Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Love Of Your Own

Is it Valentine’s Day already? It seems like we were just celebrating the birth of 2009 and then the birth of a new and improved nation with the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

But here we are on February 14th and if you’re a mom or dad with young children (like me) you probably spent some time this week wading through the aisles of Target or Walmart picking out just the right Valentine’s Day cards and candy that will be handed out in school. Now, the rule is to bring a card for every student. Most teachers even send home a list of every child’s name in the class to ensure that no one is left out. Everything is fair and balanced lest some little boy or girl end up on a psychiatrist’s couch with tales of low self esteem and lack of self love.

If only real grown up love was so fair and balanced. But in a grown up love relationship, you know that you can give a lot and get nothing in return. You can give nothing and be overwhelmed by the attention and generosity of someone who won’t go away. Real grown up love comes in different shapes, colors, flavors and levels of intensity. There are no rules for real grown up love. No instructions, No guarantees. And a lot of times it leaves us feeling empty or less than worthy. And real love does not discriminate. It’s not just the regular folks that deal with issues of the heart.

In the past few weeks some high profile, grown up love got almost everyone’s attention.

Erykah Badu gave birth this month to a baby girl named Mars. It is Erykah’s third child and they each have different fathers. If Erykah was a co-worker in the mail department most people would call her ghetto. But I spoke to a woman yesterday who said it might be better for Erykah to have babies with different men that she really loves than to stay in a bad relationship with one man and have several babies. She said that maybe the children will be spared the pain of divorce or the angst of living in a house where mommy and daddy are fighting every day. Maybe Erykah’s love for children surpasses her desire to be involved in a traditional relationship with one man. Or maybe she doesn’t love herself enough to wait for the person she deserves. Who knows but it’s something to think about?

Next up: Through the miracle of medical science mixed with irresponsibility and mental illness, a woman who claimed to have big love for children gave birth to octuplets. What started out as an amazing story quickly turned into a train wreck most of us couldn’t stop watching. Through artificial insemination she’d already had six other children bringing the grand total to 14. It easy to throw out the word crazy when looking at all this woman went through to fill her home with children, but it’s deeper than that. Her mother says was a lonely child so in some twisted way may have thought that house full of children would fulfill her emptiness. And though the majority of us would not go to that extreme, I would dare say that at one time or another all of us have tried to use something to fill an empty space in our lives our are hearts…money, food, drugs, sex,

Then finally, in a matter of days Chris Brown and Rihanna went from being one of Hollywood’s hottest celebrity couples to the poster children for domestic abuse. Whether you believe the rumors or not – parents had a lot of explaining to do. Tweeners who follow them got a crash course in words like herpes and assault and battery. Conversations were had all across the country about safe sex and safer love; explaining that physical, mental or verbal abuse never add up and that abuse cancels out love in every equation.

It’s no secret that love can show up hand in hand with craziness, irresponsibility, unhealthiness, and violence. I guess it is particularly interesting that we think that love should be some great struggle. That if we fight hard enough to keep it, love will never stray.

But when you place all of your love chips on someone else - there are no guarantees. There is no guarantee that at the end of the day, after all of the work you have done, you are either going to get a partner, have a relationship, or save the relationship you are in.

The only guarantee comes when you invest the time and energy into making sure that you are a receptacle ready to give and receive love with out conditions and strings.

You cannot move toward finding and loving yourself, just for the sake of finding and loving someone else. You must do it for the sake of doing it. You must love, honor, and respect you for the sake of it - no strings or conditions attached. There should be no fine print.

It is when you are now ready to be with yourself rather than by yourself that you understand the true, full experience of love. It is then that you are ready to extend that love to someone else. It is then that you can write your own love story, instead of subscribe to someone else’s. How cool is that?

So whether today you are loving on yourself, someone else or have multiple Valentines like myself - again I say, Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS. Multiple Valentines = two little boys named Tyler and Willis. Get your mind out of the gutter! LOL

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