Once upon a time (or April 22, 2016, to be more specific), I wrote the following in my journal:
“I associate anger with a lack of love. It’s like I think we are all fairies, and we can only have one emotion at a time or something. And I know it’s not true, but telling myself that doesn’t change anything. This is why I never express true anger. This is why I feel sick anytime someone else does. When Mother yelled at us, I would always end up sobbing while siblings could take it with a stone face. Even if it wasn’t fully directed at me, I was distraught. Because I don’t understand how you can be angry with someone and still love them. And I’m not talking just upset momentarily or frustrated or disappointed. But if you are truly angry to the point that you are willing to openly express it to that person and not care if they are hurt by it, then how can you love them at the same time?”
After a long bit of musing still too personal to share, I added:
“…this is why I feel that anger and love cannot be simultaneous. Because I don’t think I’ve ever been able to feel them simultaneously.”
Funny how much can change in just two years, how much a person can grow up, evolve, develop. Learn to love.
Over the past year, I have begun to experience things that I either didn’t believe were real or didn’t think I was capable of experiencing. My nature did not lean towards true feelings of love, so I assumed I was unable to feel it. I held hope that perhaps there was that one person who would change all of that for me, yet as I looked at the relationships and marriages around me, that seemed more and more a childish dream. Better to be pessimistic and never be disappointed, right? As of April of 2016, this was my theory:
“The reason I have never been in love with anyone is that I have never been fully real, completely myself, and all of myself with someone. And I say “in love,” but actually I think this may apply to more kinds of love. It’s like there is a map of the known parts of me, and every person I know has been to different places on the map, and some have been a lot more places than others, and there are some places where no one has ever gone. Like no one. But not everyone has been to the same places – boys I’ve known have seen sides of me or heard things about me that my family doesn’t know. My best friends know things that the boys don’t know. My family automatically has been more places because they grew up with me, but there are a lot of places the boys and friends have been that family hasn’t actually.
Anyway, map metaphor – that’s pretty much it there. I’ve never allowed anyone to travel the entire map…
…I want to believe that I will find a man who I can be so completely real with, who I can show all of me and not feel embarrassed or ashamed or afraid, but that’s hard to believe…”
And yet, here we are, two short years later. Completely open and real with a man, unembarrassed and unashamed to be wholly me with him. I like proving myself wrong.
The anger-vs.-love section is what originally got me thinking about this. Granted, I was referring to much stronger anger in that writing, anger that I have only felt a few times in my life. There has been no reason so far for me to feel that level of anger towards my boyfriend, and I certainly hope I never will. (Look at me being optimistic for once!) But of course, everyone gets irritated with each other sometimes, especially when you’re living in a tiny cabin together and spending all day every day working together (try it, couples – it’s awesome!). Even when I’m super annoyed with him though, there’s a little part of my brain that’s just giggling away, laughing at the absurdity of being upset with someone I love so much. Laughing because I know I’ll forgive him in five seconds. Laughing because tomorrow I’ll probably annoy the crap out of him. Laughing because I realize now that it’s possible: you can simultaneously love a person and be upset with them. That gives me hope that even should a more calamitous situation arise, we would find a way through it, still loving each other just as strongly as before.
This goes to show how little I knew back then. How little I know now. There is so much more to be learned and experienced. In the next few months, I’d like to look back on things I’ve written in the last six years since I began this journal and compare the thoughts I had then to the thoughts I have now. This is only the beginning of the Growth Series, which may not be continuous but is sure to expand. I hope you enjoy reading and, perhaps, grow a little yourself.