“I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”–Alfred Lord Tennyson
I often wonder if it is better to have loved and lost or to never have loved at all. It seems I ask myself this question more than any other question at this time in my life. It trumps the questions such as: why did my mom leave me, why did she choose drugs and them over me, why is she angry enough to kill me, where do I want to take my life, what do I want to become professionally, do I want to be a mom or even get married, etc. The question, whether it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, is continually wandering around in my thoughts. I never KNEW what love was until a year or so ago. I mean unconditional love. Growing up I knew what conditional love was, if you could even call it that. Throughout foster care I knew what conditional love was. After I was adopted I knew what conditional love was. With each new level of my life it grew, of course, or so it seemed… but it was still conditional–you know, love with limit. It was NOT love that respected or cherished, it was not love that accepted and encouraged… instead it was love that judged and accused. A love so hateful, so rage-full, to anything outside of its box. About a year or so ago a friend of mine decided to take time from her busy life and teach me what true love, unconditional love, is. Unconditional Love is scary, but it is also wonderful. You know, once you have found it you want it but you don’t. Maybe not? Living my entire life in a world of conditional love was draining, but it was comfortable… and that my friends is what makes unconditional love so darn scary. Because though I don’t like the dysfunction the life I previously owned provided, it was comfortable; and how often is it that a person feels safe outside of that comfort zone? Not very often, at all! I worry every day that everything I have learned and/or gained will be taken out from under me, ripped and gone forever. I worry that somehow the love I have been shown will soon be gone and I will have nothing but the unconditional world around me. Can love be forgotten? This makes me hesitant of love. It makes me resent love. It makes me not want love. And, honestly, some day’s unconditional love gives me an overwhelming want to go back to my old life, to all the people who never showed me what love is, and to live comfortably there for the rest of my life. So, what do you think? Is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?