Monday, October 6, 2008

We'll love you just the way you are, if you're perfect

I keep thinking that I will wake up one day and know everything I need to know about life. I keep thinking if I get the answers that I'm searching for, I will officially be grown up and I can finally stop looking around corners and wishing on stars and questioning everything. When things are confusing for me, I want explanations that comfort me. When the explanations are at best unsatisfactory, I want to throw them back and ask for something more to my liking.

I have a very disconnected relationship with my family. We can go months without speaking to one another and then I'll crack because a voice in my head will tell me that the normal thing to do is call or email them because that's how I think it's done with most people. I see my husband calling his parents every week and there's a part of me that thinks it's foreign to want to talk to your parents that much. I never begrudge him those phone calls, but I do listen closely to his end of the conversation to get an idea of how it's done because that sort of easiness does not come naturally to me and I learn by watching and listening. Still, when I talk to anyone in my family, I need to shut myself off somewhere so that no one hears me. I have this forced friendliness with them that I don't want anyone to witness because I really hate phoneys and I feel like I'm being one.

I wonder a lot about unconditional love. I think it's a great idea, but I question how many of us truly love unconditionally or if we love hoping that we get something in return for our love. I think secretly we love hoping to get some of that love back. I think the hardest lesson I keep learning is that you cannot make people love you in the way you might need them to love you and so you settle for what they're willing to give because having a little of what you need seems better than having nothing at all.

When I first married my husband, my parents did something very hurtful to both of us. A couple of years ago (the last time we visited them), I guess my father took my husband aside and apologized for their behavior. My husband did not tell me this until just recently and my first reaction was..."Why didn't he apologize to ME???" but I know the answer to that already. It's because we cannot be real with one another. I am still indignant over this mostly because I carry around the way they've hurt me everywhere and it would be nice if I could hear those words so that I can chuck that sack of sorry's and be done with them for good. I am not ashamed to tell you that the messages they sometimes send me, sometimes break my heart.

There has never been a moment when I've doubted their love for me but love is a complicated thing. I've always feared that I would end up being like them, and there are times when I am certain I have. I catch myself saying things I know they've said to me and I catch myself wanting the love I give out to come back to me which means I am not giving it freely with no strings attached. I love with expectations and conditions and a scorecard that measures if I'm getting back what I put in.

I think I will always love imperfectly.

I think I will never know all there is to know about life.