“Perspective was a luxury when your head was constantly buzzing with a swarm of demons.” Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Love is a powerful force. It can bring about the happiest moments and tear the human heart to shreds. Elusive, consuming, and surprisingly easy to mistake for less serious emotions, love drives us all. There are languages of love, styles of loving, the physical act of lovemaking, etc etc etc. I could (and might) go on in these generalities for paragraphs. But it leaves one wanting. Love does not seem to be permeable in our society. I think if it was, we’d have fewer churches. People spend years hunting love only to turn up alone, and most times, broke.

I recently wrote about feeling loved. As you may or may not know, I tend to publish without re-reading. It’s one of the ways I avoid my Inner Critic. Sadly, this does leave me with a clue as to what I have put on the Internet. Messages commenting on my pieces drive me back to my own work, wanting to read but unable to do so. A dear friend told me that they were glad I felt loved.

It’s true. I do feel loved.

I just wasn’t aware I’d felt it enough to say it aloud. Or put it on the Internet.

When I talk about the last year of my life, people react with shock and awe. It is uncommon to quit your job, sell most of your belongings, and travel the country with a man you’ve known less than a year. I suppose. It’s something that gets discussed and may be desired, but rarely done.

My sister got me a birthday card this year that made me cry. It has an image of a little boy climbing up the wrong way on a slide. It said, “You go your own way….Even when everyone is yelling, ‘No! Not that way!’” Her words inside explained more, but the visual was telling enough. I do that. I go the wrong way about things, but I go anyways. It’s not so much stubborn pride, although Lordisa knows that is a factor, but it’s an attempt to find the “right” way.

I see so many people I care about being unhappy. They do the “right” things-have jobs, get married, make babies, care for family, eat foods, etc. But at the end of the day, they seem less fulfilled than they “should” feel. A girlfriend of mine talks about the Just World Fallacy. I think this is what is happening. And I fall victim to it as well. I do the “right” things, but life deals you the hand it will.

Yet I feel loved. Why? How? What created this love, and how do we make it so that everyone can feel loved? I’m not sure exactly, but I have some ideas.

  • Write thank-you notes. Thank your grandma for giving you good childhood memories. Thank your co-worker for sharing their chips at lunch. Thank your best friend for going so long without needing to be thanked.
  • Hugging helps. But ask first-not everyone is touchy.
  • Allow life to flow around you, without trying to pin it down and make it stay still.
  • Be honest. Start with being honest with yourself.
  • Color or draw a picture for someone. I like to do this for people who work in cubes and for people who hung up my drawings when I was under age 10. If you aren’t too great with drawing, macaroni pictures are always nice.
  • Give someone a mix tape. (Just over the weekend I listened to a mix tape I got for my birthday last year, and it touched my soul.) Bonus points if you tell them why each song is present.
  • Dance. Wildly and with abandon. Then eat a cookie and take a nap. Dancing followed by cookies and naps equal love.

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