I’ll warn y’all up front, this might be an other ramble.
I’ve been thinking about love quite a bit lately. For me, it is a part of a process of awakening. I’m either middle aged or 8 depending on the way you count birthdays. Do you count from birth or rebirth? Sometimes I think both ways are needed as they give perspective. The chronological counting lets me know my place in history. The count from my rebirth lets me know my place in self.
Love, for me, is a new shiny toy. It’s something that I don’t have much experience using. Because it’s such an unusual thing for me, I am constantly amazed by it. I remember the first time I told my bride to be that I loved her. It surprised both of us. I had an “did I really just say that?” moment. Then I realized it was true. For once, speaking without considering what I was going to say was a good thing. That I had spoken the truth.
I’m still playing with my new toy. I keep finding out that the capabilities of it and the myriad uses of it are beyond measure. Who knew that it was such a wonderful gift? I didn’t.
I knew that self-loathing was protection and that love was dangerous. Love is still dangerous. It exposes me to doubt and potential hurt. It forces me to expand my sense of self. It teaches me that there are people that have become important to me than I am. It teaches me to accept myself for who I am, faults and all. It has taught me that there are people that i have no romantic interest in and still include in the aggregate of self. It has taught me that being selfish includes others in the selfish bit. It has taught me that I don’t have to be like someone to have them as a part of who I am.
Love is something that I have to learn. I have to find teachers, then I have to allow myself to be willing to learn from them and their example. It’s not easy for me to do that. There are a whole bunch of trust issues stemming from distrust of myself that make that hard. If I don’t emotionally trust me, why would I trust you? If I can’t find it within myself to love myself, why should I believe you when you say that you love me? Why should I take the risk that, if I expand self to you, I might be rejected? Because, this new toy has capabilities that I never knew it had. It can be scratched and thrown around and when I pick it up to play with again, it’s just like brand new. When I find someone else that wants to play with it along with me, it grows big enough for both of us to play with. When we find a third person, they can come play, too. Wow, what a cool toy. It has helped to heal me. Self-loathing is no longer protection. In fact, it’s not even important at all except as a point to divide who I was from who I am. Self-loathing isn’t who I am. It used to be but, not any more. My new toy has changed that.
*editorial, I’m finding it hard to put in paragraph breaks and had to change the wording to make this first person. I kept saying you and your. Again, this is a bit stream of thought*
This new toy is very cool. It’s educational.
I have learned, from it, about value. I learned that people have value far beyond material worth. I have learned that I am valuable to both myself and other people. I have learned that value is added to me when I can become “we”. I have learned to value the opinions and beliefs of loved ones. I have learned that the external is not what I value. It’s what’s inside of them that counts. I have learned that, when I meet someone new, I should look for the love within them and the value they have.
*editorial, this doesn’t mean that I love everyone I meet. I’m not that good, yet*
I have learned courage. They, my loved ones, have taught me to be brave. That it takes courage to face myself and be who I am without fear. This courage/love thing is kind of cool all by itself. It causes me to step outside of my “comfort zone” and write. It causes me to have the courage to say “When you hurt my loved ones, you hurt me. I am not going to stand by silently for that.”
I have learned that love is like an old pair of sweat pants, all ratty and comfortable. You don’t have to wear it outside when you go to work but, you know it’s sitting on the dresser waiting for you. It’s also like a bowl of stew on a cold day. It’ll keep you warm and filled and give you energy when you just want to quit.
Something else about this toy. It’s full of surprises. I am constantly surprised by it. I look up and find someone else playing with MY toy and wonder how that happened. I wonder when I let them. I realize that they were there all along and I didn’t even realize it. Then I realize that, not only don’t I mind, that I’m really glad that they are there, in my yard, playing with me and we. I find this toy in the oddest of places. It seems that my toy lives in other yards, too. That we are all playing with the same toy and it’s so very different and, at the same time, so very alike. How did that happen, I wonder? Then I find that since my toy is big enough for me to play with, there’s probably enough that there’s enough for them.
I also realize that this ever so surprising toy isn’t mine… Wait a minute. You mean it isn’t MY toy? How did that happen? I don’t know. My toy belongs to someone else? What? That’s not how this is supposed to work. It’s mine and I want to keep it.
Problem is, if I don’t give it away, then, I don’t get to keep any of it. I can’t explain that last bit, except that, for me, I know it’s the truth. It’s an “all or none” deal. Either I give all of my toy away or I get to keep none. Yet, if I give it all away, it all comes back. What a wonderful toy. It’s like Christmas. I get to give away something I really want and when I do, someone gives it right back to me. How cool is that?
My new toy has taught me passion. If you read this blog, you will find that I am passionate about a very few things. They are, in this order, my wife, my friends, and treating them with dignity and respect. Love has taught me that. This toy has taught me that there are things worthy of it. That it is NEVER wrong to say that those you love need to be treated like they are loved. It has taught me that there are some times that i need to stop “playing” with it and use it as a motivation to try to right a wrong. It has taught me that religious freedom and the end of repression are worth being passionate about because of who I love and the love they have given me in return. That if I love, then I have to try. It’s passion has removed apathy. “Aw, fuck it, it don’t affect me” is not a good enough answer. That, too, is part of the education.
In all honesty, I don’t love all of myself all of the time. Sometimes, I’m made of barbed wire and broken glass. Some times I treat the people I love with rudeness and disrespect. Sux.
I don’t love everyone in the World. Most days, I don’t even like everyone in the World. Sad to say, I’m not there yet. I don’t ever expect to be. I have learned to not hate…well, mostly. Odds are, if I don’t know you, then you are a fiction to me. Not because you are not real and worth being loved, just because you are unknown. There’s not, in my mind, anything wrong with that. I am a human being. I am limited in scope. I am not Divine. The love of all mankind is something that, I think, if any human says they have, is not possible. That’s ok, though, at least for me.
I’m not gonna stress that someone I don’t know doesn’t love me. I’m not even going to stress that most people I DO know don’t love me and I don’t love them. Why would I? I’m not wired to have that big a group. Other’s have different views on how big a group they can include. Again, that’s ok. Funny thing is, the group seems to be expanding. Very odd.
I think I’m gonna stop writing for now and think about this. I might revisit it later. For now, my brain hurts. Told y’all this was gonna be a ramble. I never thought it’d be this long of one, though. Funny how a blog that started out as a protest has turned into a voyage of self-exploration.
I’d like to thank My wife for being my first and last love, Aj for teaching me that I can love a friend, Z for being herself, and Leanna for letting me find out that there are people playing with my toy and I never knew it. Lastly, if you are one of the ones playing in my yard with my toy, thanks for letting me play with you, too.
Love is the coolest toy in the world. Find yours. Take it out of the box and play with it. Invite some friends over and share it with them, too.