People think that love is easy
But it’s not.
Love is button-pushing
Because relationships with people you love
Put them close enough to you
To push your buttons
And aggravate the ever-loving shit out of you.
But it’s not just that…
It’s that ‘to love’ means
To feel connected
And being connected
To pretty much everything that could ever hurt you
outside of you
and between you and another person
even looking inside of yourself.
Love means seeing where you really hold your own power
In a healthy enough way to allow and even celebrate
Someone else holding their own power too.
So love is confrontational.
And it’s messy.
Because when love meets
Those past hurts
And power issues
And projected fears of the future
There will be a time
When your relationship
Resembles an actual, all-out shit storm.
Like your house does
Once you start
Emptying out your junk drawers
And underneath the bed
(where once-living things go to die and turn into wads of fuzz and fur wrapped around pencils that you don’t remember buying and random water bottle caps that have no bottles to go with them)
And you pull it all out into the middle of the living room
And you think
“It will be easier to just move
Or light the place on fire
Than it will be to sort all of this out…
To see what’s valuable
And what’s been trash
That we’ve just been hanging on to
Or like that moment you lift up that back bench seat of your car
Where your kids, who you lovingly wiped their faces and their asses
And put them in sanitized tubs with bubbles and into beds with bleached-clean sheets
For 18 years…
Who apparently sat in those seats behind you
And ate like gremlins on crack
Shoving Cheezits and french fries
Mixed with boogers and spilled orange juice
(WHY, for the love of God and all that is holy
Does spilled orange juice smell like vomit after three days – and then forever – in a car??)
Down the sides of those seats
Into every cranny and crevice available
And then, you lift UP the seats
“It will just be easier to sell the car
Or light it on fire
Because there is no way…
There is no way I will be able to get this
Off of the leather
Or out of the carpet
Or out of my MEMORY BRAIN CELLS
And be able to function as a whole human being
It is so tempting to feel that way
In relationships of love
When things get
So overwhelming like that unearthed house
And so gross like that sticky, smashed back seat upholstery…
That you will think it’s easier to get rid of the blessings and wreckage of love
Or to light it on fire
Than it is to see what you need to see
And do what you need to do
And heal what you need to heal.
But that’s where Love comes in
And does it’s best work.
If you’ll let it —
It will come in
And compassionately meet you
Where you are
Stroke your face
Assuage your fears
And whisper sweet-everythings to you.
It will call you to rest in it
To throw the WHOLE weight of who you are
And what you want
And what you wished life to be
Into the strong catch of its “I’ve got you and won’t let you go” power
While it calls you to action through it…
Through its immense life force of possibility
To face what you don’t know how to do,
To do what you don’t feel strong enough to do
To embrace what you’re afraid to do…
Love will embolden you
To face who you don’t know how to be
Who you don’t feel strong enough to be
To embrace who you’re afraid to be.
As long as you give it a smidge of an opening to enter in.
Just like yea much (I have my thumb and pointer so close with just enough light getting through)
But if you close your heart?
Love will feel like a job
With no paycheck
And no reward
It will be all of the worry
All of the mitigating pain
All of the risk-avoidance
All of the trying to feel safe.
All of the ‘don’t leave me
or die on me
Or hurt me in any way.”
And none of the joy
Which makes sense..
You closed up your heart
And that’s where all the
Juicy feels of
But if you open your heart
Even a little
(But especially a lot)
It will meet you
And overflow in you
So much more
Than the messy drawers or closets of your painful issues overflowing in your life
That make you want to sell out on your dreams and run away with your distractions…
And love will be so much more fragrant to you
Than the stinking mess between the seats of your chaotic past, crushed hopes, and current fears
That make you want to be destructive and light all your good stuff on fire just to get rid of the bad…
Love will sort that out
Of what to keep and hold lightly
And show you what doesn’t matter
Love will give you the strength to clean up
Or phone a friend (or a therapist) for help.
Love will lift you so high
That you get all the joy of elevation
And gain the wisdom of perspective
From a whole new height
And a completely different angle
So that you will see what love is
And EXPERIENCE what love does
So that you will trust how love loves.
Love is not always easy
And love is not only hard
Love is all of it
And everything in between.
Love is love.
And Love is worth it.
It will remind you that
You’re safe to take the risk to love
And that you don’t have to get rid of it
Or light it on fire.
And at some point
With enough time
Love won’t have to whisper this to your mind
Because you will know it
Stacey Robbins is an Author, Coach, & Italian Retreat Muse who lives with unshaven legs and messy love in So Cal with her husband, Rock, and teenage heroes, Caleb and Seth.