I’m still awake. I was saying a prayer before bed where I talked to God about how hard it is to say I love you even to him. I have a hard time hearing others say, “I love you.” Most of the time terms of endearment irritate the snot out of me. Hun, sweetie, yuck! “I love you” will make me recoil with mistrust.
My mother told me if I didn’t change my ways I’d end up like my Aunty S and die alone and unlovable. How dare she? I was told early on that I was killing her love for me. I was killing my mother’s ability to love me. When younger, my sister would catch me as I walked around the corner, hit me in the stomach and say, “love hurts.” She tried to tell me in better ways but it ended up being awkward. “I’d tell you I love you but you’d just do something to make me regret it.” At the time I couldn’t hear past the words.
Here I am at 5:53 in the morning, hours after saying a prayer, and I’m still awake because of how three words feel on my ears. To hear someone say those three words feels like a shackle has just been put on me.
I understand that my insane family has no idea what love means and less knowledge of how to safely express it. And to be clear, I’m talking about my emotional reaction to words, not difficulties committing or receiving love. The words trigger mistrust and fear as well as guilt.
A while ago I dated someone who said “I love you” at the end of every phone conversation, at the end of every visit with every friend or family member, and me. I insisted it was over used and no longer meant anything if it was said that much. We never agreed on that point and it made things difficult for us. Quite often I didn’t say it in return which I’m sure felt horrible. I shake my head thinking of how many issues I brought to that relationship.
The problem with that phrase is that its associated, wrapped up if not strangled by a history of anguish. How can you possibly love someone and put your fist in their face? How can you… how dare you use those words after putting your child through hell? So, I hear those words and I shrink back because it sounds like a lie. I can receive love. I need to be loved. I know I am loved by a person’s actions, but when its said I only hear my mother tell that lie.
I feel stupid when I say “I love you.” I know how deeply I’m capable of loving. I know how to love safely…now….but, I think I have left over beliefs that I’m heartless which makes saying I love you sound silly. How can someone with no heart, love?
I realize as I type that my body is showing signs of stress. Not only am I taking long pauses from typing, my leg is jumping and I’m swaying side to side slightly. That tells me I need to stop, take a few breaths and try to rest. I know it’s important to be self-aware. When my body starts telling me I’ve touched a nerve it’s important to know if I’m in a position to keep going. I’m not. It’s not Monday yet, but almost.
The digital art piece is called “I Pray You’ll Love Me”. It was painted years ago with this caption, “I Pray You’ll love me. Perhaps I should have prayed for her to love herself, maybe then she could have loved me.”
As much as I can, I will write entries to take the edge off of the stress I’m feeling. I think it was helpful to at least get these few words out of my head.
It’s now 6:41 am. I will not demanding sleep from myself but I can relax…and there’s always tea.