|graffiti art at The Beat, Downtown Las Vegas|
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
-- C.S. Lewis
When we are children, we can do so much—even everything. The world is full of opportunity and somehow there is nothing that can stop us, not even ourselves. We can leap off of the tallest things, like boxes and step ladders. Joy is found in the simple things, like mud pies and popsicles. What I want to know is when does that all change?
I wore mary janes and skirts as I made a name for myself at tether ball, four square, kickball, and fighting against bullies in elementary school only to become a skirt-wearing flute player bully in junior high (I did finally own a pair of shoes other than mary janes though). I could do everything until life started teaching me that I couldn't. It started in eighth grade: I lost my boyfriend; I realized that not all my supposed friends liked me; I began to compare my body to other girls' which meant I was delusional (size 4 is not fat by the way); I learned what it was to feel solitary and alone...
Life was teaching me how hard it can be to love myself and others. The big problem with me is how I don't seem to learn so well. I continued to love others with all I am. I decided it was just fine to be friends with mostly guys and that it didn't somehow make me an automatic ho-bag no matter what anyone else said; and I never did do the anorexia/bulimia thing. But that lonely bug. It bit me hard and I have never recovered. I will just say it-- I long for loyal, loving, long-term (actually--eternally permanent) companionship. I seriously hope this isn't just one of those cases of always wanting what we can't have.
Now I realize how so many of us peg ourselves into the same old holes and never look around to see if there could be a new path. I do it too, but I try not to if there could be something better for me around a different corner than I had planned. I never planned to give so much of my heart away to people; however, I believe it has been good for me . . . somehow. There are choices to make all the time taking us in every direction and the messiness of it all makes us vulnerable, teachable, and lovable.
When we figure out how this story ends, just know that I'm glad I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure and choosing love at every crossroads.