Try Love By Love
by Diane Foster
Youíve been in bed for two weeks. Fast food containers on the floor, and, house is in a mess. The only thing that saves you from utter disaster is getting out to go to work. You may not have this outlet, youíre just in the house, brewing, hurting. If youíre fortunate to have a true friend, sheíll come to help you out of your misery-but the relief she brings to you is temporary. Your heart is crushed because the women whose been telling you sheís in love with you has just informed you she no longer has those feelings for you. Now itís you and you, you versus you.
Having your heart broken by the woman you love is awful, just awful. It leaves you feeling numb, or mad as hell, depending on how good she was to you. One leaves you feeling like you want to crawl in a hole and die, and the other like you want to take a stick of dynamite and stick it up herÖ, and staying there watching the explosion with a lot of pleasure in your eyes. But after the explosion, when all the body parts have settled into nothingness there is still you; reckoning with your heart, your lost, your time wasted, dreams shattered, hopes with this woman disappearing into the abyss.
After the rage and fury, the despair and depression we must re-awaken ourselves. Come back to the land of the living for surely losing someone we had hopes for is like death. Except she isnít dead, sheís very much alive, and not feeling in her heart what you feel in yours.
Oftentimes and more times than not when lesbians find themselves in this place it takes away a vital, almost life altering part of ourselves. Reasons for this type of heartbreak are varied. But when a sistha thinks all is well in the relationship and sees no obvious signs of her love, falling out of love with her, her heart and soul is what hurts. The question is, how do we get ourselves back when so much of ourselves, the substance of who we are has been crushed? And the passion we readily gave is gone? How do we recover that part of ourselves that has been stolen? The mutual honesty is gone, or we thought there was mutual honesty. We say to ourselves ďwhy couldnít she just tell me how she truly felt, I would have understood, or we could have worked things out!Ē To have your heart and mind ripped apart just when the thread (or so you thought) of love seemed to be shaping into the two of you. Hmph.
Women take emotions very seriously. The very core of who we are is based on our emotions. Thatís why trust, mutual trust, is vital in order to develop a strong and enduring relationship. We want to be trusted and we choose to believe in the trust our partner has imparted in us. When this type of mutuality is absent, bitterness can turn inward and we stop loving ourselves because love has left us. Some women are players, letís face it. An enduring relationship is not in their picture. This is okay, thatís fine. But please donít tell a woman you are in love with her if you arenít. Be kind. Some women are romantics. Terms of endearment are desired. When such hopes are present, that ďmaybe sheís the one,Ē our hearts become delicate, vulnerable. Hope taken away in such a manner is a form of death. Yet self-love is the love we should be leaning to. It is you loving you thatís so important. And when these things happen to you it is love of self that pulls you through.
If you are one of those women who believes in love (listen, a lot of lesbians donít) with hopes of one day finding her-regardless what other women may say, then trust and believe in yourself; knowing it will happen. In spite of what is said, lesbians are capable of enduring, and loving lives together. Itís an old stereotype that says we canít. Lies again. Not only are we capable of it but also we are living it. Most lesbians know of or have heard of an older lesbian couple being together to and through old age. If you are the one who believes this and indeed wants an enduring relationship, then loving and believing in yourself, being honest with yourself, is necessary to get through heartbreaks. When youíve recovered from the pain and are once again able to enjoy the fresh air you have freed yourself to love another. When we are true to ourselves we will draw truth to us. When we honestly love ourselves we will draw honest love to ourselves.
This is not to paint a picture that our hearts will never be broken again. Neither is this painting a picture that once true love is found it will always be there. No one really knows a person; it is our hopes of love, enduring love that we desire. Enduring love takes work.
Honesty with self and love of self is what get us out of anger, depression and hurt when it is afflicted on us from others. Women are not taught correctly about the issues of love. We are taught to tolerate character defects in others, and endure the mistreatment inflicted upon us. This is doubly true for African American women. We find ourselves tolerating and enduring affliction for the sake of love. Sometimes we say to ourselves, ďthis woman ainít treating me right, but she says sheís in love with me, maybe Iíll just endure this and maybe she will change, or begin loving me as I love her.Ē Not. What we have done is tolerated the relationship, fooling ourselves in the name of receiving love. Love is either there or it isnít. If ever you had to look at her in doubt or not deeply felt anything when she promised her love to you, then it probably wasnít there in the first place. Not seeing it in her eyes, not sensing it from her heart or feeling the magnetic pull (Iím not just talking sex here) when the two of you are intertwined emotionally, is the time for you to check yourself to make sure whether you want to move to the next level with her.
Buuutt, we choose to believe her. After all, she had these good qualities about herself. The two of you had several things in common and you ďcouldĒ see the two of you together in your future. But could you really? This is the point to become truly honest with yourself, to put yourself in check. Maybe more times than not you really didnít see the two of you, together, in future; that maybe you and her will not be together forever. You may have felt this coming on. Maybe you didnít have the power to break it off, maybe ďyourĒ love for her wouldnít allow you to let her go even though you knew it would be for the best. You are probably setting yourself up for disappointment. How many of us havenít done that; lived in a lying relationship rather loving ourselves enough to boldly move on.
It takes self-love to pull out of broken expectations. When you hoped and thought everything was in place to set a foundation you hear from the one you love that her love isnít mutual. It is essential that we love ourselves enough to know that we will pull out of despair such as this. No friend, job, pet, clubbing or drinking to point of bouncing off the walls will do that for us. We must reach within ourselves to grab a hold of the essence of who we are. Self-love generates power and empowerment. It gives us the strength to finally get out of bed and began to re-evaluate things.
How does a woman do this?
By realizing that we are worthy to receive what we want to receive. By knowing that we donít have to settle for conditions less than what we hope for. By understanding that our lives havenít ended, regardless of her deceit. That regardless of our age, regardless to how long or short you were together the type of love you are looking for will come to you. By shaking her off. By shaking ourselves off. By believing that love draws love just like negativity draws negativity. You add sugar to sugar and you get more sweetness. Be honest about your wishes and expectations of love. By taking your time and learning how to try love by love to see if you are the same spirit. By warming your heart to the possibilities of love. By learning how to bow out gracefully even if you donít really want to but know you must. By forgiving yourself. Maybe even forgiving her. Humph, you may have just responded. Listen, you must forgive her to rid yourself of the horrible feelings eating away at your being. Thatís harboring anger. Anger can eat all the joy out of a woman. Get yourself to the point of saying, ďI ainít mad at her.Ē Itís when we get to this point that we begin to feel assured the healing process is on its way to a strong recovery.
Sometimes we may even tell ourselves that we donít need love. Listen, If you are the type that needs love, then you need love. We all do at some point in our lives, regardless to how many times we tell ourselves the contrary. We settle for loneliness, dying on the inside because we truly want to give of ourselves. Letís face it-some of us are loving vessels. Weíre made of the stuff, want it and want to give it but give it honestly, truthfully, and mutually.
On the road to recovery some of us tell ourselves that we are going to play the field. We say forget about all that honesty, truth and mutuality stuff. Forget about romance you say, no one does that anymore, that stuff ainít real. Love loves no one, we say. This is a defense mechanism for our heart. We lock it up swearing never to put ourselves in another situation like that again. For those that believe in love, accepting this type of thinking can lead to self-isolation. Separating yourself from yourselvef will lead us to losing yourself. Another form of death. Losing yourselves in a lie to yourself, telling yourself you donít need or want a woman. We donít have to do this to ourselves if what we want is a lasting relationship and loving woman to be with and grow old with.
In order to find her, or have her find you; you will be putting your heart out there again. This time you should have grown some. Tell yourself not to settle for the sake of love. Thatís what happened in the last relationship. Remember the last relationship to keep yourself in check. Sometimes we have to do that. You may even come across a woman you ďreally couldĒ give your heart to because sheís such a wonderful person. Keep it real. If youíre not feeling what you want to feel donít let the relationship grow only for it to become delusional. Donít allow yourself to go someplace you really donít feel is right. You donít want to get caught up in the same cycle. Donít tell her you are in love with her because you really like her and she said it to you. If she says it and you really like her but arenít sure, give yourself time and try her love by your love. Girl, I know this can be tough. Women are sooo spellbinding. A nice touch, hug, dinner/movie date, conversation, and sex session can have you ready to walk down a make believe eternity lane.
But hold onto your senses. Keep it real for yourself. No matter how, or, whatever, this woman is to you or does for you, no matter what she says she will do for you-take your time until the both of you know itís real. Yes, both of you. If love is there the two of you will know it. If a woman has to think about whether sheís been, or is in love then sheís never been in love. When love comes, when Cupis shoots her bow, the both of you will know. Love between two is either there or it isnít. And it must be because it will take both of you to do the work of love. The only way this can happen is when love is mutually, honestly and faithfully shared. When there are no lies (no matter how honest the lie may have seemed in the beginning) attached to those three words, ďI love youĒ, then a heartfelt, honest and enduring relationship has promise. After the dating and getting to know you period is over, life sets in and must be reckoned with. True, deep sincere love must be present when each of you began doing things the other doesnít care for. When your beautiful rose pricks you with one of her thorns, when the dirty dishes pile up and the clothes are dirty, when the bathroom is in a mess and the linen needs changing. When itís time to pay bills and there isnít enough money to go around, when you have to eat lunch meat rather than crab legs and movies are out of the question for the rest of the month; true, sincere love must be there to work through such issues. There must be a deep, sincere desire from both you and your partner to do the work of love. Yes, as stated it can be work but heck, which one of us is perfect? The question is: is the love there between the two of you, to make the commitment?
Itís a wonderful thing to love but we must have a desire for commitment within ourselves to want this type of relationship, and so must our new love.
When you choose to date again remember your last heartbreak, keep yourself in-check.
We should love ourselves enough to know that what our heart desires will happen. We should trust ourselves to know that we will find our desire. We should believe that love will find love if weíre truly ready for love; real love. Be honest with yourself so you will become empowered and not settle for less than what really turns you on. We should trust ourselves to our gut and heartís instinct. We have strong instincts. Usually they are true but too many times we are unable to trust ourselves enough to move on them. If your instincts point to doubt it may help to remember what youíve been through and how important taking time is. Try love by love to see whether you are of one accord.