It has been nearly three years, and my withdrawals have subsided.
I can finally recognize how I inhaled love like it was my first lungful of rose-scented air.
I was intoxicated by the highs and the lows. There was never an in-between. I was convinced of the way it expanded me.
Now, I can see right from wrong, good from bad, and my inner signals are getting quicker than ever.
I am self-protective rather than self-destructive.
I still never completely trust.
I am relearning.
Two weeks ago, I received several notebooks from my father as he cleared his attic. I was on the phone with my new partner, showing him all of the intricate details—large, small, magazine scraps, old letters, poems galore.
I always was so creative. I truly admire myself for that.
Photography and English were clearly my favourites.
Flicking through each page and holding onto each corner, I felt shame and betrayal in myself. There was a swell in my stomach as I lay in bed, reading inside my mind from 15 years ago.
It was tough.
The hopes. The wishes. The ideology of what I thought love was since I was 15.
I am not talking about what we were shown on TV. I was taught that vision boards would help me manifest what I wanted.
My eyes teared up as I reflected back on that young girl, the one writing those poems, in the hope that she would have her wishes come true. I thought of all of the transformations that would take place if she continued her creations.
It’s been 15 years of these dreams and visions, but I have yet to have this relationship. What the f*ck is “perfect,” anyway?
I preyed on those I could fix so that I could get mine. I flew toward those I thought I could help. I burdened myself when I couldn’t. (So did they.)
I believe my addiction to love began because I wanted to heal my feelings of abandonment. But, ironically, I only chose those who abandoned me more.
I wrapped myself in the illusion that love had no timeline. I told myself that love was a nonlinear pathway I should look for in my life.
I told myself that trust could be formed in days.
I built the construction around an anxiety-ridden, palpitating heart. Anything outside of its rhythm was not real, pure, or sacred enough for me.
I only lived in moments according to love, which was a fantasy as I look back now. It was a dissociation from the physical, sexual, and verbal toxicity I was used to experiencing.
I felt that, because life was so impermanent, to feel any form of love from someone else was a true gift.
It was until my addiction to love got me stuck in Sri Lanka that I learned. I had flown there with my (ex) partner after six months of travelling back and forth from London, France, India, and Sri Lanka. He had promised things would be different.
Yet, there I was, again, in 2018, still all alone as another person I had loved kicked me aside.
I was still as brave. I made my way. I continued to travel around Asia alone.
Love can feel as deep as the ocean. It can venture across moments with another who makes it feel even deeper.
It can also be transparent; the ocean is still water. It is reflective. It is translucent.
You can see the transparency—if you wish to.
But, my addiction to love is not present in my life anymore. So, I do not believe in the “once an addict, always an addict” mentality. I have healed because I have done the work. I’ve even begun to allow myself into a new relationship.
I am terrified.
But then, I remember how brave I am.
My experiences have shown me more about who I am and what I can and cannot allow for myself.
Stop forcing and start listening, friends.