Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So This is Love. . .

Let's talk about this. . . When did you realize you truly knew and understood the concept of love, as it is described above? I don't know that this is the definition by which everyone else operates under for the meaning of love, but this is truly, quite, almost, exactly what I believe love to be.

When I was in 6th grade, I thought I knew what love was. In 6th grade love was me thinking a boy was cute, going to the movies with him on the weekends, and letting him kiss me in the back seat of my mom's car. I also happened to think that love meant being insanely jealous, controlling, and mean to get your way. It is very sad, at 24, to look back and think that for so many years, that was the idea I had about love. When exactly did I stop believing in the prince that swept me off my feet with adoration and start to believe in a guy who would threaten to "kick the ass" of any other guy who looked or spoke to me in a way that he saw unfit?

When I was a freshman, I thought love was staying with a guy, whether I was truly happy or not, because he told me he loved me, he called me beautiful, and he bought me a "promise ring." I also happened to think that when a guy was there through one of the single most difficult times of your life, he deserved to have my whole heart, no matter what I was neglecting in myself in the meantime. It is difficult to look back on that time in my life and realize that I had so effortlessly convinced myself that because someone withstood the pain and sadness I was going through, I didn't deserve any better but him. When did I stop believing in a unified happiness between two people and start to believe that not hurting  someone else was more important than me being happy, period?

When I was a junior, I thought love was giving myself to someone in a way no one else had experienced me. I also thought love was finding a best friend in someone and convincing myself it was the kind of relationship, the real, true love I'd always dreamed of. It is interesting to look back at this time in my life, at the person I gave myself to, and know that while I will never regret it, I may have been too quick to decide who received me in that way. . . and as a result, try to make some long lasting love out of it. When did I stop believing in the fiery passion that overtook your senses and start to believe that love was something you had to make fiery and passionate?

As a senior, I thought love was starting a relationship with honesty, taking things slow, and getting to know someone on their level. I also thought that after four years with one person, planning the house we would build together, naming our hypothetical children together, deciding the ways in which we would save money together, love was being able to step back and realize that I may not be everything he needs me to be, I may be the cause of more than a few fights between he and his parents, I may be who he think he's supposed to marry because I've been his first and only girlfriend. Love was being able to look myself in the mirror and recognize that I was never going to be athletic like he wanted me to be, I was never going to be patient enough to handle the child he still harboured inside, and I was never going to be able to overlook people that had hurt him in his life that he would one day need to forgive, in order to heal.

As a junior in college I knew love was loving someone enough to know that even though this relationship was far from being over, it needed to end. . . because we were both putting too much of ourselves into the each other when we needed to be putting a lot more of ourselves into ourselves.

At 24 I know that love, real love, is recognizing when someone you love may not be the right person for you. Real love is wanting some one's happiness, whether that happiness is at your hands or someone else's. Real love is knowing when you need to step back, when you need to give someone their freedom, and when  you need to learn to love yourself so that when the right person comes along, you can give them everything and it will be right. 

No one ever said love was easy and I am pretty sure that even when it's right there are going to be times you want out, but I'm willing to bet that the same person that said it wasn't easy also mentioned that love was totally worth it. So whether you're in 6th grade and love means jealousy to you, you're a freshman and love means sticking it out even if it's not exactly where you want to be, you're a junior and love means going where you've never gone before with someone, you're a senior in high school and love means taking it slow and being honest, or you're in college and 24 and love means walking away from someone you thought held your future in their eyes . . . get to know you and before you give yourself to someone, take it slow, or quick, and start planning a future, make sure you're in love with yourself. Because if you aren't happy and in love with you, being happy and in love with someone else will never work.

Please know that real love is faithful, patient, and never jealous. Please know that real love is unforgettable, heart skipping beats, world on fire amazing. Please know that real love starts at home, when you look in the mirror and know exactly what you're worth and what you deserve.

-Stephi D.

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