Until recently, I never knew how much I pulled away from love.
Literally pulled back, not just shied away.
It never dawned on me—
until it did—
that unless I could love myself,
all my nooks and crannies—
or the desire to change me,
I couldn’t be willing, nor able, to receive unconditional love from anyone.
Not even my person. The Fabulous Frenchman.
I mean what the f*ck is unconditional love anyway?
You can’t see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, yet it’s what so many of us desire.
Yet so bloody hard to define,
to know when it’s even within reach.
But one week ago, I was introduced to the concept—unconditional love—once again.
I’m no stranger to the notion, after all.
I mean, I’m a writer, a romantic.
Hell, I’m a woman.
And some would argue we are hardwired to love.
Conditioned to love unconditionally and receive that in return?
Nada more than a feeling within.
I like to think that we are born receptive to love,
both men and women.
And then we open our eyes,
we experience life, people,
and slowly discover
some love comes—
To fit in,
to get along
in this big, bad, glorious, populated world—
we must love a certain way
or forever pay a price
a dance of expectation,
Yet, every once in a while we receive a tasting of what living in nothing but love could feel like.
An in-your-face, inescapable love.
A love that comes at you so hard, so fast that it flattens you.
And blooms, an internal welling within.
Now that right there, that magic within…
that is the only true love there is.
That’s what just happened for me, to me, and made me laugh out loud in utter joy.
Last Friday, I took possession of my new-to-me, 16-week English Bulldog and it was love at first blue-eyed sight.
Or should I say, he took possession of me.
Immediately claiming me by jumping up and wrapping his rather huge paws around my calf in a you’re-totally-mine hug.
Granted, he’d just traveled far and wide to be with me…
But no excuses, so easily made.
No writing-the-feels off, so easily done.
It was love.
Even now, he’s sprawled out under my chair, simply content to be near me, as I type away on my MacBook Pro.
How is it that receiving love from animals—
whether a baby goat,
a stray kitten,
a new-born bunny,
or a rescue pup— is easy?
But love from a man, a human?
Not so much.
At least, for me.
In the past.
Are the strings imagined or very real?
Love is often portrayed as a power play, yet what I have come to see is that love, like my default setting of joy, transcends all and solely comes from within me.
Unconditional love is what I feel when I feel it.
And it started to make oh-so-much sense when I began to love me.
See, disliking me,
even hating myself at times,
forever wanting to change me,
believing I wasn’t enough,
made me endlessly question and doubt
the love another would show me.
They must want something.
That was my reaction to love.
And what it boils down to is not loving me.
In the past.
Now, as this yet-to-be-named pup
snores on in slumbering delight,
I can look back—
only for a set span of time…
as there’s no point staring in the rear-view mirror of my life for too long, as it’s much more delicious to put myself in drive—
I can now see just how often I have struggled with human love, not allowing another to love me.
Because I chose first not to love me.
Hmm, how controlling was I?
Not willing, able, allowing myself to receive that thing which is our birthright.
My Fabulous Frenchman never engages in the “I love you,” “I love you, too” rhetoric where the words lose meaning.
In fact, he taught me not to respond on autopilot to his declaration. And that was powerful.
I actually love that because I f*cking love words.
Words have meaning.
When I say words, when I write, I am intentional.
So why not be the same way with words of love I speak?
Yet, how often do we toss them out, no thought, no feeling? Automatically?
Unconditional love is divinely intentional.
It has no strings.
There is nothing one need do to receive it.
It simply is.
Puppy love is.
The love of my Frenchman is.
And the love of me, now thankfully, is.
And thus I am open to receiving more than love from just the animals I surround myself with.
For the first time in nearly 10 years of togetherness, I’m ready to receive the unconditional love this fabulous man feels for me.
To no longer place conditions on it.
To no longer question my worth, my value, myself.
Because I love me.
Because I am love.
Simply because I am open to more than delicious puppy love.
unconditional love is