Love is our own.
Remember being 12 years old? Remember the feeling of absolute terror ripping through our gut—a heart caged and firing at the pace of a thousand drums played by a thousand babies? There was not an absence of Love then, even though it felt like it.
Even though it felt like the entire world had stopped its turning to look and point at us and scoff at the misfortune of us having to wake up each day and be us. And even though mom and dad said, “I love you,” and we knew it was love—we knew that there was richness behind their words—we could feel absolutely none of it.
It was not that we were not made of love, we just did not know where it was inside of us.
And that’s okay, because sometimes Love needs to go into hiding so we know the dredges of life—so we know of suffering and despair and abyss that is almost bottomless.
And it is not that Love has abandoned us—it has not flown away to some other person who deserves it more or will pay attention to it. Rather, it pupates below the surface of our skin—maybe below the surface of the heart-flesh—and cocoons itself using our muscles (which Love has named Beauty), and our blood (which Love has named Water), and our bones (which Love has named Home).
And Love remains patient, until we turn sixteen, and it comes out to play for a while and realizes that we are not yet ready for it. So it cocoons itself once more, until we are 19, and comes out and tries to teach us how to waltz. But we are clumsy still and our footing is off and we haven’t quite figured out the cadence of the 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.
And Love does not get frustrated, rather it forages around for some new muscle and blood and bone to build an entirely new cocoon and nestles itself deep inside of us.
This entire time, Love has not been frustrated with us, even though we have probably been frustrated with it. Love could spend the rest of forever trying to teach us to waltz and find only celebration in our mis-stepping while we grow despondent and irritated feeling like we should know how to step in rhythm at this point.
Because remember, we were once 16. And we were once caught between earnest desire for independence and the act of performing desires we did not yet have but knew we would one day. We paired up with people not because they were interesting or inspiring or particularly good for us. But we called it monogamy anyway and dutifully had the talk a month in, and recited the I love yous three months in, and talked of marriage six months in. We took our clothes off and looked into each others’ eyes and said things like oh my god and I want this to last forever.
And I don’t think we were lying to ourselves or to each other. I think we were only looking to coax our little pupating Love critters from their nests inside of us, feeling like there must be more to life than this. We had not yet happened upon the feeling of this is why I get to live.
That feeling would come five years later, after a few unfortunate attempts at waltzing, and when that feeling would sit inside of us, we would suddenly realize, well, shit, now all the clumsy dancing makes so much sense.
And about the time we turned 21 (or maybe it was around the time we turned 23), the dance would start making a little more sense to us. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3…
Around 21 (or 23) our stepping would sway itself with the consistency of a music box—the kind that drive monsters out of the closets of small children, or the kind that remind separated lovers of the great romance that shook them to life.
But there would be times of cockiness, because we had fallen out of step already 44 times, and now we felt like we know better. We know how to partner up with Love—after all, we’ve finally figured out our footing; we’ve finally figured out the curves of Love’s shoulder and Love’s hand and we’ve won dance contests simply because we know how to lead and follow.
But Love is not here to get cocky about the prize of knowing how to dance. Love is here just to dance.
And once again, it’s not frustration that drives Love back to the cocoon. It is the acknowledgement that we are not yet ready to be both in our fullness of Self and in fullness with Love. And that’s okay. Because Love is just as happy nestling itself into our muscle and blood and bone, filling fragments of cocoon with parts of us that were built 10 years ago and four weeks ago and just yesterday.
So there it stays, deep in the heart-flesh (or maybe this time it scoots away into the fiber of our left thigh—our Love is curious about our build after-all).
And one day we turn 25. And a few months into the year that separates the time of us knowing life from the time of us not knowing life (and if we haven’t thanked this world for our gift of living, let us do that now), we lift our spine and close our eyes at almost midnight and we say to ourselves and to our Love critter, I am not ready for you to come out, I am ready to come in.
And like a vial of fragrance bursting open, Love begins to fill the walls of our skin (instead of the walls of its skin), and our heart—our little heart—stays exactly its size but also begins to fill us, as if without our skin to keep us in, we would be zooming and zapping to every corner of the universe.
And it is not that it will always be this way. We are sure of it—we are sure that love will nest itself at various times as we become more human and more huge in our infinite largeness and our infinite smallness.
We are sure that we will dance again with Love, and we are sure we will look around the dance-floor for our critter dance-partner and be left in wanting because Love has gone back for more pupating.
For we are growing, as is Love.
And it is not sad for us to think of Love going back to its cycle—after-all, each time Love comes out to dance, its wings are a different hue of green and ultra-violet purple. And every time it comes back to us and takes us by the waist to dance, it remarks how the shade of green of our eyes has grown even more scintillating during the time of our absence from each other.
It is only beautiful to watch Love dance with us and it is only beautiful to watch Love retreat and meander around our insides finding all sorts of new material to build itself a new home for a while.
And we know that whether Love dances or rests, life is sumptuous either way.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise