Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

The Give and Take of Love

Date: 
Monday, October 9, 2017
Posted By: 
Valerie

The Give and Take of Love

 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the concept of love and how it feels to be in love with someone. I of course recognize that love is an emotion, but it also has so much physical weight and power. When you share your love with someone, and fall in love with them, it feels like you are giving them a small piece of yourself. And it’s such a fragile piece, it’s like a delicate piece of glass carved with tiny tools; it’s this magical part of you, holding all the painful and personal details of your life’s experience. And sometimes I think that this tiny, fragile piece contains too much; it holds all of your hopes, dreams and happy memories, but it also has your deepest fears and secrets wrapped into it. It’s the weight of all your joy and sadness poured into a tiny miniature piece of you. And it’s a piece of you that you can share with others only if you are willing to risk it. But it’s scary to let someone have this and hold this, this delicate piece of you. It seems much safer to keep this emotional and fragile piece of yourself inside your walls.

To stay safe and protected, you can instead give this piece of you out in small quantities, and to many different people through friendship. And that’s all I’ve been ready to do lately, to share these little pieces of me, these little bits of love with friends. And because I am lucky to have many friends, the weight of me can be distributed and balanced between a large group of amazing people. They tag in and out as I need them and as they need me, all holding a little part of me up. It reminds me of that expression, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” All these friends are different baskets that I can trust with my love. Losing one is a bad loss and it hurts, but I didn’t give them too much of me, I didn’t let any single one too close inside my walls.

But a relationship is different. It’s a partnership between a pair of people; a true bonding and sharing of my life with one person, one person who will get to know me more deeply, and hold onto more of me. And the idea of being in this type of partnership again terrifies me. It feels like too big of a risk. I have taken this risk before and I lost it. I lost the person who held onto to the largest piece of myself, the largest piece of myself that I had ever willingly shared with another person.  And because he was responsible for holding onto such a large and important piece of me, losing him felt a lot like losing a piece of myself. The part of myself that could be honest about my thoughts and feelings. The part of myself that was terrified, but willing to let him love me unconditionally. To let him pull me closer no matter how hard I tried to push him away. The part of me that could let go and lower my walls, lower them enough to depend on him and still feel safe. And that’s the risk, the idea that you can bond with someone and share yourself with them, but that you can’t get the love you shared with them back if you lose them. And worst of all you can’t get that person back if you lose him.

You see, the problem is that even though we have endless love to share, at least on good days it feels like there is this continuous flow of it bubbling out of us, each little piece of our love is incredibly special and vulnerable. It can’t be wasted or mistreated by anyone. And if someone does take it for granted, or if their life is unexpectedly cut short, and they take this tiny vessel containing your love with them, a tiny piece of you is now lost. You can try to rebuild and reproduce this love, and there is of course so much love left in you, but these losses are hard. The scar of the broken or stolen love creates an enormous pain inside. There will eventually be growth and regeneration, but with each loss it is harder to allow yourself to trust someone new. It feels so dangerous, sometimes it seems just plain reckless to let anyone back in.

But friends are not enough to hold your love. Something about being human is being paired, it’s about a union with another. And even though I desperately want to be a part of a union like this again, I worry that I just don’t have the courage to risk sharing myself with someone again. Sharing means that you are giving someone something of you that is fragile and they can break it. And as much as I want to share my love and my life with someone, right now the fear of eventually losing them keeps creeping back in. And unfortunately for me, I feel stuck with this fear, and at time I worry that this fear will never let me move forward. 

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