Why, I wonder, do we so desperately crave having and being had? Owning and being possessed? We do. We seek mates, we find partners, and we give ourselves over to them. We let love consume us. Look to the romantic exchanges of literature throughout history. You are mine, and I am yours. Could there be any dialogue more idyllic? Not in the sense of our conditioned, hopelessly romantic minds.
Let me be clear, I by no means intend to imply that such a profession is not romantic. It is. But what’s romantic can be a slippery slope. Because is romance always the foundation of what one would consider a “true love”? Does it promise to keep, to persist through darkness and light? Or does it lack the structure, the foundation, the steadiness required by a true love? Is it whimsical, but not fortified enough to provide a skeleton for something as timeless as true love?
I think such a phrase as “true love” is nowadays clichéd and utterly lost in translation for most. Swept up in fairytales and the idealized notion of a prince charming or perfect partner. The bitterly exquisite truth endures; we are not perfect. We are human. We mustn’t expect any one person to carry our happiness, to own or be owned by us, to ever take a vow so wispy and utopian that suffering and jealousy, by nature, linger in the space between breaths.
Well what is true love, then? My personal perception of true love is rather esoteric.
There was a time in my life when I gave myself over to my partner, mind, body and soul. There was a time in my life when I believed that two halves made a whole, and that I was completed by my mate. I believed, to my core, that existing any other way would leave our union open to assault; the threat of another, of change, growth, infidelity, what-have-you. We claimed to trust each other fully, but how could we if we suffocated the very essence of a trustworthy relationship? Claiming ownership over one’s partner is, in my opinion, the epitome of distrust.
I remember going into cold sweats at the very thought of there being another girl out there in the world who my boyfriend might like to be with. It was enough to threaten my consciousness even imagining someone in the world suiting him better than I. There was a time when each breath and each thud of my heart clung to the sweet vibration of knowing I was his. That I belonged to him.
Therein lies my whole problem with this concept of true love.
True love is not the surrender of one’s own authority over oneself. True love, by natural law, cannot be co-dependent. It is not the consumption of another for fear of loss, loneliness or heartbreak. It is not concession of oneself for fear of loss, loneliness or heartbreak. Knowing that of course there are the people out there who could make you happy, who could compliment you in their own respective way…but still choosing your one. Choosing your one out of free will, rather than obligation.
True love is standing beside another by choice. True love is coming together with another human being, whole and complete, a compliment to their own wholeness and compassion. True love is not when two halves make a whole, but rather when two wholes make a figure eight. Less romantic sounding, right? But strong. Sturdy. Steady.
A figure eight meets in the middle. Two wholes, two separate entities, with a powerful center point. An axis of unbreakable unity. This shape also happens to symbolize infinity. Two individual life forms, meeting at will; creating a shape signifying boundlessness because they so choose…not because they are too weak to stand separately and trust the love they have built. That’s what I feel co-dependant love is, having come from it myself. The fear that, if you let your partner be free, they will not choose you. The fear that, if you release your lover to the powers of their own intuition without your manipulation, they will not stay with you forever. But what is better, a suffocated, dysfunctional love that lasts forever, laced in strife and distrust – or a union of two wholes, a matrimony of two light warriors, standing never in one another’s shadow but always in their luminescence. A merging that creates ripples in the cosmic consciousness, that fans the flames of romance, that laughs at fear and floats above the ground. An alliance; a coupling that is anchored by heaven, too powerful to be held by earth.
I don’t believe we should ever belong to one another, in the romantic sense. I think acting as such, at least in my own experience, is strictly dangerous. The truth is that we belong to ourselves. We belong to the Goddess. We belong to the Universe. We belong to the stars, the cosmos, the precious mystical realm in which we were created.
I understand why so many of us seek out, and then remain in, unions of ownership. Co-dependant romances. I understand, because I myself lived it. Leaving it was one of the single hardest endeavors of my life. It’s foreign and confusing to leave a relationship where there’s still love, where there are memories, where so much is shared…just because it isn’t healthy. It’s so easy to overlook the dysfunction for the sake of the beauty. We are earth angels, we seek the beauty in our fellow beings, we always see the light in one another. Bless our hearts for it. But this very blessing can also be a curse. It can keep us from seeing the truth. It can keep us from best serving both ourselves and the one we love. It can keep us aboard a sinking ship. Hell bent to go down with the vessel.
But we deserve more. To walk away, and get through the heaving breathlessness…to stand in the shadow of our own suffering and feel the fibers of our solidity slowly shred…to feel the agonizing shards of broken heart in our tissues, wincing with every inhale…is to become whole. It is to become to strong. It is, I dare say, a rebirth.
We are so powerful. We have everything you need. We deserve love, light, happiness and freedom. We deserve the kind of life we dream of; we deserve LOVE. We deserve to belong to ourselves, and ourselves alone. We deserve to find the courage inside ourselves to cultivate this liberation. We deserve to recognize that the very freedom we so intensely crave is more powerful than the need to be someone else’s, the need for someone to be “ours.” Because only when we belong deeply to ourselves, only then, can we truly hold space for the love of another. Only when we recollect the unconditional love and support we have for ourselves, fully alone, can we then really love another with trust, compassion and space to breathe. Only then can we stand beside a lifelong love. And that is what I wish for you, to belong to yourself…and to stand in love, without fear, giving yourself over to the one who will always be there. You.