I would liken love to an onion. An unusual metaphor I know but bear with me and read until the end!
I have had many failed relationships in my life and I feel a tremendous sense of guilt for them not working out. I blame myself for most of the fall out and find it difficult to make sense of the events leading up to the initial break up. It’s only now that I am starting to feel in a position to forgive myself a little and realise that everything happens for a reason, however cliched that might seem. My heartbreaks have been felt so deeply and as anyone who has experienced break ups will understand that I often felt a profound sense of grief, akin to a death. I missed my best friend, my confidante, my lover, my soul mate and my other half it is a loss so deep that I sadly lost who I was. How could it be that one day we were happy and so in love the next we seemed to be growing apart, then we began falling out and in conflict and finally we were simply sad, severed and separated, torn apart with our incompatibility. I would drown in a sea of tears and heartfelt sadness.
I am a sensitive soul and with every painful end to a love story I would chastise myself for trusting too deeply, for giving too much and surrendering my sense of self each time to a stranger and making promises we couldn’t keep. Every time I have been single, I became a stronger, better version of myself and dusted myself of and did plenty of self-work vowing never to make the same mistake again and lose sight of who I was to the toxicity of obsessive love. It’s taken a lot of heartache and hindsight for me to realise that I have to live independently not co-dependently. My apparent love addiction for quite a while was that I would fall overwhelmingly in love and offer up too much of myself to another and became almost addicted to the cyclical pain that would inevitably arrive. A wise soul once gifted me a book called “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm and it is almost too painful to read! I think maybe it’s time to re-read it as it examines the theory and the art of loving in the western world, everything from family love to exotic love. It’s a very insightful read for the seekers amongst you.
I wouldn’t say I have the perfect relationship because everything takes work. I have replaced high drama peaks and troughs with a slow and steady gas mark five kind of love that would have sounded incredibly boring in my twenties but suits me perfectly for my thirties. The words reliable, dependable, trustworthy would have been rebuked by my former self but this level of authenticity is exactly what I need to keep me sane. For many years I have been like Pegasus flying too close to the sun, my relationships were intense, dramatic, romantic, passionate, exciting but like a lit match they unfortunately couldn’t last the long-term and fizzled out.
Here’s how the onion metaphor works. Consider this:
There’s multiple layers to peel away, the outer layers flake away relatively easily and don’t cause much damage but don’t reveal much to the naked eye either. Although a deep incision to the heart of the bulb with a sharp knife invariably produces long lasting tears that scratch and sting for long after the initial event. A perfect onion is cooked slowly and gently, simmering in shiny, golden butter to a caramelised honey, wholesome and sweet. But always be careful how you cook it as too much intense heat can burn it’s delicate flesh until it turns to a brittle, black and bitter powder like scorched cinder toffee.