I once heard “belief” defined as “existing ideas that we hold on to. Something we hold as real or true.”
If you ask me, I’ll tell you that I believe in love. I always have. I believe in that moment of connection between two people when your heart starts to pound; you hold your breath and you feel that telltale stirring down below.
When I hit puberty and suddenly grew in cup size and leg length, I not only believed in love (c’mon, I read Forever, who didn’t?), I enthusiastically employed this new power my body had to feed that belief. I quickly realized that open legs combined with a smart-ass attitude was a deadly combination. And I started to believe, a lot. I believed in love in dark movie theaters, the backseats of cars and midnight visits through my bedroom window.
As I got older, my belief was tested. Each heartache, infidelity and deception chipped away at my trust, but I was always proud in the fact that, while the lines of love and sex were starting to blur, I still believed in love. Every time I laid on my back for a new face, I believed I could find an open, meaningful connection…and boy was I open to love!
At the height of my fervor I believed in love several times a week and often with several different people. Sometimes I participated in belief “groups.” I would have lengthy online chats with fellow believers where we would send each other pictures of how much we believed in each other.
Last year, love once again beat the crap out of me.
I was starting to question why, even with all of my outreach efforts, I was still alone. Why had love been so elusive? Why had love not believed in me?
One afternoon, while I pawed through a box dug up from storage, I came across a journal from 1994. The opening pages talked about the days surrounding the Northridge earthquake and my relationship with a guy we’ll call Roger.
Now, the background here is that my memory of my relationship with Roger is just spotted moments of casual hook-ups and drunken booty. I remember really liking him, I would even go so far as to say I was always pining for “more,” but while I remember him enjoying my company, I also remember him with one foot out the door. Always ready to drop me for a call from his friends or the next set of fake tits to walk by. This is my memory of him.
But when I read the journal I saw repeated entries about him calling daily, spending entire weekends with me and about grand romantic gestures made by him that I casually dismissed with a sharp comment. Apparently we had frequent conversations about “us” and our future.
Then in one particularly chilling entry I wrote about a fight we had because he was upset that I didn’t believe that he loved me. In my own handwriting, I read “…Whatever. He doesn’t love me, he just loves fucking me.” It took my breath away—was I really that blind? I started recounting memories of other relationships that seemed similar and began to question them all.
I sat there, on my living room floor, 17 years having passed, realizing with shocking clarity that sure, I always claimed to believe in love… but I’ve never had faith in it.
Now, I’ve heard faith as defined as “looking forward with hope for what is to come.” So, if I’m really honest here, what I didn’t have faith in was that there was love for me. I had fooled myself into believing that every time I added another notch to my bedpost I had opened myself to the possibility of love, but that was bullshit. I hadn’t opened myself at all. I had denied my faith.
So, I had a decision to make—keep following this ultimately lonely path or find my faith in love. Is it easy to grow and change and let go of old habits? F*ck no. Old habits are comfy and safe. It is still much easier for me to believe a stranger saying, “I choose you, you’re amazing,” while I lie naked underneath him than it is for me to look at myself in mirror and say the same thing.
I can easily look a man in the eye and ask him, “Do you want me?” while I stroke him and press myself against his chest, but how the hell am I supposed to ask him, fully dressed and standing in line at Target, “Do you want me?”
I suppose it’s not about “easy” anymore.
It’s about knowing that even though laying it on the line means that I accept fully the possibility of the devastating heartbreak and soul-crushing embarrassment of love, it’s also about accepting fully the possibility of what I really believe in, what I really want—that true connection between two people, that moment when your heart starts to pound, you hold your breath and you feel that telltale stirring down below.
A meat-eating, whiskey-drinking yogi, Mischa considers herself less of a yoga teacher and more of a yoga enabler. While her passion for yoga runs deep, she’s never been the “sandles and candles” type. As a matter of fact, if you ever hear her talking about your kundalini rising, just wait for the inappropriate joke soon to follow. Mischa teaches yoga in the SFV and Greater Los Angeles areas and has recently launched an organization focused on providing free yoga therapy to returning Veterans struggling with PTSD. She currently lives in Sherman Oaks with her loving and talented boyfriend and their dog Doug. Need to know more? You can find her atwww.YogaWithMischa.com.
Editor: Anne Clendening