I loved him.
I loved him so much.
I waited years for him and fell so hard down his blue eyes, only to fall on my face and get lost in a cave of darkness and pain.
You see, growing up, I thought love was something you felt with a romantic partner. So I waited. I waited and waited and waited until I heard some silky words and felt that magical spark that I’d read about so many times. But that magic was just a trick.
I loved him.
I loved him so much, it hurt.
I gave him everything I could, only to have nothing left because he never gave anything back and I was left alone, empty, cold and shivering.
I closed myself off from the world for a long time, not letting anyone get close to me—no boyfriends or any friends at all. It took me years until I could truly hug someone, holding them until our souls literally touched. It took me years to open up, to be vulnerable, to be real, to be me, because I had given up so much of myself that I had completely forgotten who I was. I had forgotten who I was, so how could anyone else know me?
I forgot about love.
I forgot about that fairy-tale dream that girls grow up hearing about.
Love tried to find me a few times, but I pushed it away because it had hurt too much the first time around. But love doesn’t hurt. It took me a while to figure that out—that love had nothing to do with that abuse. Love was what healed me, though.
I found love in flowers and barefoot walks. I found love on my yoga mat. I found love in a bubble bath. I found love in prayer and meditation.
The love I found had nothing to do with relationships. It had nothing to do with other people. It wasn’t at all like the movies I’d watched as a little girl.
The love I found had everything to do with myself.
I only found love when I was willing to look myself in the mirror. I was only able to love other people when I was able to love myself. I was only able to feel the love of others when I was open to their true self.
Love is all there really is when we are open to what love really is.
Love isn’t judgement; love is acceptance.
Love isn’t changing someone; love is only true when we love someone for who they are right now.
Love starts from within—and that’s the fairy-tale.
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Image: courtesy of the author