I was taught that Love was nothing without sacrifice. If it was “Love”, then something invaluable had to be offered up – and painfully so. It could be a forsaken dream or deeply rooted desire, a search for an answer to a worthwhile question or a hope for something other than what everybody else had…something better.
If you loved long enough, they said in so many words in “adults only” conversations, it would – at some point – tear something precious from your arms and heart, demand tears you’d rather save for laughter, change you into something you hoped you’d never be, and then leave you hanging out to dry like jerky. It TOOK something in our giving in to it.
And so I tore myself to pieces giving myself away as passionately as I knew how because ever since I was a little girl all I ever wanted to be was Love – not that I ever told anybody. I wanted to be in it, of it, around it, a walking embodiment of the thing that no one could call by name and yet, no one could do without.
I kept thinking, all things being equal (which they seldom are), I’d get a little from somebody else’s sacrifice to match what I’d given away – and that piece of them would make up for my missing parts. So what I got an extra leg when I had given my back? Who knew when I’d have to use that leg to replace the one I may soon have to trade on Love’s black market. Who knew when?
I traded Truth for Acceptance, relinquished Comfort for Honor, feigned Pleasure for a shadow of Intimacy. And all along I really thought I was doing it “right.” Because I was doing what I was taught to do, and for a while, nobody noticed I was fading away – compromise by compromise.
When I met him, I was shocked into Truth. Brazen. Bold. Untrained in the ways of social etiquette (or else unphased by it), he blazed into my sphere like some bright other worldly thing. I distrusted him immediately – he who walked straight up to me, looked at my mask and dared me to take it off – in public. And the funny thing was, he didn’t even know what he was really doing. And yet, he was doing it.
Imagine my alarm when loving him felt like writing or dancing to a handplayed drum. It was so easy, I almost called it something else. It was so natural, I kept trying to make more or less of it than what it was. It was so simple, I complicated it. I feigned indifference for years; scoffed at the idea that we could be anything more than bantering mates – two souls that Loved and pretended not to.
But Love has a way of making what was once hard soft, and what was once hidden, seen. And that is exactly what happened to us.
Imagine my surprise when I came to see that Love don’t require the severing off of pieces that make me who I am; rather, it inspires me to activate all my selves and all my human and heavenly parts, to master the movement of limbs heretofore unexercised and unappreciated.
Imagine the look on my face when I realized I’d be needing back all those pieces of me scattered among passing lovers and unripened rendezvous, back alley fixes when the going got tough. Imagine me wanting all my self TO my self so it’d all be there when we shared this easy, nameless natural thing I’ve come to call Love.
~Excerpt from Project in Progress