What does it mean to love something? What does it mean to be loved by someone?
You see, growing up, and most of my life up to this point, I don’t think I’ve understood love. Love is, for most of us, what the world says it should be because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe. That’s what we’ve been taught.
Love is a frantic kiss and a firm embrace at the end of a Hollywood movie.
Love is Noah waiting seven years for Allie.
Love is “never letting go” (Rose and Jack)
Love is letting someone go if they choose to
Love is what you want to feel, what you want to have, how you want to look, and how others should look. If I had that, if I looked that way, if I had that GUY for a boyfriend, I would love it—because I would be loved.
I think that’s what I always thought. I had this idea in my mind of what was needed to be loved—a list of requirements defined by what I was taught and what I thought love was. I was taught by my parents what their definition of love is and it was one I clung to and tried to recreate in my last relationship. Never giving thought to the idea that maybe this is not how love is supposed to be. Now that I am older I have observed different relationships and been a few myself. I have come to realize that the love I shared in each relationship (and in my current one) was different AND that love should be different because different people bring out different qualities in you; which it turns brings out different gestures of love.
In reality, I know that love is a word that is undefinable. Some people say they love you but put no actions into play. I have always been a giving person in my relationships, cooking, baking, making gifts for the person I care for, attending their sports events, supporting them, pushing them to be all they can be (seeing how my mom caters to my father’s every need made me think that this is was how it was “supposed” to be).
But now, in my new relationship, I’m the one being catered to at times as well. I wasn’t used to someone doing so much for me like my man does now: Picking up groceries for me, helping me with assignments and tests, picking me up when I need rides to places, giving me advice on important decisions, taking care of me when I was sick (he made me tea with honey) or injured, being their for me in times of need.
I also had a pre-defined idea of what love would be like when it finally came knocking on my door. I thought that love would never be something with many flaws and imperfections but it is to me now. I’m not perfect I won’t ever be but I am the perfect version of myself right at this exact moment and I love who I am and what I’m striving to become (a teacher). When it comes to what love would look like when I found it with a partner I thought it meant to be constantly overjoyed but in reality times get hard no matter if your in love or not. It’s the person that sticks with you through it all that embodies the true meaning of love.
I thought to myself “I know I’m not perfect now and I accept that but how can something that is not perfect truly be loved unconditionally when so many other people may seem more perfect to me?” (a question many woman battle with).
That thought strangely reminded me of a pair of shoes I once had these purple uggs. These shoes weren’t anything super special.
They were comfortable; they kept me warm and looked pretty good doing it. The older they got, the worse they looked (by now they are 3 years old). There were scuff marks in the leather, and the soles were worn out, but the shoes actually got more and more comfortable as the years went by.
I knew everything about these shoes: how they would react if I stepped in a puddle, how much snow I could walk in, if they would slip on ice.
Other people would comment on how bad they were starting to look, but they still looked pretty good to me. Sure I bought other shoes, ones that had a new style and performed better, but I still preferred that old pair of shoes.
The older they got, the more I admired them. They had a strength about them. Not perfect at all, but way more than good enough, and next to impossible to part with.
So is love or finding love about smoothing out all the rough edges in your life and relationships, about looking your best, about acting perfectly and living a life of adventure ?
Or is it instead about gathering all that life is, all the gifts it has to offer, along with all its imperfections in a blind tight embrace of understanding?
That’s a freeing thought—one that says it’s okay for us to love ourselves just as we are, even if the world doesn’t see it that way.
Much love- Ang
P.S. I’m heading to the Blackhawks game tomorrow! So excited!!!