Pretty Little Challenge - My Love Story: Part 1
I always had a fascination with love. Ever since I can remember, I loved love. Or should I say I loved the idea of love. I would look at couples and imagine what their love and lives were like as I daydreamed about what my love would look like. Self-love wasn’t a concept back then or one that I was aware of. For me, romantic love was the foundation for everything I did and was going to do. I didn’t realize my foundation was faulty at best; I lead with my heart and my head took a back seat.

My first exposure to love was from my parents, especially my dad. I can remember always being with him and wanting to make him happy. He had good intentions, but they were filled with his idea of what was best for me. I think that is most parents. And I agreed. I was young and he put the focus on my education and sports. I loved both, and I can remember always feeling a warm sense of comfort when he smiled. He wasn’t always the most comforting with words, but he lived his life for us. I didn’t know that at the time, but I felt him wanting me to be my best and believing that I could achieve whatever I wanted. I wish I knew that more as I got older, but hindsight was 20/20.

He provided for us and so did my mom. They worked hard at jobs they both loved. But it took a toll on them. I can’t imagine all the roles they had to play. Parents had no baggage. That’s what I thought. It’s crazy to look back and see that they were carrying around their own pain. They didn’t want us to feel it. They wanted us to be free of it. So, they worked and worked to give us a life that they didn’t always have, especially my dad. I didn’t know anything else, but I did see and hear my friends tell me how lucky I was. I felt that, but I also didn’t know that people didn’t have those things. We weren’t rich, but we never needed anything. That was my parents’ love language, gifts. I think it was supposed to help us, but I think it hindered us to a degree.

I remember my first real relationship. It was in high school. He was a nice guy. I didn’t think I deserved him. I don’t know why. But I never felt like I was good enough. He made me feel like I was and more, but I waited for him to leave all of the time. I think they call this abandonment issues. I wasn’t abandoned emotionally throughout my young life, but I was emotionally. So, I was scared to open up emotionally.

I fought and fought and pushed and pushed and he never left. I never realized why I did this. In my heart and head, I felt love and that he would be my husband one day, but I couldn’t get passed the fact that he was going to leave me. The only answer was to leave. First, emotionally, and then physically. To be honest, it felt good in the moment. The new feeling was always worth it until it wasn’t. I wanted both the commitment and the attention; my cake and eat it too. But at the time, I just wanted to feel okay. This was an inside job that I brought straight to my outer world and plopped it on him.

This continued for quite some time, but it began to get worse. He was a great guy, but the others weren’t, well at least to me. Not all of them, but the ones I picked to stick around. Typical story of wanting to help change someone; that was my sweet spot. That is where I felt toxic comfort followed by depression and desperation. It was a chaotic cycle that made me tired of being tired. But I didn’t want to get off of the rollercoaster completely.

Why was I doing this? All I ever dreamed about was real love. I wasn’t going to find it the way I was going. I didn’t know how I was going to change this, and I, frankly, didn’t want to take the time to do it. Loneliness was not an option at the time. I craved love or maybe attention and my addiction was only going to get worse. But in my eyes, someone was going to save me. Little did I know it was going to be me. To be continued…
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