2020: When Keeping Your Distance is Loving

I am late.  I have been running behind on my  “I have learnt” blogging  challenge to myself which was inspired by a reading of Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho’s  blog post  earlier this year. The blog lists 24 universal truths he (or someone who wrote them) has learnt.

After going through the list, I thought it would be interesting for me to write about each one and explore whether any of them hold true for me or what I have learnt in my own life.  The last ten blogs including this one have been about this list.

While I can truthfully say that I have found resonance in  many of them – writing a blog based on this list has been extremely challenging for me and I have been quitting  every week.

Each line has got me in my feels. They have touched a nerve, brushed on scars I thought had healed.  I am disappointed to discover that I still have a lot of healing work to do.

This weeks’s truism is no different;

10. I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they have.

I have been delaying writing about this;  telling myself I don’t have to write it actually, that it doesn’t matter,  that nobody would notice if I didn’t write, that it is honestly a waste of time, that nobody really cares or wants to know about things I’ve learnt from my sordid life.

Yet, I could not keep his voice out of my head. His words ran circles around my mind  “I wish I never met you!!”  his screams echoed over and over and over, like a saddistic version of Roasin Murphy’s Over&Over  lyrics in Moloko’s (2003) Statues album.

“I regret the day I sat next you and tried to be your friend” he said, exasperation dripping down the sweat on his forehead.

“Why aren’t you dead yet?” he asked incredulously.

“You’re not sorry, you’re a manipulative, selfish bitch; it’s all about you, you, you! You never think about anyone but yourself – why does everything have to be about you, you, you all the fucken damn time!” he yelled.

“You are greedy! You want everything, what sort of person are you?”

I was drowning, shrinking, drawing inward, cringing, suffocating in a gas chamber of my own making.  Re-living that day, those days, one after the other, night and day, day and night. Until I could not take it anymore.  I was exhausted. Spent.  “You are right” I said. And he was. “I concede”

“What were you thinking? his blood shot eyes threw darts at mine, blinding me. “Did you think that after this you and I would  ride off into the sunset and be together? and  live happily ever after? why can’t you get it through your god-damned head? I don’t love you!!! Not like that!!!”

It was a familiar feeling. I have been here, there many times before. No one has ever loved me like that. I was in a loop I could not break free from – no matter how hard I tried.

We’ve all been conditioned to think that love means we should be physically close to those we love.  Some of us have grown up believing that our mothers or fathers did not love us because they were not there, at home,  with us all the time.

But it turns out that we were wrong. They loved us more than we could have ever imagined. Going away from us (to earn a living or for whatever reason ) was the most loving thing they could do for us at the time. Despite their flaws and imperfections now with 2020 vision; when we are alone by ourselves we can admit that despite what we thought of them, then and now; the truth is they were loving us with all they had.

If you think my conclusion is a little twisted: think of today. The entire world is learning that keeping your distance from most people is probably the best way you can demonstrate just how much you love them.   Thanks to COVID-19.


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