I always felt that love was such a unique experience that it could or would only happen once in my lifetime. I have many theories as to where this feeling came from but that is for another time and another place. Those of us with crippling self-doubt never thought that love would be something that we would ever experience. I can remember being in elementary school telling classmates that I would never get married. I believed that, it isn’t that I didn’t want to, I just never felt like that deep of a love was something that ever would enter my life. I spent many years in high school both reading and writing about what love feels like, what it may be like should I experience it, and how I would treat it once it was found. I have often described the feeling in these posts about that day in English class where I heard her at the chalkboard and felt as if I had been grabbed a hold of and pulled right over to her. This feeling was the beginning of what I knew love to be. She was my every thought and from that point forward all I ever wanted. I could go on forever not knowing any other success if I could just have her in my life.
When she approached me the night of New Years 1998 all I had dreamt of and hoped for started to become a reality. It was a moment in my life that initiated the way I would approach my life. Out of the depressive/ negative adventures of my upbringing now came this new feeling of possibility. This moment of success in which something that I had tried for, hoped for, and worked for, she, with a single kiss, changed something in me that I will never forget. Through the almost 20 years we spent together I learned new ways to show love, express love and feel love. I had to learn these ways because not everyone shows love the way that you want to receive love (I will get into this more later). Then came the birth of my first child. I wanted four kids, we spoke about it, I wanted it so badly, and then we had one. I looked down at this little human in front of me and felt an emotion that I was unable to express or register in my own head. This love was a different love, I knew how I loved her, but this was scary love. I overflowed; I loved this child and would instantly throw myself in front of a moving train if it meant that he would be safe. The amount of love that filled every space in my body, having her in my life and now this little baby boy, it was something that I had never felt before. It was nothing I had ever come close to feeling before. When we spoke of the possibility of having another I became more scared than I had before in my life. I was afraid that I would not be able to love a child, or anything, as much because I didn’t think I had that capacity within me. She, nor I, thought that it would be good to have our first child remain an only child so we agreed to have one more. I was a nervous wreck at how I would react when I saw this child. Would I be able to be what I need to be for another? When our second son was born my fears were erased once again. Who knew that you could fill up even more than what you thought was your max capacity? My cup didn’t runith over but it grew to allow more in. How amazing this was. I had a lot of love in my body and in my soul and I was able to give it out as much as I wanted and it would replenish every time I walked in that front door.
As I sit now in this apartment alone most days and nights but for the weekends my boys are with me I think about that love. How it builds up the weekends they are not here and on the weekends they are, making sure to be reserved because if it all came out at once it may frighten them. What does one do when the love that once took an empty vessel, made it grow in volume allowing more love to cradle within which now just seems to overflow? It seems to bleed within me becoming reabsorbed, but into what? When I pass a flower shop I still think of picking up just a few tulips because they were her favorite and she never wanted a gaudy amount of them. When I see something that reminds me of my boys it is hard not to want to share it with them, now I can only describe in words over a phone what I want so desperately to show them allowing me to watch their reactions, even if it is a teenage sarcastic comment about how it isn’t that cool at all. I have taken some of this time to learn how to actually show myself love, a love that I am not sure that I had known prior. It always all about everyone else being happy and making sure they felt the love I had to give. I never felt that for myself, I don’t love myself enough to use up even the smallest percentage of what I have to offer. So it bleeds within. It isn’t a painful feeling but one of waste. It is being wasted. Will this vessel that once grew to hold the love of dreams, family, companionship begin to shrink to accommodate the lesser amounts being used? Could it be that I will forget how to provide the love necessary to have any other meaningful relationship? It is once again a concern as when I was young that this isn’t something that I was meant to have.
I recognize that any new love will feel different than the love I experienced before. What I experienced before was how she showed love. She showed it by sharing her knowledge and her time with me. She loved to read and absorb information and then share it, that was her way of showing that I was valued enough in her life that she wanted me to know this amazing fact that she had learned and that had excited her. I loved seeing that look in her eyes of fascination, for someone as smart as she was to find something so amazing that it made her physically react made me happy and excited as well. The very thought of this makes me curious about how, should I be fortunate enough to find a second chance, how would she show me that she loved me or that I was valuable to her? Would she be the one walking down the street and see something that reminded her of me and instantly want me to be there? Would she go out of her way to find something that I had spoken of months before as I had for my Ex? There were many other ways in which she would show me I was valued to her, sending a quick text, meeting me for lunches and bringing the boys (those were my favorite times of the work week), putting something goofy in the lunch I had made for myself, or just simply being there and invested when the time was needed. This may not sound like much to others but to me it was more than I had ever experienced. She was practical in many ways where I was responsibly impractical. She was able to ground me when I needed it and I was able to lift her when she needed it. To continue the cliché, we complimented each other. Will the next person be less of a compliment and more of a partner in crime? If so watch out world because we are either taking it over or going full on Bonnie and Clyde.
If or when I meet someone else I am afraid of the amounts that have built within. I am scared that I wont know how to control how I show it. Will I be able to show true love again? If I can will it just jump out of me as if I was the clown inside the Jack in the box? Some poor woman excitedly turning that handle, listening to the pretty music, then slowing down the turn because she knows there is a surprise coming, the music slows as she turns small handle until it is just a note by note melody, hesitating with each movement her hand, then just as she is about to breath deep, I spring out of the box and screaming “I LOVE YOU” while singing a song, reciting a poem, giving her a dozen flowers, while cooking a candle lit dinner and pouring her a glass of her favorite wine simultaneously. Or will I be hesitant and she has to drag the love out of me. Maybe there will be a perfect medium or maybe the perfection will come with the tipping of the scales to one side or the other. I can honestly say that I am scared that I am unable to show that kind of love again. I want to, I so badly want that feeling all over again, but how do you ignore the scars? How does the wall come down? Is it brick by brick because that wasn’t how it was built, that thing shot up and surrounded me within moments of her announcement. Maybe there will be someone who wants to smash through it, and if you are reading this and your are truly out there, please, PLEASE yell “OH YEAH!!” like the Cool-Aid man, that would be so awesome.
So what does happen to the love that swells inside? Where does it go when left unused? Does it rot out the heart like a character from a Charles Dickens novel? For now I am going with the idea that it bleeds over the edges, spilling down the sides to be cycled back through. There will come a time though where the manufacturing of this emotion will become less and less necessary. At that time to I get to become the old curmudgeon that I joke so often about becoming? The one that sees two young people walking down the street and yells “It’ll never last!!!” Or the drunken guy that walks up to people at parties and weddings and slurringly proclaims that the bride and grooms love is so beautiful and they should hang onto each other forever and never let anything come between them (especially another man, ba dum bum ching). She gave me the knowledge of what love is supposed to feel like. I took that knowledge and built upon it to gain a better understanding, as well as a better skill in showing it. I cannot rely on her anymore to know, feel, or show love. I know it is in there, I can feel it. It makes me excited and scared at the same time, it makes me still, it makes me tremble, and at times it brings me to my knees in utter agony pounding at the floor with a clenched fist screaming. Still though, I believe, I believe in love both the concept and the execution. Cherish it, I did, and I knew then, as I live now, there are those out there that don’t have it and some who will never truly experience it that, in my mind, is a humbling fact. So bleed your love out and do not bleed it within, express every day your joy in your partner, and sleep each night knowing you get to wake up and start that process over again. I will end this with a quote and no not the Beatles song but from Lao Tzu “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”