Playing at Love

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Love is another one of the words that I have struggled to truly understand. I grew up in an environment where I didn’t feel loved in the way stories, movies, and TV shows described it. I knew my parents cared about me, but I honestly didn’t feel loved and therefore had no real-life reference for what love actually felt like or really was. I had only the perfect stories from sources not based in reality. The sad part is while I longed for that perfect love, deep down I didn’t feel that I deserved it or would ever actually have it. I didn’t know anyone who had a “good” relationship, as I have stated every man I knew cheated. My father cheated on every woman he had ever been with. All the women I knew had been cheated on, lied to, and some abused. All of the males in my family lied, cheated, and manipulated women. While faithfulness was not the only standard for love, it was definitely a good love indicator to me. Again no one I knew was in what I considered a loving relationship and if no one else had one who was I to believe that I deserved to have it?  But what the hell is love? Can it truly be defined? Can it be understood in a universal way? Or is it something that is unique to each individual and each situation?

Looking for a neat and tidy explanation of love one could look it up on the google, you would encounter a bunch of different definitions for it. One will be about deep feelings of affection, another will be about having a strong interest/pleasure with regard to something or someone, and of course it can be defined intense romantic or sexual attachment to someone. As an adult I have read a butt ton of books on the various forms of love. I have watched so many videos made by relationship therapist and the like that I am sure that if I played them consecutively it would take a month to make it through them all. I have had deep and sometimes rowdy conversations and debates with friends and associates in attempts to understand it. I have tried to put all my experiences and knowledge into action in my adult life and have succeeded in some areas (I have the family love thing DOWN!) but have definitely struggled in the romantic category. SOOOO at the age of twenty when I moved in with Mike I had no idea what love was, but in that moment, I truly felt that what we had was love. Looking back, I can say that it was not love but it was the idea of it being love that helped me make it through some of the most difficult years of my life.

My relationship with Mike was crazy. Basically it was a typical teenage relationship. Both of us were trying to figure out who we were, how to fit into the world as we matured, to love one another, and deal with the psychological and emotional struggles in our own separate lives. This is what makes so many high school relationships fail. We had no idea who we were individually. Neither of us really understood love, but we both wanted it, needed it, and felt as if we would die without it. Our relationship was all over the place. lol!

Like I said before, we first met when I was twelve or so. We met in the park by my dad’s house. I was at my dad’s house for the weekend and walked down to the park to meet up with my cousin Tonya and he was there riding his bike with his friends. I don’t recall what he said but I know he came over and talked to me, I was shy and young, I was happy when my cousin showed up, so I could focus my attention on her. I don’t know how it happened, but he and I exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet at the park the next time I came to visit. I think we may have hung at the park like one other time but after that I stopped going to the park and when he rode his bike over to my dads I would tell my dad to say I wasn’t there. During one of our conversations he had made it known that he was interested in sex, on the phone I pretended to be cool with the idea, but I absolutely was not. I was too shy at twelve to just say no and still go about life. I didn’t really know that NO was an option at that age. I just figured that I had to sleep with him or never see him again, so I opted for the latter.  I didn’t see him again until that day he walked into my aunt’s house.

Once we became and us I was so happy I could focus on him and imagine our life together and not think about my real life, as it lay in ruins at my feet. He was my new focus, my bright spot, and I just knew we would be together forever. This makes me laugh so hard, mostly because he didn’t do anything that to earn his position, nothing at all. It was all me and my desire to be loved and to love someone mixed with all the romantic stories I had read, movies I had seen, and even cartoons that allowed me to basically write my own story of our love with little to no real basis in reality. In my mind I made him out to be a prince, my knight in shining armor but really, he was just a typical teenage boy growing up in the late 80s early 90s. He was heavily influenced by hip hop, popular black movies about life in the hood, and was a gang member. It took me years to see him as he truly was, not a terrible human just not the picture I painted in my mind. We would break up a few times because he drank a lot, attempted to sell drugs, got into fights, and he cheated a couple of times. Even through all that I still held on to my fantasy of him being something that he clearly was not. When I moved in with him I believed that things would finally be perfect between us. We had been through a lot. I was there helping him and his family make it through the passing of his mother. He was there for me when I needed a place to live. This was going to be it, we were not kids anymore this would be our happily ever after! These are the funniest words to type.! Just remembering how naïve I was, so full of hope but sadly we would be all done playing at love less than six months after I moved in…   

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