Found this in my draft archives. Little more open than I’ve been on this blog, and in general, but I’m gonna suck it up and share because I’ve had this in my head for the past month or so. I blame Christmas approaching. Their fifth birthday was May 14, 2016 so this was written last year. Honestly I want to share more stories like this so this is a good start.
You know what’s interesting about this post too? In the last year, I’ve noticed my relationships strengthening. I find myself able to really accept love and open up more. For a few years now, people have been telling me that they think I’m destined for one of those great loves and I’ve always pushed that aside. Like me? You talking bout moi? Nah. But maybe I am. Maybe . . . from the moment I started to realize this post below, I started to bring it to me. To be more accepting of that. To say maybe I am gonna have it, that I’m ready for it. Just maybe. . . .
Enjoy the post. Feel free to leave me your thoughts.
Soon they are going to turn 5. In the past five years, I have experienced a lot of growth. For five years, they’ve taken me on a journey that I didn’t even know I asked for. I never realized it was a journey I needed, but it has been an eye-opening experience for me. And it was because of these five little pockets of fluff.
And one in particular.
In the heart and soul of an animal, I found a part of me that I didn’t know was there. Through one particular dog, I discovered everything I had been led to believe about myself was wrong. That what I experienced, what I suffered, wasn’t entirely my fault. It was a lie I was conditioned to believe from people who hurt me because that was all they knew how to do. Because they were selfish and couldn’t love correctly, which had caused so much deep damage within me. When you are conditioned from a young age to believe you are a problem, that you are not worth much from people who simply can’t properly love, you attract that over and over and over again. When you hear people say over and over things like, you are never there for me, you don’t love me, and on and on. You believe it. You think, well maybe they’re right. Maybe there is something deeply wrong with me.
I truly believed that I was incapable of love. Because of that deeply damaged part of me who’s suffered all sorts of abuse and stalkers from a young age, and most of my life, I attracted more. I became a magnet. It’s not that I wanted it. But as most people know, we tend to attract what we are used to, what we think we deserve, what we focus on most. I still have to work on that. I am a work in progress, but I’m trying. Try as hard as we can to escape that, we all take steps backward. If that life is what we know, we won’t stop attracting the same thing until we heal what is inside of us.
And yes, love heals.
There is a common theme that to love others we need to love ourselves. We need to love ourselves first. And that’s true. But for those of us who rarely, if ever, experienced someone completely loving us unconditionally, there in our face day in and day out, learning to love ourselves will only take us so far. It’s almost like there is this idea that if you can’t love yourself first, something is wrong with you. But not all of us were taught what REAL and TRUE love is. I’ve never had one of those one on one unconditional love relationships. I’ve barely been romantically involved with men because of it. It’s a trust thing, a refusal to be hurt again thing. Many reasons. It’s something that I’m working on: being able to accept love, being open to it, being ready for it. The relationships (even platonic) I’ve had came with conditions. They came when it was convenient for that person. Nobody has allowed me to completely open my heart to them and done the same toward me, except for my father.
When I attempted to open up and trust someone, they physically (or emotionally, mentally) abused me. They stalked me, they walked out on me because I didn’t become the person they wanted me to be. Their love came with a set of “must dos” and “must bes” before it was given, or even if it was to be given. If one of them read this, I can promise they would say to stop being a pity party. They’d say stop taking the victim role, I was just as responsible. They would say, it’s all in my head. I could go on. I know this because every time I tried to explain it, I’ve received things like that. Basically reading it above, you see the message: it’s me that’s the problem.
No. I’m not the problem. Certainly not the entire problem. They were just as responsible. Maybe more in some of those situations.
I’ve taken responsibility for things my whole life. I’ve hated my own mind and heart for most of my life. I was a victim. But not anymore. You see? There is not one comment someone can say to troll that I haven’t said to myself. Countless times, day in and day out.
I don’t hate those people. I don’t put them down. This isn’t about bashing them. Not at all. That sort of thing physically makes me sick to do. Hurt people. Hate on them. I am filled with shame when I hurt someone. I think, how special do you think you are that you have a right to hurt them?
We love based on our capacity to love. We love based on what we know, based on our experiences. We love based on the guards that we learn to instill over our hearts. The gates we put up between someone else and us. Society has helped us in many ways with that, making it a bad thing to love unconditionally, to be vulnerable to another, to lean on another. After all, they push that message: depend only on yourself, nobody else!
And lately I’ve come to see a very interesting side of myself. I was beginning to believe the lies that had been told to me, that society right now would like us to believe. That it’s somehow wrong to open your heart completely and unabashedly love a complete stranger. But guess what? I’ve been doing it my entire life. And it was when I was guarded that I was hurt. It was only those who pushed me, who didn’t completely accept me as I was, who hurt me.
As a quote I one read says,
“Love doesn’t hurt. Loving the wrong person does.”
I can love someone without letting them in. I can also completely and unabashedly love someone just because. As humans, we are based on love. It is how two strangers on the street can walk down the aisle within the hour and then die in each others’ arms 80+ yrs later. Or not get married and still remain together that long. I’m starting to think that maybe not all, but most of us can love someone an instant after we connect. We don’t have to touch, don’t have to speak, it’s just there. Because love is a feeling. We help it grow, we nurture it, we fuel it. But it can be there right off the bat. What’s wrong with that? There isn’t anything wrong with deciding the other person isn’t someone right for you, even if you love them. There also isn’t something wrong with deciding that one is the one, or deciding to commit to them if you think you fit and choose to be together. We can love other people without wanting to marry them, date them, be friends with them. It’s also okay . . . just to love someone.
I realized recently – thanks to my little love bug Kona – that I wasn’t the reason that I hadn’t found that love. There wasn’t something wrong with my capacity to love. It was because the men were the wrong . . . hmm, I don’t want to say wrong because that implies something was wrong with them, and there wasn’t. Just because they weren’t right for me, doesn’t mean they are/were bad in general. So instead I’ll sayyyyy, wrong choice? Perhaps that’s a better way to frame it. They were the wrong choice. The way they knew how to love wasn’t the way I know how to love (the way I want to). And I think – epiphany as I write this – that to find the best connection for each of us means to find the person whose ability to love you is compatible with your ability to love them. It’s not that your openness matches their openness. Or lack thereof. It’s that each of your styles mesh. For me I do need someone who is unafraid to simply step off the dock and free dive to the doesn’t-exist bottom. Someone unabashedly as unguarded to love as I am, who is okay with setting it free, letting it grow, and determining whether we can be friends then more and more and more. That takes time. Most get so scared of losing the other person that they push push push. I need to be myself. To feel safe. To feel protected. To be able to be myself without apology. And everyone knows I am quirky as shit. If there is even the least bit of hesitation (and it’s not discussed) I will shut off. I can feel it. Once that switch is off, I’m done. There is no going back.
And if I can’t love in my weird and unusual way that is pure, I won’t feel safe. They will scare me. I don’t need saving. I need accepting. I need to be loved as is. Broken wings and all. Crooked and dirty halo and all. Darkness and light. Flaws and all. But most importantly is that I want a best friend. Not a worshipper. Not a hand holder. Not a fixer. I need a friend. Someone I can open up to, talk to, lean on, and who’ll be there.
Just a best friend.
Someone who feels like home.
I’ve learned that through Kona of all places one can learn it. It was a 13 lbs (he’s surprisingly small for that weight – he’s just a heavy weight) ball of impatient, challenging, accepting little fluff who taught me that. Who made me grow. Who gave me what I didn’t know I was missing.
Acceptance. Unconditional love. Respect. A challenge. No fear in loving me back. No fear in being completely unabashedly himself. Loving me. Being there. Day in and day out, he showed me the love I truly need. A love that makes me shine.
A love which is open, which is daring, challenging, maybe even possessive because that goober is a possessive, jealous, demanding of momma little booger. He does not like sharing me and makes that very clear. And you know? I like it! haha He has taught me that something like that exists, and I’m not as incapable of loving as I thought. My only problem? Has been not finding the right one to love.
It wasn’t just Kona of course. It was all of them. All five of them taught me that even at my worst, they’d be there and choose to be. If I sit or lie down on the floor, Kona will run over and dive bomb under my chest, then curl up. After that, Cheyenne will come over to put herself against the side of my chest. Then Cruz will slowly wander over to place his body against my hip. Kaley and Lucy will come over and kiss my face, wagging their little tails. They don’t have conditions. They don’t have hesitation. I’ve been there for them since before they came out of their momma’s belly. I was there without sleeping through the first few days, tending to them night and day with their momma, and I was tending to her.
I think at this point there is no end and no beginning to the love between them and I. And somehow that has taught me what I want, what I need. Surrender is what it could be called. They trust me that I’ll never abandon them, never hurt them, always protect them. In turn they do the same. That to me is the truest meaning of love.
It simply is.
The best part? I didn’t realize I’d find it in five little balls of fluff.