Now the boy’s gonna tell us what he thinks about love.
Yes, young Bucky, that’s exactly what the fuck I intend to do!
[interlaces fingers and cracks his knuckles awaiting words to spew forth]
Lucky for you the clothes dryer just went off so I have a few more minutes to let the love percolate as I attempt to inspire the masses…
Or at least, eschew obfuscation…. 😉
Yes, and my take on love may not either…
So strap in, muthafuckas! (I mean that in the nicest way possible.)
How Did We Get Here?
Before I elucidate the various ins-and-outs of love…
I think it bears discussing what the fuck this love business has to do with thriving beyond trauma.
It’s only what this fucking blog is supposed to be about, so I’ll attempt to stay somewhat on track.
Trauma, trauma, trauma…
Trauma can be a real buzz kill when it comes to allowing love to flourish.
Before I take THAT deep dive, let me further digress within another digression.
Or don’t… It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want…
I realize there are several types of love, definitions of love, flavors of love, et cetera, etc.
And you know damn well the only one I really give a shit about right now is romantic love, so let’s just set the expectation there for context.
Yes, for at least an honorable mention, we have the classics as illustrated below:
Some say love is a feeling. Some say it’s an action, an attitude, and on and on it goes.
There’s a plethora (since we’re going Greek today) of philosophers, poets, and pirates (argh, they’re always after me booty) out there who have pontificated (another “P” word – and yes, I’m thinking of a couple more. And now you are, too 😉 ) on el amor.
Case-in-point, a lot of folks talk, sing, and write about it.
The only thing I offer here of substance that hasn’t been covered on the subject is my humble (not-so-humble) experience and thoughts on this matter.
Back to that fucking trauma shit we’re here to thrive beyond!
Love for folks like me has been historically tricky.
It wasn’t exactly modelled consistently to me as a child.
In fact, if there is such a thing as unconditional love, the love I received as a child was conditional as fuck.
My dad used to say “it takes 10 ‘atta-boys’ to make up for one ‘aw shit.’”
When I asked him how many atta-boys I needed to catch up, he said there’s too many.
Love was dished out hot and cold like a lazy line-cook’s lukewarm lunch.
Sometimes it was spicy, sprinkled with affection and praise, and other times my very existence was cursed like undercooked bacon.
If I was upset, I was in trouble.
If I was happy, I was in trouble.
If I complied, I was in trouble.
And if I cried, you bet I was given a reason to cry.
I’m still not sure about the logic on that last one, but it’s effect was felt.
It shut me the fuck down.
I did not trust my own thoughts or feelings.
People who were all-too-willing (or perhaps unwilling – seemed deliberate at the time) to hurt me were my caretakes, and their love was contingent on some random-ass code I could not quite break.
So without a clear barometer of my own feelings and thoughts and a constant drive to be whatever people wanted me to be, this love business was murky at best.
Oh, don’t get me wrong…
As a child of the 70s and 80s I saw plenty of movies that molded my impressionable mind. Not to mention (except I just did) the impact my dad’s Playboys had on me that I found when I was 10 years old.
As the budding romantic forged in the crucible of toxic-masculinity, I formed some skewed ideas about love and romance.
Dad kissed my mom regularly, patted her on the butt, and would also tell her what a fat bitch she was…
Oh… so romantic…
When I discovered girls (I think in kindergarten), I knew I wanted THAT kind of love.
Fortunately, for yours truly, and the amazing woman in my life today, I’ve learned a thing or two besides “that’s what she said” jokes…
And since we’re posting random “love” songs… here’s another…
The challenge or luxury (I haven’t decided yet) about picking up a couple days later to continue writing where I left off on this blog is the caffeine-fueled creative vibe has invariably changed.
Let’s see if I can get back on track (if I was on track to begin with).
After reading what I’ve written thus far, I think I was going to talk about this matter-of-the-heart stuff.
I’m hoping that’s where “Heart-Shaped Box” was leading.
I guess we’ll never know as those ideas are floating somewhere in the ether of two days ago, and I lost my time-machine.
Somewhere along my journey of forming the fantasy (or ideal) of what love should look like, I discovered various things about myself.
I’ve read several (a few) books on the matter.
I developed a knack for writing poetry.
I learned about love languages (https://5lovelanguages.com/), astrological alignments, and sex. Yes, let’s not forget about the sex part.
Over the years I’ve learned what to do and what not to do in relationship thanks to several failed attempts and a shit-ton of couples’ counseling.
But were they really “failed” relationships?
Today, my attitude is they were not.
Without the trail of broken hearts (mine included), I would not be where I am today to appreciate the dance that is romantic love.
Anyone who is successful at anything had to fuck up a lot to find the sweet spot.
The point is, if there is one, is that without coming to grips with the fact that I have several character flaws preventing me from experiencing true intimacy, I could not enjoy the fruits of connection today.
And when I say (write) “intimacy,” I mean a willingness to be vulnerable.
And by vulnerable, I mean the willingness to be fully seen and heard as I am.
The willingness (and follow through) to fully see and hear another person without an agenda to change them.
Intimacy and vulnerability equals love.
But Wait, There’s More!
This is the benefit of writing stream-of-consciousness. I had no idea this is where we were going.
As a person who has historically struggled with self-esteem, this business of letting down my guard has not been easy.
And whilst on guard protecting ye ol’ heart-shaped box, it has been difficult to hold space with others without judgement.
From a basis of fear and defense mechanisms of self-centeredness, a lot of time was spent pretending to be someone I was not.
It’s exhausting building up a false-self and maintaining it.
And the insanity of trying to feel loved as I am while not actually presenting that person is… well, insane.
And while buried eyebrow-deep in identity management, actually being present for another person is often impossible.
So, young Bucky, once upon a time, wee David decided to let some shit go, learn to love himself (fully see and accept), and set down the façade.
I also went so far as to write out an intention for the ideal-she my heart longed for.
And I wrote that fucker (the ideal, not the actual person) down nearly four years ago!
I decided that with 330 million people in this country (roughly half are women), I did not need to settle.
I wanted to find someone who sees me and loves me just as I am.
And beyond just sees and loves me…
I want to be adored.
And I, in-turn, wanted to find someone I adore.
Someone with a few loose screws (like yours truly) who is also an intelligent, spiritual, passionate sex-machine.
I wanted to find someone who is and can be vulnerable and powerful.
I wanted someone to laugh and cry with.
I wanted someone who has dreams and wants to ride the magic carpet ride that is my life.
And ohhh… did the Universe deliver!
Is It a Controlled Fall?
They (whoever they are) say you always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look…
That’s because when you find what (whom) you’re looking for, you stop looking.
And I, my friends, need look no further.
Upon meeting Tricia (on an online dating app), we instantly connected.
From the very get-go, we found an ease to our communication, mutual interests, and common desires.
We both agreed that to solidify the deal, we’d need to meet in-person to see if we passed what I call “the smell test.” Did our pheromones match our psychic connection?
We met at a roller skating rink and the mutual-magnetism was instant.
She hadn’t skated in probably 30 years, said she felt disheveled from a last-minute work emergency, showed up a little late, and was beautiful and right on time to me.
We met each other where we were and played together that night in the awkward and romantic revolutions of the roller rink.
There was risk and trust dished out in equal servings.
I found a friend.
As we spent more and more time with each other, we shared various stories, music, tears, and laughter.
After the first date, my old friends showed up in my head.
Despite a wonderful evening of fun and connection, the next day my fears reared their ugly heads…
Yay, trauma response!
I called a friend of mine and regaled him with all of the prior evening’s events, my thoughts, and feelings.
He patiently listened and then proffered his sage feedback and advice.
He reflected that it sounded like Tricia and I had a lot in common, really liked each other, had a wonderful time together, and that I should just keep it simple and enjoy the unfolding without overthinking it.
He reminded me of the principles of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.
At that moment, I surrendered to this new adventure that would carry me into a free-fall like Mr. Whiskers.
And like Mr. Whiskers, although I initially looked down and felt the fear, I decided to let go and fucking fly!
Vulnerability and intimacy are choices.
They require a certain letting go.
At the same time, as Tricia and I got closer, it felt more like I was falling.
And yes, grab your barf-bags… I mean falling in-love.
Letting in love is simultaneously an act of will and a letting go.
As fond as I am of her (which is very), I hold this relationship with a loose grip.
There is no fear or need to make it happen.
There is no people-pleasing.
There is simply being who I am and appreciating who she is.
Some may say we’re in the pink-cloud phase of this relationship, and maybe we are. We both intuit, though, that our mutual adoration will last the rest of our lives.
Besides, all we have is right now, and the future doesn’t exist or matter.
We have found a pattern of partnership, fun, romance, and excitement that keeps getting better by the minute.
Both of us have histories and yet, we see beyond that.
We have fallen in-love with the person right in front of us.
And with a connection like this, the sky’s the limit.
For the first time in a very long time (if ever), I feel very optimistic, free to be myself, and so very grateful to find such a magnificent woman to share space and time with.
It isn’t that all of my relationships in the past were completely “bad” by any means.
They just didn’t check enough of the boxes.
And quite frankly, I wasn’t ready or checking the boxes either.
She checks the boxes.
And I check hers.
She’s said she wishes we met earlier in life.
I can appreciate (and agree with) the sentiment of wanting to have more time with each other and avoiding some of the bullshit we experienced before meeting.
We met EXACTLY when and how we were supposed to.
We wouldn’t be who we are today without those experiences. (She also agrees with this.)
And I dare say, perhaps we wouldn’t appreciate what we have as much had we not grown into the people we were when we met.
I trust the Divine Timing of this union, and am so grateful to be present for it.
A part of me (the fucking inner-critic gremlins referenced in the gif above) feels a little neurotic writing this blog post.
There’s still that part of me that feels like I don’t deserve love and am incapable of adequately giving it.
At the same time, the empowered me that thrives beyond trauma says this post is due for publishing.
If you’ve been following my blog (and podcast), you know that I have struggled in the dating arena as well as with self-love.
This is the dance of thriving beyond trauma, and you need to hear about it!
We sit down between the little fucking gremlins in the theater, put an arm around each of them, and say, “What’s up motherfucker? You ready for the show?”
Yes, I embrace my demons and expose them to the Light so that I may love and be loved in return.
My name, David, means “beloved” in Hebrew.
I used to think it was a sick cosmic joke because not only did I hate my name, I felt anything but loved, lovable, or loving.
I wanted to feel and be all of those.
And with consistent work and surrender, I have embraced the reverent nature and influence of Love in my life.
I have embodied what it is to be loved and be beloved.
Although a lot of my rhetoric around thriving beyond trauma includes doing hard shit and not making excuses (and “that’s what she said” jokes), love is and always has been the foundation.
Love for self, love for others, and love for the world.
Ah hell, I’m feeling charitable… And Love for God, too!
I’ve had several spiritual experiences, and the one constantly emerging theme is that love connects everything.
The vibration of life energy feels like love to me.
The very act of creation and the humming of electrons provide proof of the loving force in our lives that is everything and holds everything together.
Okay, I’m going down a woo/Star Wars rabbit hole here, but you get the gist.
Without learning to love and be loved, I would not be the happy person I am today.
By learning to love and be loved, I have been able to open my heart up to a beautiful person, stand in awe of her life, and surrender to the joy of being embraced by her.
It’s a journey, folks.
Although this post may seem like there’s an arrival point, there really isn’t.
This experience of loving Tricia and myself is fluid and will require the ever-evolving dance of being intentional and letting go.
I believe strongly in impermanence.
What we have may disappear at any moment.
The greatest way to love is to love THIS moment without clinging to it.
So my parting words to you, young Bucky, are to look deep inside, find out what your heart desires, find out what holds you back, let that shit go, and lean into the vulnerability of loving yourself and others.
It’s hard to do at times, but worth it!
You knew I couldn’t end this without a final word from our patron saint, Michael Scott.
Be well 🙂
Thank you for tuning into another installment of the ever-moving target that is my life. I’d have it no other way! Be sure to like, comment, and follow me for weekly entries about thriving beyond trauma. You can also reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also offer life coaching services. When you are ready to start creating real results in your life, reach out, and we’ll get you going! Want that better job, to find your true love, or to be physically and emotionally healthy? We can do this!
Also check out my weekly podcast found on all major platforms. Stay tuned for the next episode coming this Sunday! And if you’re still reading this far, two episodes from now will be the 13th and final episode of season one. The grand finale will feature an interview with Tricia. She’s also got a hell of a story and is thriving beyond trauma!
Check me out on the socials, too!