All my life I wanted to be in love.
It started when I was little: a dream, perhaps reinforced by Princess stories or novels about secret gardens. But I thought deep in my heart that one day someone would come to love me so deeply that I would remember to love myself.
That day never came.
I wondered; did love not exist? Were men conditioned not to believe in it, and women were? Was it simply a fairytale, a myth to get little girls to find men to procreate with, to marry? Was it all biology, was there nothing more to life than reproducing and dying, like any other species?
I refused to believe it. For so long. But I watched as distracted and uncaring eyes passed by me, by everyone. If love was ever alive, societally constructed or not, it was dead now. Or I was immune to the virus they called love, a sickness I longed to have, incapable of loving or being loved. I was a shadow, barely noticed: a fleeting image, too fast to process in anyone’s mind. Perhaps I was just ordinary. Maybe only extraordinary people were capable of love.
There is something wrong with me, I thought. I must be dead, I thought. My heart must be withered away and dark, for no one to love me.
But love was all around me. Love was in the way my best friend never gave up on me, not when I ruined the broken piece that connected us, not when I did the worst thing of all – an elaborate form of self harm for which I could use as an excuse to hate the whole world. In the words of my childhood companion, who told me that I was, and always had been, worthy of the world, that she had seen it from the start. In the unyielding view of those who were dead and gone, whose hopes and dreams lived in me, urging me on to complete what they could not. In my mother’s crinkled eyes and my father’s rare smile – I was so loved.
Was there something wrong with me, that I could not feel it? That their love filled a cup with holes, that could never reach the top? Was I meant for only that kind of love, not romantic?
Did it mean more?
I used to worry that if I were to die young, no one would come to my funeral. That my mother would cry at the small crowd.
I know now that I was right, in some ways. There would not be many. But I think the people who came would say good things about me. Would say that I had loved to the best of my ability, that all I had wanted in life was meaning, truth, love, and saviors. I made a million mistakes, as we l do. But my intentions were pure, and I did love, or I tried to.
I think my mother would be proud of that.
I think maybe I should start being proud of that.