The Price of Love

As a girl I dreamt of love and the dream was simply to belong. To have a hand to hold, an anchor to keep me moored; to stop me drifting, meaninglessly through life.

A person to call home.

I dreamt no bigger, because in my childish naivety, love was that simple.

At 17, I expected no more.  In fact, I expected nothing. I floundered my way through brief moments with boys with grubby hands and grubby sheets: giving myself away easily to anyone that bothered to see me. The desperation to be wanted, I’m sure, could be smelt on my skin. I was too grateful to expect more and I repaid that gratitude by being whoever they wanted me to be – by allowing the space between my legs to be used as a temporary rest stop. By allowing my voice to be silenced and my soul to be suppressed.

It never occurred to me to mind.

At 28, I found love. It was gentle and affirming, constant and safe.  I found that home within the body of another – someone that soothed my pain and yet took the constant blows I served up.  Someone that stayed, no matter how many times I gave him reasons to go. This love showed me every single way that I was worthy of being loved, not in spite of who I was.  But because of it.  Because of every broken, dirty, bloodied, foul-mouthed part of me. I was a warrior. I was magical. And like a dandelion pushing through the cracks in the pavement, I began to bloom.

At 35, I would find that love alone was not enough.  Not enough for me.  I needed the kind of love that tore down walls and built castles in their wake.  The kind that challenged and stretched and demanded more.  One that pushed me harder – relentlessly in pursuit of the greatest version of me that I could possibly become. One that unfolded and explored the ugliest, darkest corners of my being, and adored me all the more, because I’d survived those wars.  I needed a love that was unwavering, certain, selfish and unyielding.  One that did not sit safely in the harbour but one eager to ride the waves and weather the storms: one that wasn’t afraid being battered by the rocks.

And I finally believed myself worthy of it.

At 37, I realised that this kind of love requires sacrifice.  It has a price. And that price is a lifetime alone.

Because this kind of love does not exist within the arms of another.

This is the kind of love that can only be found within myself.


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