Today, I want to write about love. But, I’m not sure where to start.
Because, what can one say about this…experience that totally changes your heart? Valentine’s Day is around the corner and, of course, we’re all talking about love.
How wonderful it is. How painful it can be. How we wish it stayed. How it is such a mystery.
What is it about love? What is it about this thing that makes us want it and almost despise it at the same time? There’s a whole day dedicated to ̶f̶̶̶i̶̶̶l̶̶̶l̶̶̶i̶̶̶n̶̶̶g̶̶̶ ̶̶̶t̶̶̶h̶̶̶e̶̶̶ ̶̶̶p̶̶̶o̶̶̶c̶̶̶k̶̶̶e̶̶̶t̶̶̶s̶̶̶ ̶̶̶o̶̶̶f̶̶̶ ̶̶̶c̶̶̶a̶̶̶p̶̶̶i̶̶̶t̶̶̶a̶̶̶l̶̶̶i̶̶̶s̶̶̶t̶̶̶s̶̶̶ love, and we’ve been speaking about it since the 26th of December.
What is it about love?
When I think about this sensation..this experience…this chain (because Lord knows once love catches you, it’s not trying to be released), the only words that come to mind are from Brene Brown:
To love is to be vulnerable.
I hear the word “vulnerable” and I think of pain. Because what could hurt more than letting your guard down and telling someone, “See. This is me,” not knowing whether they’ll wrap you with warmth, or leave you worse off.
To love is to be vulnerable.
Have you ever felt the intensity of love?
Have you ever found your heart pounding, your body restless, and your mind racing, all because of love?
Has love ever woken you up? Shocked you?
I’ll be honest with you. Love scares me.
You see, it’s easy to talk about love when it brings you butterflies, makes you smile, and has you posting multiple heart-eyed emojis daily. But you have to accept that this isn’t the whole truth.
No matter how much we may fight it, love is ever-changing ground.
Happy today. Strange tomorrow. Sometimes painful, too.
I’ve chosen to divide what love means to me, in 5 parts. Maybe you’ll relate.
Love is a risk
To open up your heart, let someone in, and also commit to exploring their world, means unveiling layers you usually keep closed.
To love is to let someone into the places you reserve for yourself. It’s letting go of your guard and doing the things you don’t usually do.
It’s looking silly. It’s laughing unrestrained. It’s going to the bathroom while they’re in the lounge. It’s showing them your anxiety. It’s revealing layers.
Love is a risk because you lower your guard, hoping that you won’t be met with missiles. You can never know for sure how it will go.
What is life without risk?
Imagine living such a careful life, to avoid disaster, you end up missing any chance at experiencing the fullness of life itself.
Love can go any way. And it’s on you to decide whether it’s worth it or not
Love is a journey
Where you start and where you end, when you let love in you won’t know.
But love will leave you a different person. Sometimes for the better – sometimes not. As you and the one whom you choose to share this journey with, take it day by day, you create a new stop on the map, a new road along the way, another mile on the meter.
You experience each other at your highs, individually, together…
You hold each other during the lows.
You pick up the pieces after the times you cause them. You bandage each other when the wounds come up.
And you get up each day, choosing to see where love will take you next.
Love can be pain…
We must remember that we grow in different homes. We don’t always get to grow up whole. Sometimes, our scars inflict pain.
Sometimes we hurt each other, accidentally…sometimes intentionally.
When you lay your heart bare before another, understand that as amazing as you may both be in each other’s eyes, there are times this sensitivity…this softness…will be mishandled. And it will hurt.
There will be days you realize they are not the oasis you think they are, and you will remain parched. Disappointment scratching your throat.
Love can hurt. But it should not kill you.
A love that seeks to harm, intentionally and deliberately, is not the pain we excuse. It is not a pain to tell to stay. When love tries to take your life, beloved the love you have for yourself must overcome you so you can walk away.
But even in simple love, love where you breathe life into each other, comes with pains. But it does not mean it will always stay. Because as much as love hurts…
Love also heals
As we come from different homes that put cracks in our “whole”, we also learn how to create warmth.
We learn how to soothe wounds and grow fresh roots.
We help in healing each other.
With simple hugs, silent embraces, and affirming words that remind each other of why this earth rejoices at every breath you take. Love heals, too.
It’s the “I’m sorry” after an argument, and the clear signs of changed behavior. It’s sending care packages before exams, during periods, and after a hard day at work. It’s breakfast in bed. It’s “I hear you”. It’s showing one another that you are seen.
When love seeks to help and not to harm, you can see it. Thought times may be tough and doubts abound, a love that heals is what helps you both say, “One more day.” over and over again.
Sometimes, a love that heals is also knowing when to let go.
Love can end.
I’m a firm believer in endless love.
I don’t believe that there is only one person for you. In this world of 7 billion? Only one heart is yours? That is cruel.
I don’t think we’ll meet every heart that could be ours, and the few we meet might not always be the end.
We live in a world where time can be faster than our expectations, situations throw certainty out the window, and sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes, two hearts cannot sustain it and out of the love they have for one another, they realize that the journey needs to end so that they can continue to grow, alone. There is no shame in a love that ends.
And it will take time for you to be grateful that it passed you by. And sometimes you’ll wish you never met it, because the pain is just that much. Sometimes, love ends, and it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that’s the end for you though. There is new love ahead, maybe just..not right now. Not today.
The heartbreak that comes from an ended love is enough to make people move countries, learn new languages, and cut off all their hair. Heartache from love drives people to write books, sing songs, and take hikes up Everest. Heartache from love makes one wonder why they opened up in the first place. But does it stop us from trying again? Usually…no.
Because no matter how many upsets, hiccups, and mishaps we encounter in the name of love…
Love is still worth it.
If I asked you to share your experiences with love, I’m sure you’ll have a volume of tales to give me.
From seeing it on those sucrose-sweet happy-ending films, to reading about it in those books your mother told you not to read.
From thinking you’d found it when you first saw their face in year 5, to feeling it the first time the two of you held hands.
From regretting the times you gave it a chance, to throwing yourself into its arms again. I’m sure we all have our stories – and the scars to back them up, too.
What is it about love that makes us keep searching?
After recovering from the gutter, we find the strength to try again. We meet someone else and suddenly, we have hope again.
Accepting that it may hurt, and hoping that the healing will abound. We know what we’re signing up for the moment we let those words slip. The moment we feel it coursing through our veins.
To love is to be vulnerable.
To be vulnerable is to risk. Risk more pain. But we do it over and over again. We love because despite the mishaps, we believe that this is worth it.
We see that it can be. We want it to be. And I don’t think there is any shame in that.
You don’t need to be ashamed for wanting to love and to be loved. But it is on you to make sure that your heart is healthy enough to give and to receive.
So, this weekend as we prepare for the phenomenon that is Valentine’s Day, I hope you get a chance to think about love and what it means to you. I hope you are met with warmth and hope, even if, presently, you are alone.
I hope that you get to fully experience the gift that is a healing love.
I hope that you find a love that feels like home.