“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”
So, it seems that lately, Love has it in the books for me. Every novel I try to read, song I find, or movie I watch is full of love. People searching for the everlasting connection we all crave. The connection that warms our bellies with an eternal summer that flushes our cheeks and makes the butterflies soar. The connection that makes us crave for the closeness of another’s touch, causing us to tingle as lightning ignites our soul’s fire.
And there I am, thinking I’m safe, sitting on the couch and watching a movie. I feel invincible as the beginning credits roll and the movie starts out. Thoughts of men and relationships and love are far away. Then, I see it. That character. My character. The actress portrayed exactly how I feel, how we feel, the reality of it. She was perfect, as she stood alone in a crowd of couples at a show. She looks around slowly, taking in her surroundings, painfully aware of the romancing couples but trying to pretend as if she didn’t notice (or worse, didn’t care). But, as a particularly charming couple nuzzles into each other, holding hands as the music takes a slower turn, she visibly shrinks, glancing down and away, and takes on “the look”.
I have taken on this look all too many times. At the mall, walking in the park, in the movies.
It’s the look you get to hide the ache. To hide the pain of aloneness. Not solitude, which is a beautiful singularity of a long walk in the woods or a morning outside, a blanket draped around you as you drink hot coffee. No. Alone. Alone is lost in the desert of emotion and people. Alone is a dark hole and falling, deep into the swallows of prickling and poking anxiety and unknown lives. Alone is invisibility.
It feels like mocking.
Having to watch people kiss or be cute in front of you while you’re single is like personal torture. Like having shoots shoved up your nails. My chest aches with the very thought of it, clenching around the tiny ball of hope still left in me. This ball of light struggles to get out, escape, and never return. It’s a daily struggle to not let it go.
Now, some days I’m completely fine with being single. Happy to be “chainless” and cynical about love and how much it stinks. And then, other days, I find myself laying back against my bed and feeling. Feeling someone there beside me, stroking my hair and breathing sweetly against my neck. Closing my eyes, to find a picturesque scene of laughter in the grass of the park, looking up at the stars. Of twin bodies, curled against one another and reading silently in the early morning hours. Of a rain-soaked kiss. Of fragility and tears and a heart bursting with love, like a flower in one of those time-lapse videos: suddenly bursting open in a flurry of bright colors and sweet pollen, surrounded by bright-green waxy leaves and facing a golden sun.
Alone is an awkward, most painful feeling. Like half of you is missing. And as a “single”, you’re constantly aware of it; like walking around with one eye and knowing your world is only half as big and half as beautiful.
Some days I find this notion ridiculous. Half a life? As if some man could really fill that hole…as if I’d need someone to fill that hole. Stupid. But, if you really break it down, what else is there to life? Love is what makes the world go ’round. It’s what makes us take chances, make sacrifices, change, and become the person we always wanted to be. It makes us dance and sing and write poetry. It makes us whole. We write endless songs about it, from the Beatles “All you need is love” to the enormous ever-growing list of pop-love songs and to the deep, emotional classical confessions using violins and pianos and trumpets. We have millions of novels covering this topic, from people who experienced it and people who wished more than anything to simply taste of the real thing. Every molecule, from a young age, yearns with it. Be, and be loved. Our motto, unspoken yet true.
And it’s only later that we develop the Fear. The wariness of age, of experience. A warning, like a little red flag, popping up to stop us from being vulnerable. Self-preservation. We call it instinct in animals, but for us it’s developed. We don’t want to be the first one to say “I love you” or have the other person think we’re clingy because we need them, want them there. Are we so afraid to give our all? A choice made in fear, anger, or revenge (even a revenge against love or hope) is no choice at all. It’s leftovers.
Can we really look in the face of tomorrow and wonder, if we would have just given all of ourselves to that man or woman, would we have made it? Would things have worked out if I’d just given my all? I have to say that after my second experience with “adult” love, I had the idea to never give all of me again to a man. But, just as quickly as I think it, I dismiss it like a scorned grade-school student. It will help no one to do so. Not the guy. And surely not me. That’s giving him control. The control to say, you’ll never be the same. I’ll ruin you. I have all the control.
I will not build a barrier against love. Something inside you dies when you do that. I will not build walls, and if my heart builds them while I’m not looking, I will tentatively dismantle them. Brick by brick, I will raze the fortress of my heart. Some days are slow demolition, some days are dynamite in a coal mine, and still others are days in which I pout like a spoiled five-year-old, letting the walls construct themselves under dark humor. But, something in me tells me no. Tells me I don’t mean what I say. Tells me to try again, and that I will. I’d barely need a nudge to do so, and I’d be off…relishing in the bright blue, cool waters of soothing love.
So, let us not find ourselves afraid in the darkness of loneliness. Too afraid to move on and let love into our lives. We cling to ourselves, the one we made after Sorrow wetted us with her tears. We cling to the “me” we created, after all, it is the one constant, the one thing we KNOW and can predict. But, we have to learn to let go. To let our wings out for a stretch.
So, let us not seek for love, let us simply be open for when it finally shows up. Because, it most certainly will call on each and every one of us…then it will be in our hands whether we’re still on the phone with doubt, fear, or the wrong man and therefore giving love the busy signal.
Love’s a better house-guest.