I Love Differently Because Of You
I love with my walls completely broken down because with you, I never felt comfortable enough to feel vulnerable. I always felt timid around you. I felt like I had to always walk around on eggshells. I felt like I had to hide my voice and store away my emotions because anything I felt, anything I needed, and anything I felt I deserved, you made me feel was insignificant. I love differently now because of you. I shout what I want out of life. I don’t quiver at the thought of raising my voice, or standing up for myself even if I have to risk the possibility that I’ll be standing alone. I’m with someone now who rejects that possibility. I share love with someone who never makes me question who is standing beside me, who is rooting for me, and who thinks that any dream I have is more than plausible. I love differently because of you.
I’m no longer afraid that my opinions will shatter what little foundation you and I actually had together. My voice made your ears bleed because you were never in the mood for what I wanted to say. You convinced yourself that you had really tried in our relationship. You played the victim over and over and over again and somehow I became the bad guy for telling you I needed actual love. I needed love that made me feel safe. I needed love that made me feel like I was worth something to you. I needed love that didn’t make me question who I was because you tried so hard to take over my identity. I felt so worthless because of you and why? Why would you kiss me, date me, and tell me I was pretty just so you could rip all those comforts away from me? Do you feel good about yourself? Do you feel good over the fact that I cried over you for months at the time? Do you find comfort in my pain? Do you feel rewarded that you broke me down and beat me down to the point where I thought I’d never find love again?
I convinced myself I deserved the kinds of love that were chock-full of emotional abuse. I still chose guys who fed me every line in the book. It was never me that was the problem, it was always them. They fed me that line time and time again. They were so consumed with work and had been hurt by every other woman in their lives that they were too fragile to try out love again. I was the one who was too fragile because I was the one who was still running away from any true chance at happiness. I love differently because of you, because for many years after you, I loved without ever being loved back.
I had to push my way through to find a good one. I had to go against every natural instinct to fall for the guy who smiled at me because he was genuinely happy. I didn’t trust when he told me I was beautiful. I didn’t trust when he said he loved my imperfections. I didn’t trust when he said he was attracted to my thick curves, or to my funny jokes. I didn’t trust that he loved me for me because for all that time, you taught me to love differently. You taught me that love wasn’t really love, it was control.
I love differently because of you because now, all these years later, I’ve finally learned what love is and what love isn’t. Love isn’t controlling or manipulative. Love doesn’t leave you feeling ashamed. Love doesn’t leave you feeling lonely. Love makes you feel taken care of. Love makes you feel secure, beautiful, and capable. Love secures you and, for any woman reading this who feels the same way I did, I hope you find a love that anchors you. I love differently because of you, because you taught me the difference between what we had, and what I truly deserved. I kind of thank you for that.
by Courtney Dercqu