I’m Glad I Didn’t Give Up on Love
Sometimes, love simply takes time.
There was a quote that resonated with me since the time I had seen it, that went something like, “I have given up on love plenty of times, but love has never given up on me.” Ville Vallo from HIM, a Finnish rock band, is credited with that inspirational statement. For the longest time, I had given up on love too. I was certain that I would never meet a single person who loved me in the way I loved them—wholly, passionately, and without doubt. After having been in a few abusive relationships and experiencing sexual harassment and abuse, I declared to myself that I was done.
Besides, I needed to learn how to love myself again.
It took nearly a decade to right the wrongs, to bring myself back from the brink, and to finally say I love myself the way I am. It took pulling myself up from financial struggles, out of the umbrage of mental and physical illness, and coming to terms with past trauma.
Then, at the beginning of this year, I had this strange notion that I was going to meet someone important, the One, so to speak. I didn’t know when I would meet this person, only that it would be after my 4-month trip through Europe was finished.
Lo and behold, I did. It just wasn’t where I expected it to happen. In fact, I had forgotten about that strange flicker of intuition telling me that someone was waiting for me, somewhere. But the moment I saw this person, I was entranced.
He walked into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym on the evening of my first class, running behind schedule and flustered. He was slightly brusque, but then I was pointed out by the head coach and he seemed to fall silent. Within , there was a faint flare of recognition that I knew this person from somewhere. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it. What I felt wasn’t anything like love at first sight. It was plain curiosity. Once the head coach told me a bit of the guy’s backstory, revealing a streak of respect, I was all the more intrigued and found myself uncharacteristically wanting to speak with this person who’d captured my interest.
It took a few classes at the BJJ gym before he decided to call me over and work with me… and that first learning roll with him was different than all the rest. I’d been nervous up to that point about working with someone other than the head coach, but when I was working with him, any anxiety and PTSD I’d been dealing with was wiped away completely.
Then we started talking.
Next, he asked for my phone number and the chance to meet up on a Saturday for more drilling and practice rolls.
Before I knew it, we were sitting across from one another at a restaurant, talking about our lives, laughing and smiling.
Flash forward several weeks to the point where we look at one another in the eyes and admit our love for one another. Already, the future with him is clear. The two of us want similar things, have nearly identical goals. Already, I feel myself willing to give up some of my precious alone time to spend more seconds at his side. The two of us desire moments at one another’s side, no matter where we are. To me, there is an alien inside my chest that is overwhelming me with a realization that I really do love him.
The two of us were alarmed by the celerity at which we put a name to what we feel for one another.
Oddly, we came into one another’s lives right at that moment when we were fine within ourselves but on that slope of depression, where it felt like nothing was going to change despite our efforts. Right then, our paths finally crossed and words were exchanged.
After all these years of having lives that wove in and out of one another’s, we finally met for real. We went to the same kindergarten and elementary school. I was one year ahead of him, though. We have a lot of the same friends and acquaintances. We frequented the same locations.
But all it took to have this man come into my life was the realization that I am complete, happy, and free within myself. I don’t need him to complete me, but I want him by my side. I don’t need someone else to love me, but when he loves me, I feel like nothing can stop me.
I’m so glad I didn’t give up on love.
And you don’t have to either.
If you’re struggling to find love, don’t give up. Love exists in everything and everyone. It is within the interstices of light and darkness. It dances in the early morning sunlight and in the blackness between the stars. Love isn’t always blatant or in-your-face. It can be coy or timid. Sometimes, it’s a tiny, sputtering flame dwelling deep within your chest. You need to breathe life in completely to give that smoldering fire back its heat.
Once you learn how to love yourself, you will feel stronger and more confident. You won’t be searching for a missing piece, because you’re already whole. Instead, you will find another puzzle that complements your own unique perspective. Even when your pieces get jumbled together, your two individual images simply blend harmoniously.
Once you learn that you are enough within yourself, you will find a person who doesn’t ask you to be something you’re not. They will see you as full cup, and they will swallow little sips of your life. You can sustain them, and they will sustain you—but the two of you will never drain one another completely.
But I will say it again: Even if you give up for a time on finding love, it is a force that works in mysterious ways, just like the universe. Love finds a way.