This post has been a long time coming. Perhaps thirty-one years long, I cannot be sure. Somehow I had always hoped to arrive at this point - while at the same time feeling quite sure it would never come. Isn't it funny.
We all like to think we are strong. That the experiences of our childhood do not truly affect us - or make us less than what we should be. That WE will overcome it through our own perseverance, strength and determination. We use these as walls to build around our hearts - impenetrable fortresses of our own personal will that somehow prove our resiliency. But do they?
All my life I have longed to be loved. Truly loved, cared for and respected for just the person that I am, flaws and all. Although that search has led me through dark alleys and into the arms of blackness and back, somewhere I forgot what I was looking for. At some point, I raised those walls of strength to prove that I am independent, secure and self-sufficient. That trust is not something that I need to give away, but something to find within myself. In doing that - I stopped growing.
I have had a few great relationships and some terrible ones. I thought I was giving everything, working my hardest and yet failing miserably at each attempt. I walk away from those ruins with some beautiful memories and some lessons learned. I also walk away with deeper questions for myself. When the walls came tumbling down, the pyres burned and what was left of them were consumed in the inevitable stench of bitterness. I noticed that I, too, was in shambles. If I am honest with myself, I have been in shambles for some time now.
So what to do with it? As we all do, I laid in the corner and licked my wounds. I spent months carefully peering through the holes left behind, trying desperately to match up those tattered edges with who I thought I was. When I couldn't make that happen, I retreated.
And here is where the cliche comes alive. I breathe life into it, only because for me? It is everything.
Love heals all.
I can say I have never put much stock in these lofty ideals - and now I know why - I had no idea what love really was. I had a version - where I hid behind my strength and mistrust and asked others to jump over insurmountable obstacles. And yet I wondered why they failed. Every. Time. I had no idea that the one thing I held back was the very thing I had to give - myself.
How could I have ever imagined that tearing down these barriers that protected me would make me the strongest I have ever been? That the fear of placing the most tender part of me in someone else's hands would be the most frightening - and yet most freeing - thing of all? The commitment has been tried and tested - first by you and then by me - pulled at, turned inside out and then lovingly cradled. I have been afraid - really afraid. Trembling, overwhelming and teary afraid. Your strength has propped me up and allowed me to release the reins on my heart. To trust in your weight beneath me, the shelter of your arms and the warmth in your heart. And when I could finally stand, I was more than strong enough to prop you up too.
We haven't taught each other how to love. We must have known how - somewhere deep inside ourselves. However, we are still teaching each other, and ourselves, how to allow it to come. Like waves, it crashes over us, consumes us and erases the fallen sandcastles of old hurts. It leaves us refreshed and intact. Perhaps then, the cliche could be modified. It may not be that love heals all - perhaps just the *right* love can heal our fears, quell our anxieties and soothe old wounds. The questions I ask myself now have drastically changed. No longer do I need to re-evaluate my relationships or meter out my heart. Now I go freely forward with you - in the face of risking the sweetest part of me - the most fragile side, asking myself: how can I show you TODAY how much more I love you when, as you say, "there is no conceivable scale that could ever measure how much love that is."