THE LOVE YOU KNOW
Better the love you know than the love you don’t know is coming.
It has been exceedingly easy to get caught up in the ideals of love. If I’m honest, my idea of love has always been based on what I’ve witnessed as an impartial 3rd party observer with no personal interest in the details of it; be it in the relationships of those adjacent to me or on television. Love became a fantasy in that the way it had always played out was so far removed from all I would anticipate it to be.
I set some very general intentions for myself this year, I knew that I wanted it to be a year of love and financial stability but I had no idea how that would manifest. True to form, life took me through the backroads, undoing a bunch of stuff before there seemed to be any progress made. I had no specific thoughts on what stability in love would require from me or what it would leave me with but I knew that I didn’t want to feel isolated anymore.
Somehow, as much as I know that love isn’t limited to romantic, intimate relationships, I still managed to overlook the importance of every other love in my life.
My life unraveled slowly and intensely. I left the security of my job of 8 years, subsequently struggled with my identity in ways I thought I had long overcome, and I was made to choose between loving myself and people I had once so desperately wanted to keep in my life. What it all came down to in the end was, I’m just fine.
Starting over in so many ways has been terrifying. Having to talk oneself down from a state of perpetual anxiety because new and unknown never comes with ease. In all of the trying transitions my last set of intentions brought me, I’ve been finding myself drawing closer to the love that I know.
Last night, I sat on my Uncle’s back porch at my cousin’s baby shower surrounded by cousins and strangers. As the night wound down, I found myself sitting with my father watching the remnants of the party surround my cousin as she opened baby gifts. We talked as we watched. I told him about my plans for the coming year, plans so far outside of my comfort zone that I felt my mind trying to change as I verbalized them. He shared some words of faith and encouragement and all I can remember was visualizing my move, feeling the simulation of isolation bearing down on me and wanting to cry and change my mind. In the same breath, something in my thoughts regained it's composure and I knew that I had to continue. A part of my why was sitting right in front of me.
Last week, I ran around my mother’s new house accommodating family and strangers at her house warming party as she greeted guests and laughed and became swept up in conversation. In past years, I would have been far too busy mulling over my own rubbish to want anything to do with that party but in that moment, even with homework due and work the next morning, there was nowhere else I wanted to be.
There had been a guy that I found myself interested in for a while and I had spent a lot of time trying to figure him out. There was no haste but I also wasn’t interested in wasting time pursuing something in ways that wouldn’t be beneficial in the long run. I desired to maneuver differently though the "figuring it out” process than I had before. I used to jump head first into things. I had often been the girl who would shut down completely when my heart gave me trouble in any way, isolating myself, picking myself apart, hating myself for not being enough to make it work or at the very least, not being enough to inspire him to want to make it work… whoever the him was. Letting this him go wasn’t simple but it became easier the more he proved incapable of consistency. Somehow, the final act of letting go didn’t feel like it required any courage. It felt like turning down the stove because the fire was too high. It felt like choosing the love that I’d always come right back to… my own.
I spent my summer playing tennis with my father, hanging out with my mother, visiting my big sister, having heart to heart’s with my little brother. I spent my summer at birthday parties for my God-kids, dancing around my mother’s kitchen with my 1-year-old cousin, and watching the faces of the babies in my life light up when they saw me. I spent my summer playing board games with family, taking hikes and talking dreams with friends. I spent my summer taking time to be alone, not as punishment to those I no longer wanted in my presence but in reverence for all that I’ve endured and all that I’m aiming to become. I spent the summer falling in love with my life, myself and the people in it who desired to be there.
When it comes to the fight of our lives, the fight for our minds, our peace, our stability, there is no perfect plan. We all need love to get us through. We all want a love that can save us but when life is short and reciprocity isn’t guaranteed, it’s better the love you know than the love you don’t. Love can save us all, we just have to be willing to accept that the love that’s right in front of our faces, the love that’s good for us won’t always be that romantic, intimate kind of love. Sometimes it’s just family, just friends, just you, but there’s beauty in that. There’s peace in that good ole reliable love.