What is love anyway? So many times I have asked not only myself, but a multitude of people, this question. What is it? What does it look like? How do you know when someone truly loves you? The idea of love alone nauseate’s me. It sends my head into a tornado of old memories, but to actually feel it and talk about it brings about a whole new sensation. A sensation that I don’t know how to explain. It’s one of confusion, doubt, comfort, anxiety, jitteryness, and so much more. Something so inexplicable its frustrating. On my birthday I was struggling with the idea of love. I wasn’t really sure that the people surrounding me were doing the things they were unconditionally or with underlying reward/punishment. I wasn’t really sure if the love that was being poured on to me was sincere or forced. I was struggling with the fact that my mom was nowhere to be found; that on MY special day she still refused to acknowledge me. During Bailey and my nightly routine, I casually asked her if she believes my mom loves me. Her answer was both intriguing and very thought-provoking. She turned the question back and asked what my mom viewed love as; how she perceived it. My mom was born to an early teen mom and her dad ran off before she was born. My Nana {grandma} remarried to my Papa. According to my mom, she and Papa had a great relationship, but from stories I’ve heard, I doubt it. When my mom was a young teenager she spun out of control and started doing drugs, her life was based around her boyfriends. She sought love through men, and still does. If you look at love from that standpoint, my mom loved me more than words could describe. God forbid it all be sane; it makes sense. If I stick myself in my mom’s shoes and look at love the way she does, for even a sliver of a second, I can see the love and pride she has towards me. I can feel the intensity of hope and desire that is so deeply rooted in her. And though I know that this type of love is so wrong, it all makes perfect sense. My mom sought love through men, she turned to them to make her feel better, therefore she showed me love through men. She let those men do the things they did to me not because she despised me and hated me, but because she wanted me to know that she loved me. Twisted, I know. But it all makes perfect sense to me. So, what is love? Does it have a set definition? Does one person love more than the other just because they love differently? Does my mom love me any less than my adoptive mom or Bailey? I believe love is an interpretation of met needs. A child who is raised in a family where his or her needs are met, and met unconditionally, is more likely to show the type of love that is portrayed in society as acceptable. However, a child who is raised in a family where needs are neglected and abuse ensues is more likely to show the type of love that my mom did–just not necessarily to the same extreme. Love to me, growing up,was shown through abuse. Though I had a rough childhood I never once doubted, like I do now, if my parents loved me. The attention they showed me through sex and violence equalled love. When there was abandonment and neglect, I craved the attention more than any drug imaginable. The attention I was getting, when my mom and dad were hurting me, was like a druggy’s cocaine. I wanted to know I was loved. Let me clarify, I did not like the sex. I didn’t like the beating. I didn’t like the ugly name calling. I liked the idea that finally I was being paid attention to; finally someone loved me. I went through withdrawals when I was removed from my moms care. Still to this day, I sometimes crave the feeling of a hand balled, hammering my side. Yes, even with the natural love I am given by Bailey, Zhanna, and all the other amazing people in my life. Sometimes the love they show me doesn’t meet the intensity of the love my mom once showed me and I start to question if it’s really love. It is. It’s just a different kind. It’s unconditional and free. It’s kind and gentle. It doesn’t allow violence or disrespect. It offers hope and enlightenment that I once didn’t know. It’s just as strong as the love my mom holds for me. It’s just as sincere as my mom’s love. But its a different love. So, again I ask, what is love? Was my mom wrong for loving me through men? Was she wrong for not knowing what soft love, unconditional, tender love is? Is Bailey wrong for loving me like family? What about Zhanna? Just because they love tenderly, does that make them better than my mom? Love is love…no matter how it’s portrayed, but Love is not always equal. Some love is damaging and some love is rewarding. The love that is damaging is something different, something much more complex. It is something that I have no name for, so I settle for the simplicity of rigidity, fear, condition and complexity–and regress to call it love anyway, for the lack of better wording. Love is love no matter what. Love is LOVE.

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4 thoughts on “Love is…Love

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