I love love. I mean, I really love, love. It’s everything to me, always has been. It’s the driving force behind every decision, good and bad, I have ever made. Love is powerful. Love heals. Love is a tool for growth and goodness. Love is respite and breath. Love broadens and coaxes out the best in us all. Love keeps its promises.
I believe free love is real love.
I believe love is the only thing that can save us from our collective self-destructive impulses, from ourselves.
I don’t always know what it looks like, but I know when it’s right. Love is real and right when everything works out…not usually the way I envisioned, but the way it was meant to. In the end, if I can get to the end, love is always right.
I was lucky, I came into the world knowing that love is the answer. And I was luckier still because even through heartache, bullying, and betrayal, I was encouraged to let love lead. Love was always an acceptable form of currency in my life, even if it wasn’t always evenly traded.
Since my first memories, I have committed myself to love; to absorbing, sharing, and holding, even hoarding when fear takes over, as much love as possible. From every atom in my sphere, through every second of the day, until forever, love has and always will be my answer.
What I didn’t know when I took on the mantle of love as my personal life quest, at the tiny age of impressionable and trusting, was the many forms of fear, judgment, and insecurity that masks itself as love. Love is not always discernible, but real love is always right. To me, that is what it means to be human. Finding real love is sifting through the pain to the heart.
Real love, pure and unselfish, empowers and emboldens us to be our best selves. To relish in the gift that is life, to see past the pain. It is the tradeoff of form and function, of suffering.
Love is worth it. As a child abandoned by her father, a young woman with a broken heart, and a mother with a sick child, sometimes it’s all too much to bear. But I will die, hopefully not soon, remembering the love. Love is the particles I will take with me into the next iteration of my being. I have no doubt.
Yes, I am human and I hurt…easily. And as such, love is complicated and full of expectation and foggy lenses that I will need to spend every day I am granted cleaning and refining.
But love is why I get up every day. And when I can’t get up it’s because I misconceive love, or try to control it to abate my grief and fear. Love has shown me what it means to be human. Love, through every struggle, sets me free.
How do I know love? That is a question deserving of far more attention than a simple singular post. So I am going to spend the next few weeks diving into the answers to these questions: How do I know love? What does love mean to me? What is love? How has love changed for me? And others.
To get me started, here is my answer to how do I know love?
I know love as a reflection of those I love. Their open hearts, their generosity, their kindness, their affection. I know love through a filter of experiences reflected through generations of resilience, trauma, pain, and joy.
I know love from:
A mother who was saved by the unexpected fullness of the love she felt for and by her children.
A father too afraid of himself for real love, who through lack thereof, showed me what love isn’t.
A brother who was saved by the love of his mother but can’t yet admit it so is held hostage by his resentment.
A sister who is taking New York City by the balls and making it her own because she knows the love of a good man. (That’s NOT the only reason, but it’s helping. And we all deserve the love of a good “other”)
A leader who allows himself mistakes but does not tolerate ignorance.
A boyfriend who loved me for who I was and then left me for the same reason.
A boyfriend who didn’t love me even though I pretended he did.
A dog who was batshit crazy, but insanely loyal to me until our last parting.
A friend who decided early on that she knew the love her heart needed and was smart enough to not listen to the naysayers. Me.
A stepfather, mentally ill and emotionally unwilling to face his own messes. A man who gave up fighting his selfishness and turned to manipulative control instead of love.
A director who saw more in me than I ever saw in myself and gave me the opportunity, guidance, and support to trust myself and shine as bright as my light could beam. A man who let me be exactly who I was in that moment without asking for more and then trusted me enough to hold the spotlight for him.
Three nannies who were exactly the people Buddha and I needed them at exactly the right time. Three different women who saved my life and made his so so so much better through their devotion, intelligence, objectiveness, spirit, and love.
A friend who has stood by me supported me, loved me, and accepted me for over 25 years. Through every bad boyfriend, job change, crazy family moment, and my son’s diagnosis she has been there because she is my friend.
A husband who didn’t believe in happiness, who didn’t believe himself capable or deserving of love until he held his son for the first time.
A son shattering from the inside out, who doesn’t know he may be systematically dying because the love from his parents is enough…for now.