I feel like I don’t even know where to start on this topic, yet I know exactly where to start – if that makes any sense….
I’ll take it back to a couple years ago when I was sitting on my counselor’s couch telling her about another failed relationship, explaining to her that I just didn’t think I was capable of love. I knew I could love people, I just truly felt I wasn’t capable of actually being IN love with someone. I didn’t know if I was the issue: If I was too selfish to actually be in love with another human being, if I loved myself just too damn much, if I was scared of giving up control, if I just wasn’t born with a certain “gene” (yes, I seriously thought I lacked something that made me capable of it). I was almost 25 and had never experienced it, everyone in my life up to that point had not only experienced it, but some were now on to the third “loves of their lives” at that point.
I explained to her that I had made peace with the fact that I would probably end up marrying a man I knew would be good to me, a good husband and a good father – I most likely wouldn’t be IN love with him, but I was okay with that – for me, it was worth the sacrifice of having those other things.
She leaned forward and looked me dead in the eye and said,
“Katherine, there are so many mediocre things in life, WHY would you ever allow love to be one of them?”
Those words will stay with me the rest of my life.
However, as strong as those words were in that moment, I still wasn’t able to fully grasp the power of them, because I had yet to experience what she was talking about. I’ve always had a very tumultuous relationship with my dad and have had my issues with the type of father and husband he was – which is WHY I was so willing to sacrifice love for someone that I knew would be good to me, a good father and a good husband – those things mattered more to me.
Because those things were such a priority I think it definitely affected my decisions when choosing a partner. I’ve cared very deeply for the partners I’ve had, and really did love them as human beings, they were good men (most of the time) who were good to me and I’m grateful for that. If I’m going to keep it real though, I knew they were “safe” choices.
I knew they were men that would love me far more than I would ever love them, I knew they would go above and beyond ten times over to make sure I was happy, I knew that I held all the power in those relationships because I cared less about it. Trust me, I’m writing this and I know how absolutely awful it all sounds – but this was totally my mind set years ago. I was in my early twenties and completely selfish.
I realize now, more than selfish I was actually scared. I intentionally chose partners I knew wouldn’t hurt me (they actually did in other ways – but that’s another story), and I chose partners I knew I could control. I’ve always been a very dominant, very in control type of person. I knew as long as I had control I could protect myself.
I knew that if I fell in love I would fall with everything in me, I would forfeit my control willingly. I don’t know how to love small or love lightly. I love deeply, passionately, and unconditionally. The idea of giving all of that to someone fully and completely terrified me beyond what I was able to even comprehend. I knew because of how deeply I felt things, that if I fell in love and got hurt I wouldn’t know how to recover.
It was much easier to convince myself that I was incapable of being IN love and continue to choose “safely,” than to actually let go and fall.
My counselor sat there trying to explain to me the beauty of what it felt like to be in love, how it was one of the most amazing things anyone could ever experience.
After, she asked, Why would you ever rob yourself of experiencing such joy?
I replied, It’s worth the sacrifice to me.
I left her office that day questioning myself and my thoughts about love more than I ever had before. That day I left her office with a new fear. A fear that I would never allow myself to experience that can’t eat/can’t sleep type of love, that I didn’t know how to allow myself to.
This blog post is the first in a series of posts that will delve into my experience with love. For the next couple of weeks I’m going to go much deeper, and at times darker, to truly explore and honestly open up about the journey I’ve been on the last couple of years.