I want to start off by saying that I love you, mom and dad. All that what I have seen has shaped me into who I am today and I am proud of myself. You two mean the world to me and I am lucky to have two, unconditionally loving parents by my side.
At 21 years old, I ache. I ache at the idea that someone could ever love me. I ache at the idea that anyone who might love me will not love me for who I really am. I ache when someone tries getting close to me because I have seen what getting close can do. I ache at the idea of being vulnerable and transparent with someone. I ache when someone touches me with compassion. When I think of love and all that it brings, I ache.
Not the kind of ache that is familiar to most, but the kind that leaves you crying yourself to sleep because someone wants to get to know you. What parts do they want to get to know? And when do you tell them that you are exhausted from carrying all your baggage, but you have come too far to let it go? Will they help you carry your baggage or will they watch you grow tiresome and call it love?
The kind of ache that leaves you wondering what parts someone likes about you because they haven’t seen the real you. The kind of ache you have the moment you feel a sense of untrustworthiness and you cannot tell them why. The ache that sneaks up on you in the middle of the day and leaves you forced to stay quiet.
I was about four years old when I realized what my parents were going through. At a time when my mom and dad were supposed to be my role models and foundation for love, I saw what love really was. Love was leaving my dad crying himself to sleep at night while my mom was with other men. Love was holding my crying sister while we watched my dad expressed how infidelity had hurt him. Love reminded me every day that you cannot trust anyone. Love was waking up to my mom with someone other than my dad. Love was watching my dad comfort himself in pills and isolation. Love led my brother to drugs and bad company at twelve years old. Love ruined my family.
Love has reminded me every day since that it will destroy you. If you put every ounce of your being into someone else's hands, they will drop it. Love is too much and somehow not enough. I saw what love did to my dad. That is a love that I fear I have become too familiar with. The love that leaves you screaming, crying, and fighting for more. I saw family and love crumble altogether too early in life.
I live in a generation where love is so important. Finding that special person and holding onto it is what we all crave for. But why do I feel lucky if I find someone who is kind to me? Why do I feel lucky if I find someone who does not run at the idea that I have problems? That I cannot trust? Why do I feel lucky when someone says “I understand” but I know they never will?
I saw what love really was. I saw what love really did. My siblings and I saw every move made by both of our parents. My parents not only went through infidelity and divorce, we did as well. I was too young to understand but now that I am older, I get that I internalized it all.
So now you know why I ache. Why every time someone tries to get close, I leave. If I do not leave, I attach so much self-doubt to the relationship it has no room to grow. My idea of what love is has been bedded into the soil of infidelity. I have grown to understand why I choose guys who are no good for me. Why I think every moment of every day that I am not good enough for anyone, not even myself. I know why I tremble at the thought of trusting someone. That if I am nice, compassionate, and honest, that someone will push me over. The love I have grown to know has shaped me into a punching bag for guys who will never know how to love me. The love I know keeps people away when I need them most. I guard myself every single day from facing the same love that my dad was getting. I know why and yet, love will always be my biggest enemy and the one thing I fear the most.