I’ve been reading a lot as of late about love, among other things. But the theme of love in particular has stood out to me; about love and people only accepting the love that they think they deserve. I find this to be true. But in accepting this truth, I have to in turn accept what I have felt that I deserved is lacking. And that is hard to accept. It makes me melancholy to see what I have accepted in the way of love—something subtle and soft about the edges becomes a child’s day-glo pink with sharp edges. How can I have thought I deserved so little?
My first serious boyfriend came about at the perfect time for him and the worst time for me. He was an abusive, alcoholic control freak with anger tightly wound around ever fiber of his being. He made me feel small and apparition-like—and part of me thinks I wanted to disappear. But I didn’t. And I didn’t deserve the love that he gave me. My second boyfriend was also an alcoholic, still a child lost at the bottom of a bottle and in un-reconciled memories and scar tissue. I wanted to cut myself open and let him actually grow into a person. He was not and is not whole. I hope he finds himself. But I can’t do that for him and I did not deserve that love either.
My most recent, albeit very short, relationship was nothing like either of the aforementioned. It was closer to what I need, what I now feel I deserve. He taught me to only let the right people in, and for that I will be forever grateful. Here-in lies my lesson in the complete and utter beauty of something sweet and ephemeral; I used to have the hardest time letting go—leaving people, dreams, and hopes like crumpled paper in the wake of holding on too tight.
I think about one of my beautiful best friends—conversations and shared experiences surrounding our previous relationships. I look at her, half in love myself with human ardor, and I cannot believe she ever believed she deserved anything less than her loving husband. I wonder how she ever thought she deserved her drunken, abusive jag-off of an ex. But I feel she thinks the same thing about me when we talk about such things, when I tell her all the things I don’t want in a relationship, but I have no idea what I need. It is because we now know we deserve more. We love ourselves more than we used to, for whatever reason. And I love her more for experiencing that with me; that I am not alone in my foolish acceptance of bad love.
My mother says that I need someone more established than the emotionally unstable type I seem so drawn to. She thinks I need someone older; a book-type, like myself, who I can share and cultivate my ideas with. She thinks I need someone who can not only take care of himself, but me a bit too. She says, “You always do the taking care of. I just wish you would let someone help you for once.”
This terrifies me.
But I think I am starting to learn toward thinking I deserve something like that.