Love Or Something Like It

Photo by: Louie-An Pilapil

Photo by: Louie-An Pilapil

“The truth is that which feels right and good and loving. Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good. It’s that which allows you to live every day with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the truth.” – Oprah Winfrey

Two entries in one week – I’m on a roll! My brain has been on overdrive these past few days and what better way to release all these thoughts than to put them in this blog. Indulge me, please.

One of the subjects occupying my mind these days is relationships and how we navigate them. What triggered these musings is reading about high profile NFL player Ray Rice, who has been in the news for weeks now for hitting his then-fiancee in the face, knocking her unconscious, and dragging her motionless body out of the elevator – all of this captured by a security camera. Also under fire is how the esteemed US sports organization he’s part of is handling or bungling the case. Today, another NFL player Jonathan Dwyer is arrested on domestic violence charges. These resonate deeply with me because, even though I had not been subjected to such violence myself, a person I love very much was. Do note that women are just as capable of physically and emotionally abusing men and children, so gender has little to do with this.

I will not delve into the more complicated workings of violent relationships, but I will touch on what I know we are all entitled to – real love and true happiness – perhaps because, contrary to what many people think, I want that, too. Yes, friends. I want a soulful partnership that thrives on openness, adventure, kindness, compassion, passion, equality, and respect. I’m not glossing over the fact that the union of two imperfect people is bound to raise conflict – this dynamic is part of and even essential to the growth of both parties. There should, however, still be a feeling of belonging despite the differences, synchronicity in the midst of disagreement, and compromise to attain harmony. I observe the couples I admire – and I have many among my dear friends – and these are all present in their relationships. They trip up and fall at the expense of the other sometimes, but the partnership is intact mainly because both the man and woman recognize the need to share the work, or carry more of it at certain times without sacrificing their identities and self-respect. At the center of all the turbulence are forgiveness and acceptance, the real kind, where resentment has no place because they are absolute.

I, unfortunately, have never had this kind of partnership. I suppose it’s because of my willingness to accept poor substitutes for the real thing. Once I begin to recognize cracks in the idealized reality I had created, I continued to live in the illusion until something really strong virtually struck me upside the head and woke me up from the dream. Sometimes, despite being awake, I’d stay in the dream, hoping things would turn around and become rosy, just like in my fantasies. I settled for what little attention was thrown my way, thinking I’d have more of it if I changed some aspect of myself. Did that work? Take a guess.

It got to a point where I’d question my judgment and concept of reality. When it’s over, I’d ask myself: “What was that about?” and “Why did that happen?” More importantly, “Why did I allow that to happen or drag on for as long as it did?” I have a few theories but I’m done blaming my upbringing and conditioning. When all this happened, I was already a grown woman with a mind of her own, not a 12-year-old girl, and I can’t continue to look to my childhood as the reason for all the screw-ups I bring upon myself in the present. One possible answer that is acceptable to my adult self is this: I have lost touch with my own brilliance.

After some excruciating self-examination – which is still ongoing, by the way – a startling realization dawned on me. People – mostly men – are attracted to my loneliness. It is the darkness that pulls them in, not the light. We share a common vibe and revel in it for a while, relishing our common experiences, and hopeful that we could both transcend them with the help and admiration of the other. There is, however, always an impediment, a blockage, that prevents this from happening – something that has been there all along and has made this association more daring, exciting and precious. As it turns out, this blockage, whatever it may be, is bigger and much more palpable than the connection. The other, not me, has to pull away to get back to their place of comfort, where all is safe. This is no different from them being stuck in a dead-end job that sucks the life out of them, but the need to stay in it is stronger because of their inability to give up the supposed comforts the job affords them. This is understandable, of course, but in the context of relationships, this is devastating if you’re the one being left behind. It is even more gutting if the biggest fear you have in your life is abandonment.

So, in order for the other not to leave, I would cling. And good luck with that, right? I wasn’t even aware that I did this until recently. When entering potential relationships, I was always coming from a place of lack, feeling like I had nothing to offer or that I would be a burden. Thankfully, I’m realizing now that this is total bullshit. Again, I’m a work in progress. When I get hurt, I withdraw. When I get angry, I stew for days or weeks. When I feel depleted, I become unaware of how I come across to people. These are all parts of my personality. I should just remember that I am a good person deep down and that I have so much to offer to the world and the person who will get me. And I mean really get me.

Some people are made to share their life with another individual, some are not. If I happen to be of the latter group, I’m certain that the Universe has designed my life that way even before my time on earth began. So, I resolve not to question its ways anymore, even when I don’t understand them. I am putting this out there for It to hear: If I am meant to be with someone, may he learn from me as I will from him; may he be willing to risk his heart as I will be mine; and may we lift each other up and not drag each other down even when it gets difficult; may we share a love of the earth and all its beings.

Okay, Universe. I surrender all of this to you.

I wish this for all of you who are reading this entry: May you have real, honest and uplifting love in your life. When you recognize it, may you keep it. And just as crucial, when you feel deep in your heart that it is not what you deserve, may you have the courage to let it go and the wisdom to know that you’ll be all right.


  1. Win!!

  2. Ang masasabi ko lang: True that! Also, *hugs* Tagal na natin hindi nagdi-dinner or lunch or whatever.

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