We often make the mistake of thinking that love means the same thing to different people. It doesn't.

For some people love is a familiar, nostalgic and overwhelmingly positive feeling that they've felt before. A feeling they are able to easily replicate in different situations.

For certain people, love is a feeling that they are vaguely aware of but only from secondhand experience. They know what love should be but they can't really say that they've felt it themselves.

For a number of people, love is a foreign object that their heart, mind and soul treat as a deadly invader. An unwelcome intruder that their psychological immune system fights off at every opportunity it gets, with the ultimate intention of ego protection and self preservation.

So which category do I fall into? All three I suppose.

Having recently entered into the fourth decade of my life, it's evident that I'm still grappling with the idea of love and intimacy. Constantly trying my best to unlearn what I've become so accustomed to doing, thinking, feeling, and saying. Fully cognisant of the fact that I need to correct the many misconceptions I have about myself and my surroundings. Reassessing how I see love, how I give love, how I receive love and how I interact with the ones that I love and those that love me.

I grew up knowing that I was loved. I had no major doubts about that. I just thought that love always came with rules, regulations, guidelines and stipulations:

- I had to behave.
- I had to be quiet.
- I had to finish my food, do well at school, stay awake at church and clean my room.

That's why this type of love feels strange to me.

Being shamelessly myself and still being loved almost feels uncomfortable. What do you mean by "unconditional", "consistent", "unregulated", "unyielding"? I thought love meant that I had to act a certain way? Do certain things? Or be a certain person? What do you mean by "come as you are"? This can't be right. Are you sure I deserve this?

Yes, this type of love feels strange to me.

Going to sleep, waking up and still having love patiently waiting for me is a feeling I still need to get used to. At some point growing up I associated love with abandonment. I love you meant I can't be with you. I love you meant I need to leave you. I love you meant that I'll provide for you financially but I can't be there for you emotionally. I love you meant that I'll make sacrifices for you but I might not make time for you. I love you meant leaving the house before sunrise and coming back after sunset. I love you meant dropping me off at school in the morning, chasing money during the day and staying out drinking at night. I love you meant cooking on Friday, house cleaning on Saturday and a full day of church on Sunday.

I equated love with distance. I grouped love with perfection. I assumed love and understanding were mutually exclusive. So I adjusted my personality, lowered my expectations and built walls around my heart purely as a coping mechanism.

Yet that's not the case here and that's why this type of love feels strange to me.

On the one hand it's beautiful, majestic, warm, bubbly and exciting. Yet at the same time it's repelling, disgusting, overwhelming, annoying and frustrating. What do you mean you love me? You want me? You need me? You miss me?

I'm sorry, but this type of love feels strange to me.

It's not a pattern I'm used to, nor a feeling I've felt. It's not a script that I've read, or a scene that I've rehearsed.

Yes, this type of love feels strange to me.

So bare with me. I'm new to it.

I want it and I need it. I crave it and I seek it. I have faith and belief in it. But I'm absolutely terrified of feeling it. So just know that it's going to take some time, a bit of patience and whole lot of understanding.


Because, this type of love feels strange to me.