Here’s what I think about love:
It is important, and you can feel it in very different ways towards very different people for any number of reasons. It isn’t planned for and sometimes completely unexpected. But if you’re open and not afraid to let another person in, you can experience deep emotions that you didn’t know where there. The problem is that so many people are afraid of love. They’re afraid of putting themselves on the line, risking getting hurt, and a lot of times they’re even afraid of being loved.
Feeling love from someone else is such a powerful thing, that we put ourselves behind these big protective shields to keep others away. If we feel like someone cares about us too much, or more than we’re ready to accept from them, we back away. Or even if we want that feeling, we make up reasons why that person shouldn’t feel the way they do or why it doesn’t make sense. But really, we’re just protecting ourselves from the emptiness we’ll feel if and when that love is suddenly gone.
I’ve dared to love people openly and with reckless abandon. In a few circumstances, that love was either not understood or appreciated or returned, or some combination of the three. And you know what? That’s fine. In my opinion, because I love the person that you are, it does not necessarily mean that I want to be your girlfriend or spend every waking moment with you or have you be “mine”. If I’m attracted to who you are and I enjoy spending time with you, then it just makes sense that i’ll want to spend more time with you and get to know you more. If that time spent together or those feelings end up leading us to a bedroom, then that’s great! But it doesn’t always have to, and I’m okay with that. And if it does end up that way but we don’t click on an intimate level, I’m perfectly okay with taking that back out of the equation. I have known absolutely zero people who are the same way. And that’s okay, too.
Someone who has become very important in my life has no clue what to do with the love I have for him. He won’t admit it, but it freaks him out. He doesn’t understand why he’s so important to me or that I have a strong love for him, without needing to sleep with him or have any kind of romantic overtones to our interactions. He’s my friend, and I love him, and I want him in my life. As much as fucking possible. Simple as that.
We’ve had very long conversations. Some of my favorite conversations, in fact. In one that centered around particularly angsty feelings I won’t get into (on both our parts), I had this to say:
“Look. We’re almost all deer that have wandered into barbed wire. We’re hurt, and we’re scared, and we’re stuck.
It’s almost impossible to get out of that alone.
And if we’ve been stuck there long enough, we fear the person coming our way to help, so we shrink away.
But there are always those people who will try anyway. And they might get cut up and a little bit stuck in the effort.
But I have to believe there is a safe way out of all that mess.
I have to.
I guess I’m just tired of being the deer.
And if you’re the deer, I’d want to try to be your person.”
I was pretty fired up at the time, but the more I re-read it, the more I love it. Despite having used the same word three times, and despite wanting to edit it and put it back together in a prettier form. I love what I had to say and how I felt when I said it. I love that I still believe it.
We’re not alone here. I’m one of the most independent people I know, but even I can admit that we can’t do it all, all by ourselves. Sometimes we just need a little bit of help. We need friends. And we need love. Don’t be afraid to love. Being vulnerable can be really scary, but give it a try. Take risks. Just for the sake of taking them, not for the expectation of some kind of grand reward in the end. Know that there are going to be plenty of times that you’ll get let down. More often than not, you’ll feel disappointed by something. But think about how amazing it’ll be on that one day, just once, where you suddenly feel open and understood, accepted and validated. Trust me, it’s going to be the best feeling in the world. Go get it.