For me, love is the spark at the center of the universe, the absolute essence of truth and good. It’s the moment of origin at the Big Bang. It’s the snap of God’s fingers to create it all.
There is nothing more valuable to me, whether it’s romantic or platonic or familial. True love that cares and is concerned and active, not mimicry that makes someone seem a more palatable version of human.
Maybe it wouldn’t mean so much, and maybe I wouldn’t love so hard, had I not been hurt in the ways I was. For all of my exploration and self-evisceration, there is no way to know for sure. I don’t get a George Bailey Christmas, when I get to see how my life could have been different. I get the life I create from the rubble, sometimes balanced precariously across a glittery web of scars, littered with lost hopes and dreams.
But through all of the discord, through all of the incessant buzzing inside me, there is a constant pulse, like a faint homing beacon at the center, echoing in my core, through the emptiest and most desolate parts of me. In me but outside me, like a marker for my path through and out to something bigger than me.
My path to God, to arcane truth and to wholeness.
If I’m quiet enough and still enough, I can find my way. There is a path. Maybe not for everyone, but it’s the only way I have left to go. Every other direction has been explored, defiantly and exhaustively.
My pasts are tangled like obstacles, certainly, and therapy has been vital in helping me to make sense of it all. To make sense of myself. And it is a process, occurring in the time in space in which I live. Even when I’m not in session, the work is still happening, consciously and un. A slice here and there of a valiant sword, and I can take another few steps. But sometimes it feels like those thorny vines close back up, fueled by their own blood and sometimes mine.
I’m fucking tired from the battle.
Sometimes I want to curl up and sleep, to let it all block out the sun. But every time I have relegated myself to dim solitude, I have been overcome with a greater fear of what hides in the dark, of the darkness itself. And I have taken one more swipe, in the desperate hope of finding someone, anyone, hidden in bramble, who will hold back the tangles for me to step ahead again. A simple man, tattered and bruised, but smiling and willing, offering me a hand to hold to steady me. His boots coated in stardust.
I don’t need him to slay my dragons. If there’s an evil enchantress in all of this, it’s me, desperately trying to protect my own heart.
But, God, that’s too much to ask of anyone. No mere mortal can be expected to love me like that. And I don’t know that anyone could be ready or able, no matter how much he might want to be. I don’t know if I am ready to believe that someone else even could.
I am not selfish in my intent. I am willing to fight for him in the same ways, to cheer him on and to appreciate his efforts. He deserves someone who will wipe his brow and kiss his face gently and tell him that he’s on his own right path. He deserves someone who will protect him while he sleeps.
I want to be able to grasp his hand, to draw on his strength when I am lacking. I want to be able to call out in the dark and hear his voice as more than a distant echo that might just be my own.
I need the reassurance that comes from knowing someone who loves me is truly and completely there.
I have stumbled upon men before, of course, as surprised to find them as they were to find me. But, in the end, they’ve all been nothing more than fever dreams, absurdities fleeting in the light and forgotten in detail if not in feeling. Distant echoes like a memory of thunder.
In my hurt, I have retreated, time and again, afraid of the fear that piles like more rubble, threatening to blot out the sun entirely in self-preservation.
Pandy says love isn’t worth having if we aren’t willing to risk self-annihilation. But I don’t think that destruction of myself is a measure of love. It’s a measure of fear, of protection from the pain of the burning sun on my skin after so many years of darkness. For me, it’s a way to maintain the darkness and comfort from the unknown. It is mimicry of martyrdom.
I want to live in the light. I want to be free of the tangles and the thorns. I want to let the sun burn them all away so that there is no more fight. To stop watering them with my own blood and tears.
I need open space and fresh air. I need the last battle through the brush to be freeing.
Because I believe that I will also find a simple man with dusty boots that shimmer. I believe that there will be an arcane, perfect smile and outstretched hands that glisten with dew.
And so I fight. Every day. Sometimes the battle is just to get out of bed and soothe my own fears. The hardest battles are fought in the middle of the night, awake and alone in the dark, knowing that what I want and need most is somewhere out there in a vast universe that is no larger than the breadth and depth of my heart.
The way out is through. I couldn’t go back, if I tried. So I keep moving forward, step after exhausted step, because I believe there is love to be found.
I believe there is love to be found for me.