moats around castles. It was writing notes to ghosts. It was hinging my worth on being chosen.
Love is all I ever wanted and the one thing I still feel too insecure to admit:
I don’t want it.
I need it.