What Is Love? Pt. 2

My boyfriend and I had the following conversation last night:

I’ve spent most of today thinking about what love means to me. I’ve come to believe love is circular in many ways. Think about it for a moment…

A wedding band is a never ending circle demonstrating the emotional bond between two people. Love is two hearts sharing a single beat. Does your heart skip a beat when you look at your significant other? Mine does. Perhaps it’s my heartbeat syncing with his as I fall in love.

Love can be symbolized in many ways. It is often seen in the form of a heart. When love, we’re supposed to love with all our heart, right? The symbolism of the heart equating to love began in the 15th century. It’s a great way to write love. Red roses also represent love.

For me, after much thought, love is more of a demonstration rather than the verbal or written word. My boyfriend shows me his love (maybe I shouldn’t use that word just yet in regards to him yet) by doing little things for me. He holds my hand when we walk through a store or at the movies. He holds me when I need to be held, without even saying a word. He came to see me this past weekend after the horrible week I had. I didn’t ask him to but he knew I needed to feel how much he genuinely cares for me.

He’s filled my gas tank on more than one occasion. That demonstrated so much of how he feels about me. Case in point – I drove nearly everywhere and my ex never once offered to pay for gas. Not even for the 45 minute one way drive to pick up his ex-stepdaughter. Sad.

Gifts from the heart are great for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas but they don’t truly symbolize what love is. Material goods are not a replacement for real love.

Actions speak louder than words. The same goes for love. Anyone can say the words. They’re just words. Do they have meaning? Yes. When said at the right time and in the right context, those three little words have a powerful impact on its recipient.

Love is a very strong emotion. It is possible to love unconditionally. I mean more than just your child.

Love is the ability to give all of yourself, every fiber of your being to another person. It is the internal swelling of your heart when you look at him. It is in the way you kiss – kissing him like you miss him, even when he was simply in the next room. It’s resting your head on his shoulder and holding his hand while watching television.

It is communication. It is finding the words to lift each other up, especially during arguments. It is being supportive during hard times. It is finding the time to just be imperfect together. Nobody is perfect.

Love is a learning process.

It is the process of two hearts becoming one.

Communication

Talk to me.

The problem is I can’t verbalize it. I cannot speak the words necessary to convey the overwhelming thoughts in my head. I’ve always been this way. Even as a child, I couldn’t feel anything to express myself. The words never came.

I still struggle with this but I’ve gotten better than I once was. I write. My written expressions are far better than what comes out of my mouth.

There is pain. There is a guarded wall around my heart. I can show and speak love, but I do not always feel it, no matter how it’s demonstrated. I felt love as it was spoken to me last year, after spending a few days in a mental hospital.

I had a nervous breakdown. It felt peaceful being there, despite the damage. I am broken. I am damaged. However, that doesn’t meant I’m beyond repair. I cling to that hope most days. The staff didn’t understand why I was there. I’m not an addict. I didn’t have a death wish. I had no plan of action for suicide.

I was just in a tremendous amount of mental anguish and emotional pain. I was overwhelmed by life. I knew suicide wasn’t the answer. Hence, no plan.

My need for self-preservation was greater than my need for self-harm. I kept repeating that as it was how I felt. I still feel that way. Please allow me to repeat myself…

My desire for self-preservation is greater than my need for self-harm.

I’ve been through counseling. I was studying to become a therapist myself. Those studies were abandoned when I realized I couldn’t help anyone until I fixed myself. Instead of fixing myself, I dove deeper into my self-created spiral. I created it by my actions. The detriment of myself. The degradation and devaluation of who I was. I had lost control of my life.

I feel as though I’ve failed. Failed in relationships, not just the romantic ones either. Failed as a woman. Failed in my general existence. It’s depressing and overwhelming.

Don’t worry. I have no intention of ending my life. No future plans of it, either. God will take me home when He’s good and ready. I have a lot of reasons to live. I have an amazing and supportive boyfriend who gets me and understands what I’m going through. I’m sure it scares him at times, especially being so far away. My two best friends are incredible too. They know how to make me laugh until I pee my pants. They also have been through hell with me. I know my parents love me. I love my niece, D, and there’s another girl in the way. How would my brother explain that the pain I was feeling destroyed my self-preservation? Without certain people in my life, I’m not sure how I would survive.

In the meantime, I will shed tears for no reason. Shutdown emotionally so I can sort the mess in my head. When I learn how to talk and find the words I need in order to express myself without destroying relationships, I will know how to convey what’s in my heart.

Imagine a cassette tape. Your cassette player has pulled out the magnetic strip to the very end. The end that was once glued to the wheel. Now it’s a jumbled mess that no pencil can wind back inside it’s original container.

Yep, that’s what’s inside my head.

Motherhood

One of my deepest heart’s desire is to be a mother.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:4

I’ve had two documented pregnancies. I lost the first at 10 weeks and was required to have a D&C. I was absolutely heartbroken. I fell into an abyss of depression. The doctor said I was young, there would be others, but I needed to let my body heal. The physical healing took about 8 weeks; the emotional healing took many years. I’m still not sure I’m over it.

After I was healed, I was ready to try again. My then husband refused to touch me for a year. That added to my depression. I later found out that he was terrified of becoming a father, despite his friends telling him that having children and becoming a father was the best thing that could ever happen to him.

I pushed to try again. To the point of attempting in-vitro fertilization. It was unsuccessful, as one can see. We didn’t have the means to try a second round. I could only sit back and watch my friends have babies.

We saw another doctor, who could not explain my lack of pregnancy or the infertility. I could explain it pretty well. Sex was so infrequent that there was zero chances of pregnancy. I kept a record. I can count on one hand how many times we had sex in the last year of our marriage. That’s painful to think about.

Shortly after we split, I was with someone new. It didn’t take long to figure out I was pregnant. I was scared to get attached to this pregnancy. A month afterwards, the day after Mother’s Day in 2015 to be more specific, I felt the tell-tale signs of a miscarriage. I walked into the back room, where my very pregnant (7 months) boss was working on some phone calls to clients. I was holding my stomach, trembling, as I told her I needed to go home.

“Why? You don’t look sick and I need you here,” she said.

“I’m pregnant and losing it,” was my reply.

She whipped around in the chair with a look of shock on her face.

“No way. You can’t be pregnant. What?!?”

I could feel the tears welling in my dark brown eyes. I choked them back.

“Yes, and I don’t want to do it here.”

She just stared at me, stunned. I decided I wasn’t going to wait for her permission. I punched out and left.

I went home to an empty apartment, grateful my roommate was gone. I sat on the toilet, feeling a very intense cramp. Laying on the toilet paper, was my baby. I was a few days shy of second trimester. I took a picture. I’m not posting it for personal reasons.

I laid in bed, wishing my roommate was home. I soaked my pillow, draining the pain of my heart from my eyes. When I woke up, I set off for the local urgent care. I wanted confirmation of my loss.

The doctor on duty confirmed I was about 12 weeks along. I left the clinic feeling empty and numb.

I haven’t been pregnant since. I keep telling myself that it’s okay, that life is good without being a mom. I love other children as if they are mine but in reality, it is different.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be a mom. I’m not getting any younger. I’ll never get to hear a heartbeat in my empty womb. I’ll never get to feel the baby’s first kick. I’ll never get to see the baby’s gender on a sonogram. I’ll never be able to choose between a VBAC or a cesarean, or an epidural or not. I won’t get to experience the pain of childbirth or the joy of holding my baby for the first time. I won’t get any of that.

Instead, I have resigned myself to sitting back and watching my friends have their babies.

I don’t think I’ll achieve my heart’s deepest desire.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The hardest part is waiting and accepting my life without the chance of motherhood.

Not knowing if I will ever receive the desire of my heart, only fuels the never-ending ache. The festering, open hole in my heart.