I really wanted to wait a while to post about LOVE.
I’m not sure I’ve got it down yet. This strange concept of love, what it is, how it works, how to give and embrace it, has baffled me for many reasons.
Let’s start with the concept of love being connected to pain, both physical and mental. I cannot even count the endless ways I’ve been told, “I love you,” preceded by fists or hateful sentiments. It’s been the go-to phrase for people in my life to apologize for brutal behavior. It’s been that way in all of my relationships. Like saying those three very hollow words could reverse and remove the pain that had been caused. There are no take-backs.
Ironically, my experience with the above is not something that occurred as a child. My father NEVER apologized for hurting me. Not even when he partially blinded me in one eye or dislocated my jaw. I didn’t associate love with his abuse. Quite the contrary, I DIDN’T feel loved. I did not witness love between my parents, ie., hand holding, hugging, kissing, etc. I grew up in a very sterile environment when it came to exhibiting intimacy. Sadly, this has stayed with me and now as a grown woman, I find it very difficult to show those signs of affection to a significant other. It feels awkward and contrived.
As an adult, I sought out LOVE in my relationships and believed that despite the abuse both verbal and physical I was enduring, it was okay because the person perpetrating that behavior told me they loved me. Very conditional love, but really, trying to define it was like walking around in a dark room and seeking a door.
Now, almost six decades into life, I cringe when I hear, “I love you,” mainly because I don’t know if it’s just a canned sentiment or a truth. It’s not to say I am incapable of giving or receiving love, I just want to do both without reservation, hesitation, and doubt of sincerity. I’m learning love on a new level and it’s exhilarating as hell!
I started to better understand love with the help of my dog Luna. This poor girl has been through hell and is suffering her own canine level of PTSD. It’s why we chose each other, we share that malady. I believe what I’m doing for her right now is best, but I can admit it is so very sad. I also have to believe that she will get better with the help of some very loving and caring people. Yes, the love this crew exhibits is without a doubt real and honest. Another irony; the most unconditional love comes from a creature that cannot verbally voice those three words, yet every action exhibits the deepest, truest, and purest sense of love imaginable through actions.