On Recognizing Love

Peonies grow in
The place inside my heart that
Your love inhabits

I originally wrote this haiku about a beautiful friend of mine last year, back when I was pretty sure future love for me would be reserved for friends and family, and I’m still amazed (in a good way) that I was wrong. She helped me remember what real love looks like. Partly because of her, my life has been happy and complete without a romantic partner in it.

It took time to get there, time to recover from toxic people who didn’t deserve my emotional energy. I took a year long break from all dating, in fact, after a series of negative experiences. In the end, I don’t know if it was worse to be stalked by a narcissist with borderline personality disorder or for another narcissist with borderline personality disorder to use that fact to his advantage (and then tell others that I was lying about the stalker). In some emotional ways, someone who I thought cared about me discrediting the negative experience was worse than actually going through it in the first place. I know now that none of these experiences was really love. I think I always knew it wasn’t love, but I’m sure now.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, particularly as I’m currently separated from the man I love by about 6,500 miles, a bunch of those which include the Atlantic Ocean and the width of the entire continent of Africa. I’m not sure when we’ll be reunited. I love my life, my house, my family, my dogs, and my work. I don’t have any holes in my life, but I still can’t wait for the moment when I see his smiling face and his arms wrap around me. And that’s love. Love enhances my life. It takes something happy and fulfilled and amplifies it. It doesn’t fill an empty space inside me. It enlarges my already full life, and the anticipation I feel, the longing for his arms around me isn’t to right a wrong but because we magnify that happiness inside each other. So I will wait for that time when we’re together again, because I know that he takes my happy life and makes it happier. He is my definition of love.

 

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