I have been thinking about love a lot. The love I have in my life, the love I feel for others, and the love I am terrified of. When it comes to my friends and family I love very openly, but I am not sure how much I did before. I mean I know I loved them, but it's pretty hard to love others when your self loathing is pretty all consuming. How much was I actually able to give? I think I took a lot more in reflection. I gave so much to people who did not deserve it to try to gain their love, affection, approval and more, but the people who genuinely loved me for who I was I think I sort of left out in the cold. I took it for granted. Love has always been scary and complicated to me. I think because from an early age I did not really feel loved, but not because it was so much my parents fault, but because I started sending that message to myself so young. My parents had a their ups and downs in their marriage but when my Dad died it so completely, totally and utterly devastated my mom I think I said to myself, nope not happening to me that is some scary ish. I already had a wall up, my Dad's death did not create this, but it did add another layer and it did give me another reason to keep it up. Love is scary, love hurts you, love can not be counted on.
I saw my brother last week, he coincedentally was walking by my office and he stopped in. We visited for a bit, laughed, and when he left I wished he had stayed. When I was leaving the office later I thought I really love him, it was good to see him. My relationship with my brother is complicated, like most siblings. We're similar in personality but approach life very differently. He learns things the hard way and I have learned to step the side and let him. We differ to in that he is in some ways more emotional and sensitive then me. He is more clear in his wants, and needs. For years he sought something from me I could not give. He wanted more of my patience, acceptance, and love. I was so incapable of giving it because I could not even afford myself the same kindness. Now I see the things that used to frustrate me with him don't. I can be kinder, more patient, and see so much good in him. I do not feel the need to keep myself at a distance to avoid letting him down, failing at the role of big sister. He looks to me for guidance and part of me liked the bossy part, but never really accepted the guidance part. Guidance takes patience, love, nurturing and care. I was not able to really do this until I learned how to guide myself a little better. We bicker less because I know when to step away, not engage and not get bogged down in old rivalries. I accept while I know him well I do not always know who he is as an adult but I am learning. I am glad it is working out in regards to B. He's a good brother, and he has always been there when I needed him. He has pulled his fair share of crap but at least he pulled it open and honestly, I pulled away and left him wondering why.
As for men and relationships....this still gives me so much pause. I have a lot of male friends, and close male relationships. I'd like to date someone or have a boyfriend. Why not right? Seems pretty cool, been a while. It scares the bejesus out of me if I am honest about it. To date someone who might actually be healthy, present, and expect the same of me is completely terrifying. I do not really know how to do that. I do not really know how to be a real girlfriend. I have had boyfriends before but there was always something. There was the long distance relationship with someone 10 years older then me, there was the guy who was more obsessed with what I looked like and being a sad sack then who I was, and then there was the guy who after 4 plus years said what he loved about me was how I made him feel. I had something to do with all of these and played my own part. I was never really completely invested. I hear often from girlfriends that part of my struggle in dating is I am not vulnerable enough. I can sort of understand this but I do not really understand what to do with it. I talked to someone about it and said maybe I do not really get what vulnerability is. They said it's being able to be hurt. Yes, this would be true. While I was capable of being hurt before I did not show it, and I certainly did not show it to a guy. I literally said to a boyfriend once I got over my Dad dying I will get over you. So cringe inducing. What a dysfunctional statement. I think I thought it made me sound tough, but it really just makes me sound obnoxious. I am capable of actually being hurt now, because I am capable of admitting it, and being myself and vulnerable to it. I also can actually stick up for myself or say to someone I am not okay with that, rather then making super hurtful bold statements. I still have a lot to learn and maybe should date myself for a little while longer, but I am not going to hide anymore in love or relationships. Love when it's healthy, and your open to being vulnerable is pretty cool. It's a lot more painful and scary when you can not even give it to yourself. I guess the order should be you, family, friends, fellas and then whatever else you have some love left over for.