I've realized something in the past couple of weeks. Most people are afraid of love. I've met a lot of people who are afraid of being loved. I guess in some ways, I'm afraid of being loved, too. People fear what they don't understand...I think it's hard for anyone, knowing his or her flaws, to understand how someone could see beyond those imperfections. We have this silly idea that we need to be perfect in order to be loved, when anyone who's ever loved another person knows that love doesn't hold such ridiculous standards. It doesn't make sense. It's not supposed to.
More than people are afraid of being loved, they're afraid of loving. To love someone is to open yourself up to the possibility of getting your heart ripped out...stomped on...shredded...shattered. I hit a point back in high school when I wanted to give up on loving people. My heart had been beaten down too many times. A wise friend told me then, "you can't be so afraid of the pain that you miss out on the sweetness...don't be so afraid of dying that you never learn to live." That wisdom bored into my brain and refused to leave. Since then, I haven't been afraid to love. I don't like pain any more than anyone else, but I don't let that stop me. When I love someone, not just romantically, but anyone...my heart is there 110%. If you have ever been my friend, you are my friend until the day I die. I don't care if I haven't seen you since elementary school. I'll still stand behind you.
There has been one, and only one, exception to that rule...and that particular individual, it could be argued, was never really a friend. Still, that person will always, always own a piece of my heart...and honestly, even if I could have it back, I don't think I'd want it. I learned a lot from that experience.
Loving people can suck sometimes. It can hurt like hell. It can be lonely. I love without restraint; I never expect to see that sort of reckless abandon in return, because I realize that most people simply don't believe they have that sort of capacity. It can be absolutely unbearable. I know that I am intense; that intensity intimidates people, so I'm rarely completely open about just how much I care about anyone.
I'm not brave. Tenacious, yes, but not brave. I just know that love, as frustrating and maddening and painful as it can be, is absolutely worth it.
I am a walking paradox. I'm a strong, stubborn, snarky, independent bitch, and not the sort of person whose bad side you ever want to come up against. I'm also bipolar, often insecure, painfully shy, and one of the most loyal and loving people you will ever meet. I am both of these seemingly antithetical personas, straight to the core of who I am. I'm a hardcore Christian with an open mind and an open heart. I have a strong, secure sense of justice and morality, but I still offend a lot of people with whom I supposedly share a religion. I see no moral problem with homosexuality, and it drives me nuts that so many so-called followers of Christ can't seem to understand that Jesus criticized the greedy, hypocritical religious leaders, not the people those leaders thought to be morally inferior. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that we want to reduce people to labels and fit ourselves into boxes. If we were created in the image of the God who doesn't fit in a box, then why the hell do we fight so desperately to keep ourselves caged? Pick any box you think you can put me in. I'm not going to fit.
As I wrote several months ago:
What if the box is actually a lot less square than we try to make it?
Maybe the box is really more of an amoeba
there are boundaries, but they're flexible. The boundaries hold in the essentials
in that way, the amoeba is constant. But the boundaries also allow nonessentials to come and go, making the amoeba dynamic, constantly changing.
Fuck the box. Be an amoeba.