Fail?

I need to clarify a couple things.

First, I’m not a crone. Not yet. I’m still hanging onto my forties by my fingernails, but I think of myself as much older. Many factors have contributed to that tendency, but it is what it is. Okay.

Second, I don’t think being a crone is a bad thing. I like the word. I want to be called one when I grow up, because, to me, that word embodies a kind of kick-ass, vital, sharp old woman who sees through the world’s bullshit and isn’t afraid of any of it.

So,why did I feel compelled address that? It shouldn’t matter whether I’m forty or ninety. After I posted yesterday, though, I kept hearing that nagging voice in my head all day telling me that I wasn’t being honest. I claimed that poem as being about me, but I’m not there yet. I’m only feeling older than I am. I haven’t yet lived into that kind of fierce acceptance of myself and others.

That feeling fed into another: I’ve failed myself. I’ve failed, because I can’t think of anything else to write about love. Eight posts into the month, twelve more to go, and I’m stumped. Is it really that hard to find twenty things to say about love? How damaged am I?

I was journaling last night, trying to shake loose some ideas, when I realized that I really haven’t been thinking about love at all lately. I’ve been thinking about what I could write about love. Ah. Big difference. It’s no wonder that blogging was starting to feel like a school assignment. I had set myself a task and all those old habits kicked in. My brain has been struggling to generate ideas, while my heart has been tucked in on the couch watching Super Soul Sunday.

What can I say about love?
It’s not what I thought it was when I was nineteen. That was hormones.
It can lurk in the background of your life, still providing support even if you can’t see it.
Its fierceness can take you by surprise when someone you love is threatened or hurt.
It’s liquid—it wells up, it swells with the tides, it takes the shape of whatever container you keep it in.
It can be easier to give than to receive.

I don’t know much about love. The interpersonal, romantic connections that I’ve always called love are such a small part of this force. They’re the tendrils that curl around us, but break easily. I think when I stopped believing in love, it was because I had no idea what love actually is. I was concentrating on the bonds I had with others, the way they made me feel, those small connections that we use to define ourselves in this world. What I wanted was the deep love that truly is unconditional, that infuses all life, that accepts you just as you are. I wanted the love that mystics talk about. I wanted the love that people who have near-death experiences talk about. I wanted the love that people who claim enlightenment talk about.

I think I’ve glimpsed it, felt it for a moment here or there—once when I was alone on a beach, another time when I was gazing at stars. The feeling was fleeting, but there. There must be other moments, some of them undoubtedly wrapped in those very same connections with others that I often fail to understand.

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