What does “Love” mean?

Hey guys. I know I’ve been a little MIA for quite some time. I don’t believe much in excuses, but I had a dream last night that gave me the inspiration to write this article. See, writing for me is an outlet. It happens when I become so overwhelmed that I can’t even function. But sometimes, I shut down even further. I won’t go in to all of the obstacles I have faced recently, because I am a pretty private person, but one thing has just really shattered my heart and I know I need to write this.

All the time, you see these quotes about what love means. But they’re generally so vague that it doesn’t seem like anyone put much thought into them. Just gathered a bunch of stereotypes and went about their day. “Love is patient. Love is kind… etc.” “Love is accepting someone for who they are.” I think maybe once I saw something that went a little deeper than that. See love is more than a ‘feeling’ and it goes deeper than single ‘actions’. Love is everything down to the basic interactions you experience with a person every day.

See my mother “loves” me, yet she has disowned me twice this year, with no gaps in between. We have not had a real conversation since the beginning of April. And no, I didn’t do anything to her. I have never (until recently) disrespected her. Growing up, I was almost the perfect child. I got straight A’s (and punished myself more mentally if I didn’t, than she ever could), I did what I was told (I was still a kid, there was a little back talking, but she scared the shit out of me, so I kept it to a minimum), and I never sneaked around or really went through a ‘rebellious teen phase’. But I was very depressed. So much so that I truly didn’t want to be alive anymore. And this was something that I mostly kept to myself because my mother wasn’t a good listener and she didn’t believe that a child knew what ‘stress’ was. Therefore, she believed that it was impossible for me to be upset over anything worth caring about. She also didn’t believe in depression or any other mental illness as far as her children went, so my bi-polar went untreated until about a year ago. To put that in to perspective, I am 22 years old. Now, I did have my dad who I knew was there for me, but I was still limited on what I could share with him, because it always made its way back to my mother. She often got very angry when I tried to talk about my depression and my anxiety for that matter. But enough back story, I think you get the point.

Anyway, my mother was really big on my brother and I going to college. He was a college drop out after 2 days of attending, and she pretty much gave up on him after forcing me to help her complete his course work for the rest of the semester (on top of my AP and Honors courses I was taking for my senior year of high school). I took a bit of a unintended 2 year hiatus from school after my high school graduation, but managed to take a semester fall of 2014, to get my college going. Due to mental health issues and other personal problems I ended up dropping out spring of 2015 midway through the year. So I tried again this past spring and had to drop out due to financial problems. So because I dropped out again, my mother stopped speaking to me. Her logic was that without school I would always work dead end jobs (I’ve been in management since I was 18) and never be able to pay my bills or get out of debt. My logic is that if I don’t pay my bills now then going to college would be like jumping off a plane without a parachute because I wouldn’t be able to work part time and go to school, because that would be enough money for my car payment, phone bill, car insurance, health insurance, credit cards, rent, electric, food and gas. And when you are your only source of income, those things require more than the wages earned on a part-time job. And while I know there are those amazing people out there that can work full time and go to school, I am not one of them. Especially not with my list of mental health issues. So not seeing eye to eye, she decided it was best to X me out of her life. Whatever… So now, I found out I am pregnant. I’m about 11 weeks in, and honestly I’m so overwhelmed with happiness and love. But, I have been disowned for that on top of dropping out of school at this point, and by more than just her. But you know what, I’m glad. Because now I know who truly loves me, and I know what love is. Yeah, I can finally, actually, and honestly say that statement.

Love is being there for someone despite their flaws, or what you perceive as flaws in them. Love is supporting them so long as they are trying to do better. Love is understanding that sometimes life, and one’s inexperience at it, leads to poor decision making and mistakes not easily, or possible to be, fixed, but standing by them through it because EVERYONE fucks up. Love is not judging someone for the way they choose to live their life, or what makes them happy, just because it is not the image YOU have for what a happy life looks like. Love is not condescending someone for being intelligent, or more intelligent than you, and then beating them down more harshly when they fuck up. (All I hear is hurtful phases like “You just think you know everything, but you don’t!” No shit Sherlock! I never fucking claimed to! Stop putting your insecurity and fear of inferiority on me.) Love is not talking negatively about someone to other people that ‘love’ them. You’re not going to solve anything by talking shit. All that does is get two+ people who have no idea what they’re talking about, bouncing ideas off of each other, often times making things seem worse than they are, and coming up with the most inaccurate view points of the person in question’s actions and life, and then creating worse feelings towards them, instead of just talking to the person directly and saying, “Hey, what’s wrong? You know I’m here for you in case you need anything.” AND THEN ACTUALLY FUCKING BE THERE. Love is trying to understand someone and their choices, even if you never will. It’s making that extra effort to show you really care. And love is unconditional.

My heart is truly broken at this point. I suffered a lot of mental and emotional abuse from my mother growing up, and despite that, I have always loved her, and have always done everything I could for her, so long as it was mentally healthy for me to do so. I’ve done my best to be a ‘good kid’. But the love I received has always come with conditions. Now that I’m going to be a mother myself, I’ve made a very tough decision(as advised by many therapists over the years, but that I could never bring myself to do). I am removing everyone from my life who does love me in the way defined above. I’m bringing this new life into the world on a fresh slate for me, mentally. I know I’m not going to be the perfect mother, and I know I’m going to make mistakes, but I am going to love my child completely and without condition, in every way, and hope that maybe that could save my child from ever feeling the way my mother has made me feel all these years.

When I started writing this, I didn’t intend for it to turn into a “Mother bashing session” so in closing, I would like to list a few things my mother did to help me be the person I am today. My mother never compared me to other people (aside from my brother, but that was only in the early years of my life), because she didn’t care if I was THE best, so long as I did MY best. She, as well as my aunts and dad, taught me that nothing in life is free. That if I wanted something, it was my responsibility to do the work to earn it. She, as well as my dad, taught me, that you can’t put 100% of your trust in everyone you meet. She, as well as my dad, taught me to be hardworking and honest, and to stand up for myself. She, as well as my dad, taught me that sometimes things are really hard and it seems like it’s never gonna end, but if you just give it time, all things end. And you’ll be stronger for it.

Until next time.

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