Love is Unconditional, Relationships Are Not.

Life is a funny thing sometimes. It always has a way to bring us back around to a lesson that we learned before and may have, somehow, still forgotten. When I was little, I heard somewhere (either from my parents or read in a book)  that you’re better off to learn lessons from other people because you don’t live long enough to make them all yourself. I took that to heart, but there are still lessons that I have to learn for myself, the hard way.

I’ll be turning twenty five soon. An “official” quarter lifer at that point. I think it is a testament to the stresses of my generation that I had never heard that term used before we came into adult-hood. Some of us have been forced to grow up fast, due to circumstances beyond our control. It’s a testament to the lessons we’ve learned the hard way and the stress that we are under to be adults who are respected instead of looked down upon as “entitled”. It’s a testament to knowing how many of my peers are on anti-depressants and in therapy (neither of which they can afford, so it just gets stacked upon the thousands of dollars of student debt they have). It’s bad when there’s now a name for it because we are having “quarter-life” crises instead of mid-life.

One lesson that has been the hardest learned for me, and that has recently come back to remind me just how I learned it, is that while love is unconditional, relationships are not. This requires a little bit of back story, so bear with me.

My last relationship (as you’ve heard me mention over the last couple personal posts) was very abusive. He was a compulsive liar and very good at gaslighting. I was young and naive, and he wasn’t (naive, that is, he’s younger than I am). He knew exactly how to manipulate me to get what he wanted. This lasted for three years. Three years. The result was that during this, my already low self esteem dropped lower, I became even more withdrawn and anti-social, and I was more lost than ever. I was a teen. My parents were going through a rough time. It was, I thought, the love of my life.

I had only had one other guy before this ever tell me that I was beautiful and that he was in love with me, but that relationship wasn’t meant to be. We never even dated. So, when this guy came along, I took a chance. In some ways, I regret it deeply. I lost a lot of friends and missed out on a lot of experiences (including enjoying experiences like prom and graduation) because of this guy. At first it was great, but then every thing changed and I found myself in a situation that I knew in the back of my mind, was not safe and was not healthy. However, like a lot of people who find themselves in abusive relationships, I loved him hopelessly. As much as any 15-18 year old can know love. I was convinced that I could change myself to be that person he loved again. I was convinced I could change him to not be so quick to anger.

I convinced myself of a lot of things that still make me cringe and turn red with embarrassment. Please believe me that hind sight is 20/20, a lesson taught to me by one of my favorite history teachers. It was his response as to why people see things more clearly or differently after the fact than in the heat of the moment. Somewhere, another quote came to me when I needed it the most. It took a lot of time for it to sink in, and a lot of courage for me to finally cut him out of my life. I had tried before, just to go to being friends with him. This was a false hope. The only way to break that cycle is complete cut-off. The reason I can’t remember where this quote comes from is that I have literally dozens of notebooks, scraps of paper, journals, and files on my computer filled with quotes gathered over the past ten years of my life.

That quote was this: Love is unconditional, relationships are not. It rattled around in my head for a long time as I wrestled with exactly what it meant to me. And what I took from it was this: Yes, love is in fact unconditional. We don’t get to decide when it happens, where it comes from, who it applies to, nor how deeply it runs. It is something that exists beyond us, on another plane. Relationships are not unconditional. Ask anyone who’s ever been in one that has ended, from lovers to friends. They will all give you a reason. And most of the time will tell you that they are still in love or still love that person. Sometimes there are just parts of a relationship that we cannot handle. While this does not mean that we no longer love the person, it just means that we now realize it is not healthy for us to be a part of their life anymore.

From dirty socks and differences in politics, to lying and unfaithfulness, there are many conditions that define what you expect in a relationship. We all think that a failed relationship equals no longer loving that person but that is not the case. I think that line of thinking is what makes relationships, especially long ones, hard to walk away from. But it’s not love that has failed. There are some things that even love cannot change or conquer. You can love someone and realize that you can no longer live with them. You have to choose to let them go and love them from afar. And it hurts. Damn does it hurt. Usually. It hurt me to realize this, but the more he hurt me, the easier it made it. That breaking point is in different places for different people. I was lucky to realize mine before I fully committed my life to his.

Now, it has been nearly 7 years since we split. I do not talk to him, I have only seen him once (in a failed attempt to get my things back). I do not friend or follow him on facebook or any social media. His number is blocked from my phone and, to be honest, I no longer remember it though I once knew it like I knew my name. Now, I am seeing a pattern of a toxic relationship develop with someone close to me who I thought new this lesson. Unfortunately, they’ve been blinded to it by the beauty of the “honeymoon phase”. It frightens and angers me for this person because they’ve been through this before and deserve so much better. But that only served to remind me of another lesson. One that is just as hard for me to accept and follow.

I’m a nurturer. The Mother Goose. I want what’s best for the people I love and it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes I have to step back and let them make their own decisions and deal with the consequences that follow. My boyfriend actually reminded me of this one, which was slightly humbling because I’m the one who taught it to him. There comes a time when you are really going to hate a decision someone close to you makes. You’re going to think that you know that this decision is only going to get them hurt. But it is not our place to make decisions for others, it it only our job to love them. Sometimes you get presented with the ultimatum of accepting their decision and loving them, or losing them from your life. I learned a long time ago you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be, or think that they need to be, saved. You’ve got to let people go their own way and just be there for them.

Simply another reminder that love is unconditional but relationships are not. Relationships are full of not only conditions but compromise. You have to decide, in every relationship, what compromises you are willing to make and what conditions are hard lines. This is always complicated by love. It’s pretty good at blurring those lines. There is always going to be someone that comes along that you love so much you turn into a pirate, going, “Rules? I thought those were more guidelines…”. There’s always going to be an exception to your rules for some people. Trust me, I’ve met one that just broke every rule I’ve ever had about a person and I fell in love with him anyways. I was willing to throw everything away for him, and he knew it. I am lucky enough that he loved me enough to not let me do that.

So,thanks for hanging in there with me and letting me ramble on. I’m not really sure where I hoped this would go when I started, but I’m ok with how it turned out. And, dear readers, with all your loved ones, just remember that love comes in many shapes and forms, and just because you might not have a great relationship with someone doesn’t mean you can’t love them.


“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”

“Your heart is surrounded by cobwebs and dust, it hasn’t seen the light of love in years. your skin is painted with blue and green circles, and red lines going in all directions. this is the aftermath of strangers,  of friends, of family, who are tyring to claw their way into your cobwebbed heart. they tried knocking first but you slammed the door in their faces, as if they were a door-to-door salesman. it’s time. time to let them in, time to clear away the cobwebs and the dust. time to let the light in.” – a.y.

“you can always find something beautiful in something destructive and now I finally understand why I’ve always been so fond of you.”

” ‘The trick, kiddo,’ his mom replies slowly, ‘is finding someone who complements you instead of completes you. You need to be complete on your own.’ ”

“Darlin, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.” – Big Mama The Fox & The Hound

” ‘You,’ he said, ‘are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.’ ” – Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

“I would have loved you with everything I have. But you didn’t want to be loved, turns out you just wanted to be fucked.”

“People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.” Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing

“You can never really know someone completely. That’s why it’s the most terrifying thing in the world, really—taking someone on faith, hoping they’ll take you on faith too. It’s such a precarious balance, It’s a wonder we do it at all. And yet..” – Libba Bray

“I love you for who you are, not who the world thinks you should be.” – Libba Bray  Beauty Queens

“He admired my melancholy madness and said that it was graceful and beautiful. But it was neither of those things. I was a hurricane at the centre of a collapsing, burning, building; and I wasn’t someone to be admired at all.

“If there’s a thing I’ve learned in my life it’s to not be afraid of the responsibility that comes with caring for other people. What we do for love: those things endure. Even if the people you do them for don’t.”“I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that’s true of beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now. I fell in love with him. But I don’t stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” – Allegiant

“I know that I am birdlike, made narrow and small as if for taking flight, built straight-waisted and fragile. But when he touches me like he can’t bear to take his hand away, I don’t wish I was any different.” – Insurgent

“The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves just by standing up.”

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Pinterest, You Devil.

I’ll admit it. I have a problem. I am an avid Pinterest user. It started as a curiosity. I just signed up to be invited and figured I would browse around it for a few days and be done with it. Yeah…about that… As Admiral Ackbar would say, “It’s a trap.”

No, really. I’ve had my Pinterest for a while now, (definitely over a year) and let me just give you some stats. I have 31 boards, 4,919 pins, 3,604 likes, and 430 followers. Feel free to feed your Pinterest addiction by visiting mine at http://www.pinterest.com/alwayswolf.

Pinterest sucked me in because I love so many different things and it has all of them. Housewives doing DIYs that I wish I had time for, women dressed with fashion sense, make up, and hair I could only dream of, recipes I’d love to make, cars I’d love to drive, and jokes that make me laugh so hard I almost pee myself.

It has all sorts of ooohhs and aaahhhhsss to drag you in. But what really keeps you here? One of the things that keeps me here is my love of all things literary. There are some of the best quotes and poems I have ever found on Pinterest. I’m going to share some of them with you (hopefully some that I haven’t shared before) but tell me, what’s your favorite thing about Pinterest?

“If I showed you my teardrops, Would you collect them like rain, Store them in jars, That are labelled with ‘Pain’, Would you follow their tracks, From my eyes down my cheeks, As they write all the stories, I’m too scared to speak, Would you stop them with kisses, Bring their flow to a halt, As you teach me that pain, Isn’t always my fault, Would you hold my face gently, As you dry both my eyes, And whisper the words, ‘You’re too precious to cry’, If I showed you my teardrops, Would you show me your own, And learn though we’re lonely, We’re never alone.” – e.h.

“Don’t cry because he told you, That his love has slipped away, Because I once knew a boy, Who watched the sun rise every day, One morning I sat with him, Wrapped entirely in my awe, But he said he’d view so many, Six a.m. was all he saw, And you’re a brilliant sunrise, With your darkness-breaking light, But I know that he’s forgotten, Life without you is just night, He cannot see your beauty, Since he’s taken it for granted, But that doesn’t mean it’s failed, To leave the rest of us enchanted, You deserve the love of someone, Who’ll watch you rise over again, And may they never come to see you, as another six a.m.” – e.h.

“We know so perfectly how to give birth to the monsters inside us, but for reason I will never figure out, we have not the slightest clue of what to do with all the love.” – Christopher Poindexter

“You are not your age, Nor the size of the clothes you wear, You are not a weight, Or the colour of your hair. You are not your name, Or the dimples in your cheeks, You are all the books you read, And all the words you speak, You are your croaky morning voice, And the smiles you try to hide, You’re the sweetness in your laughter, And every tear you’ve cried, You’re the songs you sing so loudly, When you know you’re all alone, You’re the places that you’ve been to, And the one that you call home, You’re the things that you believe in, And the people that you love, You’re the photos in your bedroom, And the future you dream of, You’re made of so much beauty, But it seems that you forgot, When you decided that you were defined, By all the things you’re not.” – e.h.

“If there’s empty spaces in your heart, They’ll make you think it’s wrong, Like having empty  spaces, Means you never can be strong, But I’ve learnt that all these spaces, Means there’s room enough to grow, And the people that once filled them, Were always meant to be let go, And all these empty spaces, Create a strange sort of pull, That attract so many people, You wouldn’t meet if they were full, So if you’re made of empty spaces, Don’t ever think it’s wrong, Because maybe they’re just empty, Until the right person comes along.” – e.h.

“She was a silent fighter, With a demon in her lung, That stole her breaths right from her, Before they’d hardly passed her tongue, He was a silent fighter, Who was always taught to share, And held his breath when he was with her, Just so she could have his air.” – e.h.

“You can’t make homes out of humans, My life’s not a fire to keep you warm, My arms aren’t walls to protect you, From your own internal storm, My heart is not a light switch, For you to turn on when you please, I can’t carry the weight of your regret, Because I’m buckling at the knees, My legs are a solid foundation, But they aren’t your on which to build, The holes in my heart can fit both of us, But you cannot decide how they’re filled, You can’t make homes out of humans, I won’t let you in just because you have knocked, And if you keep using my heart as your doormat, The next time you’ll find that it’s locked.” – e.h.

“You can write for hours on hours, Of all the things that you wish you could be, But the truth of the matter is simple, People are not poetry, And I know that you wish you weren’t awkward, That sweet words could roll right off your tongue, But your time here’s too short just to worry, How each single sentence is strung, It’s okay to be rough round the edges, To be bruised up and broken and scarred, But it’s not okay to let people tell you, That it’s a reason to change who you are, Your hair doesn’t always sit neatly, The way a poem sits so neatly in lines, And sometimes you might feel like a word, That nobody has learnt to define, You might not be a star that lights darkness, Or a bird that can teach us to soar, But it’s okay, because you are too complex, To be crammed into one metaphor, It’s okay not to know what you’re doing, Since your feelings don’t all have to rhyme, Though a poem once complete is eternal, You have to freedom to change over time, You’re much more than can ever be written, There is no title to say, ‘This Is Me’, You can’t be trapped in the lines of a notebook, Because people are not poetry.” – e.h.

“When they called you a heartbreaker, There’s no way they could have known, That you’d left no heart more broken, Than they way you’d left your own.” – e.h.

“She has a bookshelf for a heart, And ink runs through her veins, She’ll write you into her story, With the typewriter in her brain, Her bookshelf’s getting crowded, With all the stories that she’s penned, Of the people who flicked through her pages, But closed the book before the end, And there’s one pushed to the very back, That sits collecting dust, With it’s title in her finest writing, ‘The One Who’s Lost My Trust’, There’s books she’s scared to open, And books she doesn’t close, Stories of every person sh’s met, Stretched out in endless rows, Some people have only a sentence, While others once held a main part, Thousands of inky footprints, That they;ve left across her heart, You might wonder why she does this, Why write of people she once knew? But she hopes one day she’ll mean enough, For someone to write about her too.” – e.h.

“The day I lost my very first tooth, Was halfway through grade four, I’d run my tongue along the gap, Where my tooth had been before, I remember I went home crying, And showed it to my mum, She told me that a brand new tooth, Would grow up in my gum, In a while the gap would stop feeling strange, I wouldn’t notice the tooth was gone, The only reason I missed it now, Was because it was there for so long, Then slowly but surely over the weeks, In the gap a new tooth grew, And now it makes me wonder, If people are like teeth too.” – e.h.

“I see your figure from across the valley, Head down in a sign of defeat, Hands clenched on the times you were happy, Body sweating from the intense heat, The flames are now high as your kneecaps, Their movements reflect in your eyes, Still easy to see from this distance, That it takes all you have not to cry, I could send you my voice on the breezes, But my throat is determined to choke, Not sure if it’s stuck on emotion, Or smothered in all of this smoke, You yell out that I should just leave you, You’ll be better once you are along, These fires will fight the dark winter, That threatens to freeze all your bones, But the cold’s not the reason I’m worried, Nor the clouds that are heavy with rain, It’s the fact that you’d rather be burning, Than admit to the world you’re in pain, And the hurt that will come when you realize, Once to ashes the flames have been turned, That there’s no warmth in a fire borne solely, From all of the bridges you’ve burned.” – e.h.

“We all have holes right through out hearts, I’m sure you’ve got them too, But it’s funny how the hole in mine, Is shaped a lot like you.” -e.h.

“You hated your eye colour, Called it a dull and dirty brown, Wished for the deep blue of an ocean, Where admirers hearts would drown, And it pained me when I realised, You’d never see it like I do, The way your eyes hint at a story, That I want to read right through, They hold specks of stolen sunlight, That you’d miss with just once glance, And a depth of  raw emotion, That can freeze you in a trance, They’re a fix of melted chocolate, When I’m craving something sweet, But hold a gaze that’s so unwavering, That I find it hard to meet, I fall right down the rabbit hole, When I look into your eyes, The brown of earth’s unfettered beauty, That I yearn to memorize, When I was tired of not belonging, They made me feel like I’d been found, And I hope you never say again, That your eyes are simply brown.” – e.h.

“And there were always those nights where she preferred the rain over people. because the rain would remind her of how she should feel and people would remind her of the things she always wanted to forget.” – r.m. drake

“My darling, you can’t see it, can you? How like the moon you are. Both of you so timid in yourselves; hiding pieces from the world. Then, there are those rare moments whne you both are full, and it becomes hard to look away. You are beautiful.” – Alexandria Drzewiecki

“People always say that it hurts at night, and apparently screaming into your pillow at 3am is the romantic equivalent of being heartbroken. But sometimes it’s 9am on a Tuesday morning, and you’re standing at the kitchen bench waiting for the toast to pop up, And the smell of dusty sunlight and earl gray tea makes you miss him so much you don’t know what to do with your hands.”

“Once I knew just what you wanted, I tried so hard to make it true. But in the end the gap had widened and I just could not hold on to you.”

“Maybe we feel empty because we leave pieces of ourselves in everything we used to love.” – r.m. drake

“He wants to say I love you, but keeps it to goodnight, because love will mean some falling, and she’s afraid of heights.” – r.i.d.

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited. An dyet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs ot your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try to readjust the way you thought of things.” “The Reptile Room” by Lemony Snicket

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.: – Tyler Knott Gregson

“Sometimes, I think of the sun and moon as lovers who rarely meet, always chase, and almost always miss one another. But once in a while, they do catch up, and they kiss, and the whole world stares in awe of their eclipse.”