I don’t know how to love a little. I love hard, with all that I am.
Yeah, that’s not a good thing, folks. At least, it hasn’t been. I’ve had a real bad habit of throwing myself into another person wholeheartedly. It’s always been another person who very much did not throw themselves into me wholeheartedly and certainly not in any pure, unconditional way.
My love is always unconditional. That’s not healthy, honestly. Not everyone deserves my unconditional love. And a lot of people don’t deserve any of my love at all.
And yet, I keep giving it. I don’t know how not to give it. I don’t know if I know how to be something other than a person who gives love willy nilly. I approach all things with love, all people with love. But that really leaves me open to people who will use it against me, use it to manipulate and control me.
I’ve learned how to stop having an emotional reaction to certain things. That’s probably not the most healthy thing, either, but if I can just shut the emotions down, I don’t have to feel the hurt that someone is trying to inflict on me. Once I become aware (I’m slow sometimes) that someone is being toxic to me in some way, I can shut down their ability to hurt me without acting very different from how I always act. I can carry on as if I don’t have the knowledge that this person is a toxic piece of shit. They can think what they want and play their little manipulative games and I can not be bothered by it.
What I need to learn to do is speak the fuck up. I don’t know how to speak the fuck up at some people. With some, I manage just fine. I had no problem telling Meat Man that he wasn’t my friend anymore because he’s a manipulative piece of shit. Friends don’t treat friends how he treated me. But another friend… well. It’s feeling not as easy as all that. I mean, this friend is also a co-worker. And not really being a friend in any of the ways that matter. Also not an ally in many important ways. The kind of person who says they aren’t a racist because they have black friends or they aren’t a sexist because they have a girlfriend or they aren’t a bigot because they have a female trans friend (that they derisively refer to as “he” and “him” when drunk).
Why is it that I am able to gloss over so many rotten attributes in some people? How is it that I can justify shit for people who don’t deserve it?
Because I’ve been abused by so many people throughout my life, yeah, it goes back to that other entry, doesn’t it? Because I was raised to believe that abuse and love go hand in hand. I’m able to overlook abuse in exchange for what sometimes seems like love but isn’t really. Because someone who would abuse me does not love me. Or, if they do, (because I do believe that even some monsters are capable of a sort of love), they love themselves far more than they love me. I am little more than a means to an end.
No more. I don’t think I can do this anymore. It’s not sustainable for me. It’s never been sustainable for me and, goddammit, I’m done giving up bits of my life, sacrificing parts of myself, for the comfort of others.
Because, finally, for what certainly feels like the first time, I am loved. Undoubtedly, unabashedly, wholeheartedly loved. Now, as I walk through my every day, whenever a negative feeling or situation hits, I think to myself, “He loves me.” And I can’t contain my smile, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I feel myself light up with that simple thought.
And there are many people in my life who actually do love me, who don’t try to use or manipulate me in any way, people who deserve my time and energy and thoughts.
Now to figure out how to navigate what feels like a sticky situation. It’ll be okay. I have a helpful guide now who loves me and only cares about my best interests.