When I was 24-years-old, I believed that I would finally experience the throes of love, be married, and have children.
That entire year of 2006 was a forced, surreal dream that consisted of movie images of how my future husband and I would finally meet.
I was guilty of believing in ‘Love at First Sight.’
My future husband and I would be in the blinding lights of the supermarket when we reached for the same cereal box. Or, perhaps, it would be when we were in the quiet library when our hands gently brushed for the same book. Oh! It definitely had to be that he would be in my airplane seat on my trip to Europe! No…maybe it would be in some overly crowded room and our eyes would meet and there would be love that would lasso us together for life.
No such luck. 2006 came and went, and still no sign of love. No love in my life. No love of my life.
To add salt to the wounds, people asked me, “Oh, do you have a boyfriend now? Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”
I never understood how people could ask this. Surely, it was used as superficial chit-chat, but it was achingly hurtful AND annoying chit chat. This was like me asking someone: “Oh, why are you so fat?” to an obese person or “Why don’t you have children yet?” to a child-less couple. Honestly, what kind of answer could I give to these stupid questions? I began to give jokester responses, “Oh, my pet dragon will eat him up! My pet dragon is mighty protective of me and my heart!”
Their responses were even more buckets of sea salt to the wounds, “Oh, you’ll have a boyfriend someday. A nice girl like you. Good things come to those who wait. They just aren’t good enough for you. Every person has a soul mate. No one is meant to be alone. There is always someone for another someone.”
I knew deep down inside that their responses had every good intent to make me feel better, but they made me feel worse because how could a good gal catch like me be left high and dry to not experience love?
I had experienced many things in my life…far more than the average person my age with health challenges, yet I was still trying to catch up and so sorely behind on this enigmatic love. Lots of women had already had already had many boyfriends or lived together with their boyfriend, or were married and even had children. Me? I felt like love was at the finish line, and I was always running to get there, yet always falling behind with my peers at the finish line trying to give me a boost that, yes, I would someday experience love.
And, then, love, rather slowly and unexpectedly, became an enemy of mine. I did not want to have anything to do with it. It had betrayed me. A good gal like me deserved love, didn’t I? So, why didn’t I have love? Couples all around me were enraptured with love. Holding hands. Kissing faces. Arms wrapped around each other. All physical forms of love that I craved and even loved in my idealistic mind, but could not seem to have in my realistic life in the here and now. Love eventually became something I did not want any association with, because it did was taunt at me that it was somewhere there waiting for me in my life, but not fully there for me to experience and embrace. It was like an imaginary friend. I could imagine it in my mind as my very own reality, but it was not true reality.
This was when I was fully convinced that I was completely right when I had said that ‘Love is Blind’ to my college professor when he asked the class what love was. More than that, love at first sight was a movie myth spoon-fed to the mass majority in saccharine syrupy lies.
Then, one day, out of the blue, one of my closest friends said when we somehow stumbled on the topic of love: “Love is growth.”
And, my other closest friend said to me, “I love you now more than when we were kids because I appreciate you more and everything that we have been through.”
Then, my other friend said, “Love is like the wind. You can’t see it, but you can feel it.”
My sister and I say that we love each other before we hang up on the phone.
I tell my Dad and Stepmom when I leave their home after a homemade supper made with tender loving care and thought, “I love you.”
This is when it slowly dawned on me that I have experienced the various forms and beauties of love in its finest and purest forms.
Love between and with my father who was the last face I saw at night when he tucked me into bed after my mother left, and he was the first face I saw every time I emerged from the a hospital procedure.
Love for and with my stepmother when she had my favorite foods packed and made for me, and always took the time and had the patience to listen to me.
Love with my sister when we munched on popcorn and watched old 1980’s TV shows at our slumber parties.
Love from a distance from my mother who taught me that love also means knowing when to let go and actually doing it.
Love for my friends who stood strong by my side to give me strength when I was at my weakest moments of crying and broken in and out.
Love from my sideline observations of random acts of kindness from complete strangers and strangers who somehow become familiar friends.
Love of higher and unseen powers above me that everything always had a way of working out and falling into place in my life.
Love of and for me.
It has taken me 32 years to see and understand that love has been all around me all this time, and that I have most sadly taken all these acts of love for granted. I spent so much time focusing on not fulfilling or having the typical societal love of a boyfriend/husband and/or a child/children that I did not put the highest value to the priceless loving people and love in my life and that surrounded me. It is societal and mass majority views that love between partners is the highest and truest form of love, placing us singles and without partners in a position that we are somehow "weird" and "less than." But, any kind of love...all kinds of love...all definitions of love..are all the highest forms. How can any variation of love ever be considered anything 'less than' when love is always 'more than'? Just because I haven't had love in the societal sense did not mean that I had not experienced love in a most personal sense. Love comes in many beautiful and breathtaking forms that are felt with every sense that is, at the same time, completely senseless, unexplainable, and undefined.
Love is everything and everyone. Love is everywhere and anywhere. There are countless definitions of love. And, love, if you close your eyes really hard, can feel it in the very depths of you from yourself and all around you who shower and show you simple acts of love that mean the world.
We need to spend more energy and efforts saying “I Love You” and putting meaning to the words with small and simple acts of love that end up meaning everything.
So, tell me, what does “Love” mean to you?
Happy ‘Love’ day to you today and every single day!
May you always be blessed with the depths of love in its purest and finest forms!
Lots of Love & Hugs,