Give a little love, get a little love. Or don’t.

When I was fifteen years-old, I was totally infatuated with the idea of love. I was so in love with love that I couldn’t focus on much else. I sat in my room and played old tapes that had belonged to my mother; mostly smooth r&b music by the likes of Prince, Boyz 2 Men and other various (sensual) artists of the 80s and 90s. I had also discovered her Fleetwood Mac collection, which only deepened the hole. I wondered to myself what my mother had been thinking while listening to songs like Leather & Lace. Had she experienced a love that was true with my father?

I wanted to know other people’s love, so that I might someday recognize my own. Dating seemed odd to me. I couldn’t imagine spending that much time with someone and enjoying it. I figured with my attention span that it was better that I kept to myself. But just the idea of being in love someday had me so excited and ready for when I was able to keep someone and want someone. I wanted to have a true love, one that lasted forever.

Here I am ten years later, far away from sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor and clutching those tapes. I’m a grown woman now that has known the feeling of puppy love, and even more heartbreak. I can’t say I have ever been truly in love, though. While I’ve experienced a true connection with several people, I have never felt like I couldn’t live without them. I never felt as if I couldn’t move forward in life without their presence. I definitely appreciated the company and companionship they had provided for however long they stuck around, but I never really cared when they left.

Once I had thought I was in love, and I thought I was sure I had found the one. At least in the day I thought I had found love. At night, I would lay beside him in our bed, in our little apartment, and feel his body close to mine and hear his breathing and I would wonder to myself: is this all I get? Is this what I am going to feel for the rest of my life? I could say that I felt comfortable, at peace and just fine. But I never felt overwhelmed with emotion by this man. He never made me “weak in the knees”, and not once had I experienced “butterflies”. Though I lied and said I did at times. I think most knew though, that his care for me ran much deeper than anything that I ever felt for him. This is why our ultimate fate was to separate (amicably) and go our separate ways, with the occasional run-in here and there. But when  I saw him, I never felt like I had missed out. When he began to see someone else seriously, I felt a small pang of jealousy, and a little bit of fear. I thought, “God, was it going to get better at some point? What if he really was the one and I was just supposed to grow into loving him?”

Because you don’t grow into love, it just doesn’t appear one day when you look into someone’s face. I believe that love is something that gets stronger, but you usually know within a small period of time if you could love someone. Or at least that’s what the movies tell us right?

I’ll tell you one thing, I am absolutely exhausted by the thought of love now. After years of wondering if it will ever come to me, I have given up. But in this, I have learned that loving myself and enjoying just being alone is something more important. Because really, as corny as it is, and as many times you’ll hear it in your lifetime, it’s true; at the end of the day, the only person there for you is YOU.

Be there for yourself always, unconditionally. Be in love with yourself, not necessarily your physical self, but your spiritual and mental self. Because the outside will change, but your mind will probably stay the same, right?

Last year, my youngest brother had his heart severely broken and I couldn’t do anything for him. He cried on the phone and asked me about the times I had broken up with my previous boyfriends.

“Did you ever change your mind? Did you hurt, too? Did you ever regret it?”

“Well, no, yes, and sometimes…” I couldn’t bring him the comfort he needed because I never let all that much ride on love. I always kept a part of myself out of the relationships. I never “gave it my all”, and I did that intentionally. I believe that we all should, even if it’s miniscule. Don’t forget that you are capable of also being independent.

This is what I tried to tell my brother, but he was only angry that it wasn’t what he wanted to hear.

I’m trying to figure this out as I go. I think so far I have the basics down, love yourself first, love yourself most, and respect yourself and eventually a love great enough will be available for someone else.

I’m hoping that will come soon, because I am really starting to get sick of myself. It’d be nice to have a little company.

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