A Little Bit of My Dark

My dad’s 61st birthday was a little over a week ago and in the event that you’re just joining the Righteous Revival community (welcome!), he wasn’t here to sing happy birthday to or to blow out any candles. My dad is in that ever so speculated upon, heavily debated place knows as the after life or Heaven or bluntly put, dead.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed the simultaneous shock upon peoples’ faces after I’ve been interrogated about the whereabouts of my parents and my usage of the word, “dead,” escapes my mouth. I don’t use it for the shock value by any means – it’s just what resonates with me more often than “passed away” or “gone home” or any other variation that describes the end of someone’s life.

There are times when I make morbid jokes like the time I shipped my mama’s ashes via FedEx to California from New York and I called my friend, Claudia, to let her know that my mother would be arriving at her doorstep in T minus 4 hours. I sincerely hope you laughed just now or at least chuckled – Claudia thankfully did and even threw in her own addition to the morose quip. It’s how I cope with the otherwise debilitating anger and sadness that can become suffocating if I don’t incorporate at least an ounce of humor into my everyday life which is parentless and has been for the last three and a half years.

I am reminded on a daily basis that I will never celebrate another birthday with either of my parents or mail another Christmas card to either of their addresses. If I have children one day, I will not share in the foretold immense joy of parenthood with either of them– there will never be that shining moment of prideful grandparents that many have the pleasure of basking in. I am constantly reminded of this every waking and, sometimes, sleeping moment of my life and making light of this uncontrollable situation is a necessary means of my emotional survival.

Death has become a familiar part of my thirty years of existence. I often speak openly and freely about my own future departure, utilizing dark humor to decorate the otherwise uncomfortable subject.

“I want “Another one Bites the Dust” to be a part of the soundtrack at my memorial,” I laughingly joke and this is often followed up by an uneven amount of mutual chuckles, I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that gasps, and worried expressions upon the faces of unwarned ears.

Being on the receiving end of these looks is often a cue of how unfair and unusual it is to find oneself cozying up to end of life ideas as if it is somehow natural, as if the fear is nonexistent and I somehow find comfort in death’s certainty.

If my dad and I could have some more time together, I would ask him what he found comfort in, if anything, during his last few days. I would ask him what he feared, not only at the end of his life but during the majority of his life. Fear, security, vulnerability, means of survival – those four things would be the basis for some epic getting-to-know-you conversations. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll be granted that opportunity.

Until then, I’ll be gentler with myself, knowing that fear is inevitable but it can be managed, it can be lived with. And by live, I sincerely mean living, consciously, absolutely. A lesson I am aggressively learning currently is that being vulnerable does not mean being weak. When vulnerability is active, the fears have a way of thriving but that fear can be managed. One of the quickest ways to managing that fear is allowing oneself to be vulnerable, to be human and opening yourself to acknowledging those fears – where they come from, what they mean, for when one is vulnerable, one can be deeply and wholly honest with him or herself.

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What Are You Doing with All Your Dark?

I always tread lightly when addressing sensitive subjects such as grief. My intent is never to come off as a pretentious know-it-all as everyone grieves differently. There may be a “model” for the steps of grieving, but no individual grieves in the same pattern or manner as the next individual.

In fact, I’m so often ridden with anxiety regarding the subjects in which I write about that after I post such material, the minutes, hours and sometimes days following are filled with inner turmoil. I ask myself, “Should I have posted that?” “Should I change this? Edit that?” “Should I just delete the whole damn thing all together?” The inner inquisition marches on, infiltrating my slumber and testing my motive to move forward, to write on, if you will.

For those whom this appears as an easy task, one that comes naturally, it is, in fact, not. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had an inherent inclination to share my personal life from a very young age, perhaps its purpose being solidified in my senior year sociology class when Mr. Johnson, whom to this day remains one of my favorite and most memorable teachers, asked the class if anyone would be willing to volunteer to be a part of a panel of students speaking on an extremely serious, personal subject matter. This panel consisted of a group of teenagers, including myself, who were all too familiar with various forms of addiction.

What ensued following my willingness to volunteer was an unfortunate and deeper wedge placed smack dab in the middle of my brother and I for the simple fact that he found my allocation of such intimate matters to be, for lack of better terms, wrong. What I gratefully gained from doing so was the realization that sharing some of the darkest corners of my already dusty life would develop into a habit that would serve not only as a form of therapy for myself but for others, as well.

I recently came across this beautiful thought by the talented writer, Amanda Torroni. It asked, “What are you going to do with all that dark?” And it answered, “Find a way to glow in it.” What a simple but profound thing to ask ourselves and I couldn’t have answered it better. I found a way to glow in it in the fall of 2002 in Mr. Johnson’s sociology class.

Amanda Torroni

Amanda Torroni

I told myself that as humans, we never know what the stranger in the back of the room or the new friend we meet in biology class is experiencing and these people may not have the know-how or desire to vocalize such personal details of their private lives. My having the ability to do so means someone will be able to relate and thus feel a little less alone and perhaps gain a little more courage and hope.

Twelve years later, here I am –still glowing in the darkness, still sharing on what I aspire to be a continually grander scale and still hoping with quite a few more life experiences to introspect upon. As for the divide between my brother and I it will always remain and not just because of my readiness to open up about our dad’s drug addiction to the masses. At least there’s a whole hell of a lot more acceptance and understanding that we’re two entirely different people with different dreams, goals and perspectives. We grieve differently, glowing in our own unique ways within what sometimes feels as a perpetual darkness.

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The Price We Pay for Love

My world seems to be on one of those dimmer switches. Every time I lose someone I love, my surroundings appear a little darker, my thoughts a little more sinister and my reality a little more, well, real. This isn’t me being negative or glass half empty though I can understand where one may come to that conclusion. I’m simply just trying to explain via analogy what so many of us have experienced – the pain and price of loving someone.

Through years of weekly therapy sessions and constant self-analysis, it finally registered: Grieving is not easy and we don’t just do it like Nike. In fact, many of us, including myself, find ways to avoid doing it whether we’re conscious of our evasion or not. I think I must have had this idealization that grieving was like sitting down at our dining table with a cup of coffee at a scheduled time and saying, “On your mark, get set, go! Grieve away. Cry. Let it out.” And then it’s over. Instead of a dimmer, I’m talking about a light switch now. Grief on. Grief off. This is the self-control freak in me speaking.

If only it were that easy, which leads me to my next recognition and that is that grief doesn’t really end. The anguish that correlates with the process may lessen and become more bearable but grief doesn’t actually have an ending point. We don’t wake up one day and suddenly never ever feel the grief again. We may not feel it as often but with the loss of deep and meaningful relationships based in love comes deep, meaningful and lifelong grief. It is, after all, the price we pay for love.

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In Memory of My Buddy, Ali Dellevas

Take me,” I often find myself bargaining loudly in my head every time someone dear to my heart has untimely, unfairly been taken from this world by that ugly six-letter-word: cancer. And I say “every time” because it, unfortunately, has been quite a few times and one, in my opinion, was one too many.

The bargaining swiftly turns into unequivocal anger, then some degree of shock, then back to the bargaining, “Take me this time, instead, you bastard,” anthropomorphizing the disease as if it bares ears that can hear my useless plea, a heart that can fathom compassion and the control to alter the circumstances, to take me instead of the good ones it seems to never spare.

Yesterday morning was no different.

Ali died this morning, dude,” our close, mutual friend, Amanda uttered over the telephone line from thousands of miles away.

No, no, no, no, no…” was all I could repeat as my knees hit the ground, the tears began and I curled into a ball. I may have said this before but it’s interesting that “no” is probably the first word many of us learn as wee ones and the first word that escapes our mouths when being informed of the devastating loss of a loved one.

As babies, we say “no” because we hear it so often and it is often associated with conditions in which we find contrary to what our simple minds desire in that moment.

But I don’t wanna go to bed.

I want to put the small object in my mouth.

I want to play with the crystal glassware left on the coffee table.

And it’s really no different as an adult. Our vocabulary has hopefully expanded into a book’s worth of words but “no” is still the go-to because once again, we are presented with a reality out of our control and for lack of better terms, unpleasant. We only wish it involved our sleep patterns, small, material objects or expensive drink-ware.

I’m not ashamed to admit that there were certainly a few emphasized “fucks” thrown in between my “no’s.” My buddy, as we so often lovingly referred to one another, had a potty mouth of her own. If I didn’t angrily shout my favorite f-word a few times, I would probably have disappointed her. On August 21st of 2012, she accurately tagged me on Facebook in this funny e-card.

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Infectious was Ali’s laugh. It was the kind of laugh that engaged, that was easily recognizable in a room full of people and when you heard it you couldn’t help but smile or even laugh with her, even if you had no idea what was so funny. I heard that laugh today, in my head, as I despondently walked to lunch and with every reason not to be smiling, I smiled. I like to think that it’s her way of letting us all know that she’s okay, that she’s in a better place as the adage goes; A place free of suffering and pain where she can laugh, carefree. Furthermore, I like to think she’s sharing that wonderful charisma of hers with my beautiful mama and they’re keeping each other good company wherever it is that we may go after this life.

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Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 6.48.23 PMShe had an enchanting smile to go along with that compelling laugh, an inspiring, positive outlook no matter the obstacle thrown her way and enough compassion to ignite a fire in even the most merciless heart. Her love for family, friends, Channing Tatum and the usage of the word “heffa” were strikingly evident. Her very presence alone was electrifying. If Ali was in the room you best believe it was happily known.

Those who know me well know that the two years I spent in New York City were unfortunately the two most dismal years I have experienced in my thirty years of existence. Aside from the onslaught of homesickness and relationship woes, I lost both of my parents within four months of one another to lung cancer. My mama was my best friend. I wasn’t much for socializing to say the least and everything frequently appeared glum, miserable from my perspective. On the outside, I may have been smiling but on the inside, I was the lead star in my own personal hell and New York City happened to be the hopeless setting.

My mama always reiterated that if we don’t have hope, we don’t have anything. I would say that my train rides home to Brooklyn with Ali and my hour lunches with her at “Fuck and Spoon” as Ali and I so aptly called it for its outrageous prices were lifesaving. Here was this beautiful, young vibrant spitfire of a woman, unfortunately diagnosed with cancer, still cracking jokes, still laughing that delightful laugh, still fighting, still loving life. If that couldn’t whip shit into perspective for me, I’m not sure what could have. She was the very definition of hope.

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There are several quotes about surrounding oneself with positive people, ridding one’s life of toxicity and so forth and whenever I would come across these, I would do an inventory of the people I keep around me. Ali was always at the top of the list of those who enriched my life with their contagiously optimistic attitude, of those whom I wished to keep near and dear for their uplifting contribution to my existence.

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As I continue to write with a heavy, broken heart, I just keep thinking, “I’m not doing her justice. This isn’t good enough.” I’ve been at quite the loss for words the past couple of days but I sincerely have given this my best. If the untimely loss of Ali has taught us one thing, let it be that time is an illusion. There is no such thing. Right now – that is the only thing that is real and right now, we must be strong and fearless and do the things that excite our soul, that breathe life into our veins and make the right now a better place for others just as Ali made each and every one of our right nows a better place.

Her family and closest friends will continue to be in my thoughts and in my prayers. No parent should ever have to bury his or her child and for all of our sakes, I hope that one day when we go to the paradise where Ali has gone, it will all make perfect sense. In the meantime, fuck cancer.

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I’ll never forget you, my buddy. Rest in peace. Seahorses foreva.

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#FuckCancer

Lindsay Taylor:

This would be my first and well-deserved reblog. Please help spread the word, if nothing more than a share of Ali’s story. Every little thing helps.

Originally posted on A Righteous Revival:

The after work, evening commute in New York City is even more drab and dreary than the morning one and going it alone can quickly turn into a frustrating, elbow-rubbing, unpleasant smelling, anxiety-inducing experience; one where vying for a place to rest ones ass can go from an awkward “after you,” “no, after you” to the shorter equivalent of a 100 yard dash competition. And then of course, one might weigh the pros and cons of the empty seat – Is it a middle seat or a side seat? Is it by the exit or in the middle of the train, furthest from mass transportation freedom as possible?

On one hand, you can rest your tush whilst having the sleepiest stranger to your right dozing off on your shoulder or the asshole to your left practicing his latest spreading techniques (in case you do not know…

View original 530 more words

#FuckCancer

The after work, evening commute in New York City is even more drab and dreary than the morning one and going it alone can quickly turn into a frustrating, elbow-rubbing, unpleasant smelling, anxiety-inducing experience; one where vying for a place to rest ones ass can go from an awkward “after you,” “no, after you” to the shorter equivalent of a 100 yard dash competition. And then of course, one might weigh the pros and cons of the empty seat – Is it a middle seat or a side seat? Is it by the exit or in the middle of the train, furthest from mass transportation freedom as possible?

On one hand, you can rest your tush whilst having the sleepiest stranger to your right dozing off on your shoulder or the asshole to your left practicing his latest spreading techniques (in case you do not know what this is, feel free to click on the link above) and on the other hand, you can stand but you better move the hell out of the way approximately thirty seconds before each stop because the elderly woman sitting in front of you just has to inch her way to the exit doors in order to be first off the train.

What has the ability to brighten this five-day commute and ease the disadvantages of riding the New York City subway between the hours of five and eight p.m. is having a riding buddy. I was fortunate enough to have that during my time on the east coast. This woman was not only a riding buddy but a Brooklyn bred, Italiana firecracker with a mouth of a sailor and a heart of gold. Her name is Ali. We worked together at a fashion jewelry company on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s midtown district and we both happened to take the same subway line back to Brooklyn.

I’m uncertain of whether or not Ali knows just how much her presence and friendship meant to me and still does today but the purpose of this blog is to not only express that appreciation but to ask you, my readers, for your help this holiday season. Ali has been battling a rare form of stage three ovarian cancer for three years and is presently in the hospital fighting pneumonia with other severe health complications brought on by this horrific disease.  Doctors are currently at a loss as far as further treatment.

I’ll never forget the night this despairing news came to fruition, when my fun-loving, exceptionally strong, spirited and young friend was diagnosed just months after my best friend, my mama, passed away from stage four metastatic lung cancer.  Ali and I immediately formed a common bond if we hadn’t already had several and despite her own, personal struggles, she continued to be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on but more importantly someone who “got it,” and on those seemingly long ass commutes home, her presence was life saving. Her sense of humor never ceased to exist and her contagious laugh, everlasting.

I couldn’t possibly place my gratitude into the proper words; I can only hope that I provided Ali with some amount of solace in return. I will do my best to help her and her family in any way that I possibly can and right now, that means reaching their goal of $20,000 via the link http://www.gofundme.com/letusrallyforali

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Please take a brief moment to click on the link and read her heartbreaking story. Every little bit truly helps and this is one story that deserves a happy ending. Ali recently wrote via her Facebook that she is “overwhelmed by all the love and support from everyone,” that it truly astonished her. To that I respond, and I know so many will agree, I am not surprised one bit by the outpouring of support. If she remotely touched others’ lives in the way that she managed to touch mine, it is not surprising in the least bit.

Seahorses forever!  Love you, buddy. #FUCKCANCER

Twinsies 4 the day!

My Buddy, Ali, and I

 

 

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Sundown, Moon Rise

I once laid in bed with death, right next to it – our skins touching, my body’s warmth to its eerie absent-like coolness and my weary head upon its betraying shoulder. I managed to whisper a few nonsensical words to its deaf ears and shed a few tears in its unwelcome and untimely presence. I once vowed my life – the one I’m living right now – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health to another living, breathing human being in the attendance of other living, breathing human beings. I once allowed death to fool me into longing for its bittersweet company but I’m still living that life. I no longer vow it to anyone – not another human being, not even death – only my self.

I just want something to last longer than I, I thought to myself as I stepped into the hot, steaming shower after a dragging, long day at work. This thought wasn’t random nor was it shocking – sad, definitely but not surprising that I would think something as such. On the surface, it seems like a legit, understandable yearning but once you dig a little deeper, into its core, you realize that there is so much emotion and experience balled up into those nine little words.

If I were to dig a little deeper, I would explain that I want something of substance to last longer than myself – a friendship, a relationship, and hell – my good moods! I want to become of death before someone else I love dearly dies again. I want this man, this relationship, and this time to be it. I want to just share the rest of my days with one person, without a shadow of a doubt, through the good times and the bad. I don’t need the paper, the ring, none of it – just the quality.

If I were to continue digging, I would tell you that these admissions terrify the living hell out of me and yes there is a living hell inside of me. I would go on to tell you that I don’t believe in forever. I don’t believe that there is one person for anyone. I don’t believe in marriage. I do believe in death and flaws and disappointment. I believe in temporary relationships that unexpectedly venture beyond the platonic level.

This isn’t to say that I don’t want to believe in the above because I most certainly do and there was a point in my life that I actually did that now seems like forever ago– ha! No pun intended, but after the almost three decades of life that I have under my belt, I have learned how to “protect” myself by expecting the absolute worse – death in all of its various forms. By believing it possible to prepare for the worst, the devastating blow won’t be as devastating, right? I know I’m wrong but I’ve got about thirty years of experiences to unlearn. Please, do, wish me luck, though honestly, I don’t believe in luck. Pray?

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No Lie in My Fire

This made me think of you,” the six-word caption attached to the picture message read. At 10:55 a.m. this past Saturday morning, I received an unexpected text message that, to an outsider’s perspective, would appear to be just that – a text message. But this was no ordinary message – this message was a much more meaningful gesture presenting itself as every day communication.

Two of my favorite quotes were legible across the confines of my smart phone screen, one of which happens to be the cover photo of my Facebook account.

Charles Bukowski Quote

Charles Bukowski Quote

And the other, another Bukowski quote, that always serves as a reminder of my inherent strength.

Charles Bukowski Quote

Charles Bukowski Quote

Not only was this message a much-needed reminder at that particular moment but a realization that this man gets me.  For the first time in my life, someone sees me, and whether or not he understands, he accepts me for who I am.  Most importantly, it doesn’t make him want to run. It doesn’t make him want to turn his back on me in seek of “something greener,” “something better.”  He gets me and he wants to walk through the fire with me.

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The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past

As I sit here circa 8pm on Thanksgiving evening of 2014, I contemplate holidays past and history that I didn’t even exist in as of yet. I’m buzzed off of Gernacha/Syrah blends from Spain, Lambrusco from Italy and Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast and in a slight food coma from the feast I began cooking mid afternoon that consisted of green bean casserole, roasted balsamic cauliflower, lemon/garlic/pepper chicken and tilapia among a couple other dishes. My famous pumpkin pie followed up this feast.

I think about what I was doing on Thanksgivings past and with whom I was sharing delicious food and beverage with and that crazy, inevitable aspect of life called change. God, I feel like I’ve lived several lives with the changes I have experienced. Two years ago, I was in my Brooklyn apartment celebrating with my husband and a close friend from Italy who has never celebrated this American holiday and last year, I was celebrating with my sister, Sandy, and her loving Mexican familia in a Los Angeles suburb. The circumstances and changes that led to each of these holidays are a blog or two of their own but the point is that life certainly is beautiful when the positive is what is focused upon.

This year, I am in the midst of a drawn out divorce, my friend is thousands of miles away in northern Italy, my sister, Sandy is still celebrating with her beautiful fam and I’m in love with a wonderful man who joined me in the kitchen assisting me with tonight’s feast. We later sat on the living room floor of my lovely Los Angeles apartment to ingest and enjoy our hard work.

I don’t want to bore you any longer with the mundane details of my Thanksgivings but to point out that change is good. The only time in my life where I still have yet to view it as “good” or having some sort of “reason” is the day my mother passed away but I have accepted that I may never see that as such.

The day my mama passed, I made a comment to everyone that I didn’t want to live any longer in a world where she didn’t exist, that I would have given anything, including my own life, to have my mama back. My brother later pulled me aside, pointing out that this was an insensitive comment to be making in front of the man that I “supposedly” wanted to spend the rest of my life with, David. I understood his point at the time though now, I still feel as if I would give anything. I want to live but I would give anything, including my own life, to have my mama back. I suppose even though I understood his point, it didn’t mean that my feelings changed and now they’re even more affirmative since David is no longer a part of my life.

The holidays stir up so many mixed emotions within me. I used to look forward to this time of year and a small part of me still does but the larger part of me wants to sleep away the last couple months of the years. It’s just not the same anymore. Knowing my mama was thousands of miles away, carving a turkey in a suburb of Kansas City was enough. Knowing she was sitting around my grandma’s dining table, cracking jokes about country music and sharing her opinion on the state of America’s security was enough. Nowadays and the holidays that follow, I presume, will never feel like enough. How does one ever accept this? How does one avoid the simultaneous depression?

While I’m at it, I’d like to share one of my deepest fears – I vowed my life, my love, my holidays to one man at one point in my life four and a half years ago – Once that vow was broken, not only did I lose him, I also lost another family, his family. I fear becoming that close to someone again, sharing such sacred, personal space and relationships and having it all just taken away in the end.

I know I cannot live my life burdened by this fear but I can talk about it – the loss. Losing is painful, utterly painful. I’ve said before how losing someone to life is often more painful than losing someone to death because losing someone in life is a choice whereas death is out of our control.

Losing someone to life presents all sorts of feelings of “not good enough,” “not enough,” and “just not enough.” And no matter how rational one becomes or mentally secure, loss is painful. It’s mentally, emotionally and at times, physically painful.  Even the effort that goes into trying to convey the pain is painful, in and of itself, because words can never begin to express or describe this missing puzzle piece, this gaping, black hole in my heart, in my life.

I’m finding myself closer and closer to someone, experiencing overwhelming feelings of love and caring I have never experienced before, even with David, even during our marriage. These feelings scare me shitless and not turning around and running aimlessly in the other direction is a daily battle that takes place mostly in my mind. It’s very lonely up here. I cannot destroy something wonderful because that would, frankly, be too easy. I refuse to take the easy way out!

*Sigh* time will tell, I suppose but in the meantime, I appreciate you listening to my inner most workings. I know I’m not alone in this and for that, I am grateful. I’m also grateful for the kitty cat that’s curled up in my lap, keeping me warm and the amazing friends I am blessed to call my family. Happy Thanksgiving y’all and much love.

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Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.

My solo nights frequently consist of excessive activity of the mind, involving my mother’s untimely absence and the ceaseless longing to speak with her. I mull over the details of my days, politics, gender issues, race inequality, economics, you name it, there is something within every subject that I find the desire to chew over with my mama, to gain some of her poignant wisdom albeit good enough just to hear her voice.

The inability to do so more often than not leads to an overwhelming sensation of loneliness and this loneliness has a tendency to manifest itself into a physical and emotional need due to the manner in which I react. The needy feelings turn into anxiety and the anxiety into anger. Thus, a sad, sleepless night ensues – That, or a sweat-induced, nightmare plaguing eight hours. The anger stems from an inner battle where I chastise myself for having these “weak” moments to begin with.

Recently, I have been feeling guilty for not missing my dad more when something actually triggers those feelings within me and that is followed by the reality that I’ll never get to know him the way I could if he was still around. Growing up has come with some great understanding and maturity accompanied by a very open mind that becomes more open by the day. I am certain my dad and I could have had a better relationship if he were still around to know this me – this Lindsay – that is much more wise, slightly less angry and deeply empathetic.

In addition, I am having a difficult time accepting that no one is capable of unconditional love for another human being aside from their own offspring, the kind of love my mother showed me that has sorely lacked for the past three years of my life since her death. I don’t know if it’s naiveté but I guess I always assumed that everyone loved the way my mama loved. I suppose I assumed she loved my dad like that, too, even after their divorce. I still believe in unconditional love but I wonder if it’ll make more sense if I ever have my own children. Until then, I suppose I’m doomed for a life of disappointment where matters of the heart are concerned.

It’s actually painful. You wouldn’t think that harboring so much love for another human being would feel this immensely heartbreaking. But when one cannot express this love, cannot show this love, cannot give this love, it is incredibly agonizing. Because not only does it mean one is overflowing with surmountable, awesome love, one is not receiving that love in return.

There’s nowhere to aim or place these emotions so it just wades and waits inside of me, wishing, hoping, longing for the day it has direction, for the day it meets its match. You might think someone like me would just give up, stop trying but if there is anything that completely goes against my nature, it is giving up on loving. I have an innate need to love. The always mentioned idealistic part of me believes it is everyone’s inherent need but some are “good” at giving up, at placing such overwhelming feelings on the backburner.

I suppose you could say it is more important for me to love and love and love regardless of sincere reciprocation or lack thereof. And here’s the part where I give myself some big, fucking credit, which is rare (drumroll, please…) I believe that this ability to continue loving despite all of the disappointment and the anguish and pain inflicted by others and by loss, is a superhuman strength. In fact, I believe it to be my greatest strength and that which fuels so much of my self – the self that keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Can’t stop, won’t stop – loving.

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