Last fall, I was in a relationship briefly, and the guy walked away after a few months. And it hurt. It hurt again (as it always does), because I cared a lot, and it was hard to realize he cared so little.
It was a blessing in disguise. The relationship was not headed in the best direction… And I’ve struggled with unhealthy relationships in the past. Men who didn’t cherish me or care that much at all. It’s a cycle I’ve repeated all so often in my past, but luckily this time I noticed it and was much more willing to let go and trust the process.
Still, it was a wake up call for me. I went back to counseling, and I’ve been sorting through some things since then.
The week after we broke up, I wrote this poem.
To See Me
I want someone to see me
No, not the outward me
Not the one the whole world sees
Not the me with an image and reputation
Not the me with a career and acclamation
I want someone to see me
Really see me
connecting through the inner heart
reveling in the hidden part
all my goodness and my imperfections
glittering through my shining soul
what has been cracked through the wounds of life
renewed in the deep wellspring of love’s gaze
I want someone to see me
and not run away
After that break up, I began to again wonder if love truly does exist, or if love is just a fantasy. For a brief time, I teetered on the edge of cynicism and bitterness (which has been my default setting for quite some time).
But I refused to cave into the hopelessness. I fought that urge like my life depended on it–because in many ways, it does.
One morning about a week or two after the break-up, I was praying and crying and pouring my heart out to God. And God reminded me how deeply I am loved, I am cherished. And that Love is the only answer. That a heart open and warm and alive is the only answer in this hard, cold world.
Even if that last boy didn’t love me, it doesn’t mean love isn’t out there.
I believe in love. And I refuse to cave into cynicism now, even when love still seems so far off.
I believe someone will see me someday, and that someone will want everything I have to offer.
Because true love is seeing someone’s soul and truly admiring them enough to invest in a life together.
True love is seeing a human being as irreplaceable, unique, special, and wanting to bear witness to that human being the rest of their lives.
True love sees someone with all their flaws and brokenness and wants to help them heal and become more whole and bright and alive.
True love walks alongside someone and supports them in their passions and pursuits.
That’s what love is. It isn’t superficial. It isn’t selfish. It’s true and deep and loyal and committed.
And you know why I know this? Because I have loved in this way, and I can see this love in my own heart. Yes, I’m flawed. Yes, I struggle. But love pours forth from me now, and I believe it can pour forth into another’s heart, too.
For anyone who knows my journey over the past few years, you should know that this truly is a miracle. That I believe in love again. After so much darkness, I believe in love.
I will find someone who loves in the same way OR I will be single the rest of my life.
Because let me be clear about something:
I. Don’t. Need. A. Man.
I have love from so many people who dearly support me, pray for me, and uplift me. I have so many amazing friends who are truly fighting for my healing and who listen and care and want what’s best for me. I have friends and family that love me. And on top of all of that, God has this overwhelming love for me that is quite startling. It still takes my breath away sometimes.
No, I don’t need a man.
No one should need someone else to fulfill them. I’ve tried to do that and I know it’s useless. I’ve tried to put my identity in men, and I know where it leads. It leads to emptiness and depression and darkness. I’ve tried to quench my fire-filled heart just to be more placable for the tastes of selfish, cold-hearted people, and I’m done with it.
I will be my passionate, untamed, poetic self and I don’t care if men look at it and don’t know what to do with me.
I don’t need a man.
BUT what I AM saying is that I will wait for romantic love. If love is to be mine, it will be beautiful and honest and true, and if I never find it on this planet, I don’t care.
Because I know what love is, and I won’t settle for anything less.
I know what love is, and it courses through my veins.
I know what love is, and I would rather die alone than let someone sap and slow me down when I could be running, running, running along in the freedom and joy that is LOVE.
So until you see me–really see me–then don’t mess around with me. Sorry. It’s not what I’m looking for. I’m not looking for a game or a snack or a one-night-stand.
I’m looking for an ocean that is deep and adventurous and holy and wild and wonderful.
Because love should reflect God, and God’s love is like an ocean. And because I’ve swam in those waters, I won’t settle for the shallows any longer. I won’t let others quell and contain and misuse and abuse.
Do you understand? This is my declaration.
I’m not looking for love (I’ve already found it).
The love is inside me.
(And if someone who also has the love inside them finds me, then we will hold hands, face the world, and EMBRACE all the wonders together.)
Photo by Adobe Stock/Pellinni