Embrace

………………………………………………………………….

Hug me closely. 

Hold me. 

Smell my hair and cherish me.

I am yours. 

………………………………………………………………….

The world is not a perfect place. There is not one person in it that can claim complete and utter perfection.

Oh, there are plenty who will try…and there are those who do…but we are all imperfect beings, fallible and flawed.

To conquer our imperfections, we look for love. Others can love us for who we are, regardless of the flaws we bring into the relationship. They can accept us. They can confront us and challenge us out of our comfort zones.

They can embrace us.

And, most importantly, their love, unwavering and accepting, can teach us HOW TO LOVE OURSELVES.

Most of us find this love and unconditional acceptance in our families.

But not all of us.

Some of us learned different lessons.

Some of us learned that love, as we knew it, wasn’t easy. It wasn’t unconditional. It wasn’t unwavering.

It was rocky. Touch and go. Hot and cold.

There on some days, and thrown in our faces on others.

The embrace that we so desperately wanted?

It was a trap. 

It was all we ever wanted. All we needed at specific moments in time.

But, it wasn’t safe.

………………………………………………………………….

You held me close. You stroked my hair.

And yet, when I needed you, you were never there.

Your embrace was your weapon.

You held me close to confuse me. To convince me of your love.

I was yours.

………………………………………………………………….

And so, for those of us who were lucky–resilient–we trudged on with our lives. Constantly on the lookout.

The lookout for love.

Our family? They might still be there. They might be trying harder these days.

Or, more than likely, they might continue to drive the knife further into our hearts.

We might invest our time into the wrong people. We will stumble. We will choose wrong and we will make bad choices.

We will be hurt, again, and, possibly, again and again and again.

But, we will continue to look…continue to hope.

 

………………………………………………………………….

My body screams out, “Hold me close! Help me feel okay.” 

The tears stream down my face in moments of silence–dark rooms, bathroom stalls, my soft pillow.

But my voice says nothing.

I want to be held…so I throw myself into any open arms.

………………………………………………………………….

And, if we are really, truly fortunate, we may discover those people.

Those people who, despite being in no way bound to us, connect with our souls.

Friends. Lovers. Partners. That woman who takes us under her wing.

Those people who, through their faith in us, through their ability to listen, to feel, and to simply be there…make a difference.

 

………………………………………………………………….

I come out worse for the wear. 

Hopeful, but afraid. 

Afraid to be me. Afraid to mess up. 

Afraid to be loved. 

I desperately want to be held. To be hugged. 

But I am scared. 

………………………………………………………………….

Slowly, slowly, we start to trust. We start to open up.

We un-bury all of the hidden darkness that lives within us.

We share it. We’re vulnerable.

And a surprising thing happens.

Those people? They are still there. They have seen our darkness. Walked beside us as we relived it. Cleaned us up when we were messy.

And they are still there.

………………………………………………………………….

The journey to growth is painful. It is hard.

But I am on it. 

I am learning to trust. I am vulnerable. I am messy.

And, despite all of my fear…all of my uncertainty, I am sewing together a new family. A patchwork of love and acceptance.

I am held together, gently, understandingly, by this new group of people. 

I am safe in their warm embrace.

.………………………………………………………………….

Those people who have listened to us share our hearts? They are teaching us that love is real. It can be safe. It can look different.

They are teaching us that we have worth.

And value.

And that we can be loved.

They are, in essence, modeling the love we never had, but always desired. Paving the path for our own, eventual, self-love.

………………………………………………………………….

I close my eyes. I wrap my arms around myself.

I breathe in my own scent. 

To myself, I whisper:

Hug me close. 

Cherish me. 

And don’t forget…

Love me, too.

………………………………………………………………….

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