Today's post is dedicated to everyone, everywhere, who loves against the odds.
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The following crossed my Twitter stream a few days ago:
Whom do you love?? It's such a deceptively simple question, and yet I've been turning it over and over in my head since I first read it. Timing is everything, and it's probably because I've recently been taking steps to get out from under the dark cloud I've been living with that it resonated so loudly with me. I've found myself thinking a lot about how loving the people we do does so much to define us as individuals and how –– more specifically –– so much of who I am today has been shaped by the way I've loved The Porcupine the past 12 years.
Even under the best of circumstances, love is never for the faint of heart. In times of both wealth and want, opening ourselves to love also requires that we face –– on a daily basis –– the very real possibility of profound loss. Bravery is the currency of love; we must offer up the first to gain the second and no matter the circumstances, I've never doubted this price is always one worth paying.
Regardless of how things are turning out, I remain unflinching in my belief I did the right thing four years ago when I took The Porcupine's outstretched hand and jumped ALL IN to his chaotic, gigantic mess of a life. In the face of steep odds and against what my rational brain was telling me was the prudent path, I chose to give voice to my heart. From that point on I've loved bravely and openly; unguarded and without pretense. I didn't do so without fear but somehow managed to do so despite it. Maureen told me she thinks I've carried myself through all of this with dignity and grace. This means a lot to me because since making the choice to be here I've always tried to put love first –– before any pain or disappointment or anger of my own. In times of struggle, it's far too easy to give in to these latter things, though ultimately this does nothing but carve us out inside and make us less. So, each day I've worked hard to push through; putting one foot in front of the other and choosing, instead, over and over again, to love –– even on the days when screaming and raging at him for all the things he wasn't getting done or turning and running from the whole damn mess would have been so much safer. For all of this, I am proud of myself. For all of this, I am more.
And so I arrive back at the original question: Whom do I love? This, in turn, makes me think about how I love. My answer to the first question has, over time, changed my answer to the second. I've loved The Porcupine with every cell of my being these many years. It hasn't been easy and has cost me a lot. I probably won't ever be able to have children of my own now (either with him or someone else) because of all the time that's been lost. And in the last four years? I've easily aged four decades. Dear god.
But this situation hasn't been without its rewards. I'm a much better person than I was at the beginning of this road. I'm stronger, more open, more secure in who I am and far, FAR less self-involved. I've also learned something invaluable I might not have completely understood otherwise: I kept silent for far too long about my feelings for the Porcupine, and this was my mistake in the series of events that lead up to this chapter in my life. I played it safe, because it was easier. Because that's how I pretty much functioned in all of my relationships. Keeping my guard up and revealing as little of myself as possible was almost always my go-to move. But these days, I realize that if you're lucky enough to have people you love in your life –– people who matter to you and affect you and add to the person you are in even the slightest of ways –– you must not wait to tell them. And once you do? Then you should tell them again and again and again and again. You should tell them in so many different ways they start to think you're nuts. Appreciate them openly and support all their efforts and champion them every day to other people and to themselves. Make little pictures of them in Photoshop and put them up all over your blog and onto calendars you make for them and t-shirts and mugs and oh hey! Maybe this last thing is just me? Anyway, my point is to do whatever your own particular thing may be to do. Just turn up the volume as high as you can, keep nothing to yourself and love out loud.
Believe me: The people in your life will thank you for it.
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P.S. And continuing on the subject of love, here's the latest picture in this blog's very favorite love story. Because no one loves louder than Buster.
P.S.S.: Also, this is my friend Tuna:
I just don't have an illustration for him yet as I'm having a bit of trouble with this one and have been waiting like forever for someone to help me out with it CHRIS. So in the meantime, this:
P.S.S.S. And, finally, on the previously mentioned, belated subject of Valentine's Day, you can rest assured that yes, we've been to Jared: