From ages 7-17, I filled over 20 journals. I enjoyed documenting my life long before blogging was around. However, much of what I wrote was very dark. I felt horrible because I didn't have a boyfriend. I felt ugly and worthless. I concentrated on what I didn't have, as opposed to what I did -- an amazing family and wonderful friends. I'd always been surrounded by love, but it wasn't the type of love I longed for, so I thought of it as less important, less meaningful.
Since then, I've had my fair share of relationships, lasting from a few weeks to a few years, ranging from completely casual to deeply serious. I've given my heart away many times -- too many times -- only to have it broken, the shards thrown in my face. I've been hurt physically and verbally, hurt down to my very core, a type of hurt that hit places I didn't know existed. I've had family love and friend love, but I've wanted romantic love, too. I've wanted it all, and up to this point I've been willing to throw myself into every opportunity, thinking over and over again that I'd found The One... But now, I'm exhausted.
Yet, my heart still beats.
A good friend recently gifted me the book Life Lessons, which I've been reading slowly, journaling as I go. It's categorized into chapters regarding individual facets of our lives, and the lesson on relationships points out something I'd never recognized before: we tend to think of romantic love as the only love that really matters.
I remember complaining a couple months ago: "I'm surrounded by good men, but it doesn't matter, because I'm not in a relationship with a good man." Yes, you read that right -- I was complaining because I was loved in a way that I didn't care about. I'm realizing how selfish and stupid that must come across, how much of an ungrateful perspective that is. And doesn't feeling the need for a man in my life completely contradict my self-proclamation of feminism?
I'm working on it, but it's a continuing process; I'm ashamed to admit I still catch myself. The other night, I went out with a few co-workers. Before leaving the office, some of them said that they couldn't go due to plans with their significant other. Annoyed and jealous, I wailed half-sarcastically, "Nobody loves me!" Ouch. How does a statement like that make the people that do love me feel?
Growing up, I wondered why I got hurt so much, and now I know: it's because I'm risky. I'm not talking about skydiving or cocaine, I'm talking about risks of the heart. Traps are laid out for me and I walk right into them, instead of trusting my intuition. Or maybe, my intuition is wrong. Either way, I wish I was safe. I'm jealous of people in relationships, but I'm also jealous of people that are able to keep walls up. I wish I didn't love so easily, freely, abundantly. But I will never be a guarded person -- no matter how much I want to be.
It's hard to have hope for the future when things continue to get more difficult as I grow older. But as I grow in age, I also grow in my soul, and my heart only gets bigger the harder it breaks.
(sources: 1 | 2 | 3)