The Shit Side of Love
Updated: Apr 3
There is a song called “Bad Side” by Iyla. Her lyrics say it all, “The trash side of love. The crass side of love. The mad side of love.” If you have read my posts, it’s no mystery to realize that much of my healing has been from relationships. In this process I have had to define, redefine and reexamine countless times what love is and what it has been for me. So far, I'm with Iyla, more trash and crass than what I was raised to believe love is.
In the past year and a half, I struggled with my belief in love. After taking one of the boldest steps I ever have and telling someone in the permanence of a written letter that I love them and the depths in which it transcends for me, I was met with the reality that life and love don’t come into my life when I want them. The universe had other plans and although the love existed, it didn’t formulate into something tangible that I could hold onto or more importantly that held on to me.
I came from a home of love. My mother and father met truly through the universe’s conspiracy of bringing two people who were in such different worlds into each others lives. They both gave each other the love that was missing in their lives. Then they came together against odds, national and value differences and forged their own world. I always imagined one day I too would have that. There would be someone who wanted to build a life with love, respect and friendship at the center of our union and the people we love or brought into the world around us.
I tried it once with someone the universe threw in my path and I was determined to make it work. Compelled to love him so much that my love would be enough to build the home and family I thought we both hoped for. We did bring people into the world, we did have many people we loved around us. But outside of intermittent moments or days, being in that dynamic was the shit side of love for me.
Fast Forward to my bold and best decision ever to walk away and carve a new life, path and world for myself, and love was not central in my thoughts. I wasn’t thinking about meeting a man and finding new love, I was surviving and healing. But then it happened to be that I walked into a tiny bar down the street from my home on Superbowl Sunday of 2019 and into a new experience my heart was not prepared to navigate but was so eager to try.
The story of this dynamic has so many layers, twists and turns and truthfully still possibly unwritten chapters. It also has had some lessons. Ones that I struggled to see when I was in the thick of the crass side and mad side of love and emotions.
For the first time in my life, I felt seen and valued and loved as a person. It wasn’t outright and open adoration or love and by many respects it was the minimalist of effort and maybe what many would and have seen as being taken for granted. They weren’t wrong, but they also were not entirely right. I was definitely giving more, loving harder, showing up consistently and he knew I would be there. No matter what he did or how far he went, when he returned I would open the door and welcome him back. Often without questioning the absence or asking for answers.
Similar to my marriage of 17 years, this is a trajectory I have to take ownership for as well. Not entirely, because he knew what he was doing and still chose to sacrifice my peace for his ego. But I gave him the space and opportunity to do so and didn’t hold my boundaries or heart at a higher standard. So he got all of me and I got pieces of him on his accord and will.
Iyla’s words say it all.
“I’m two feet in, you're one foot out.
We took the steps, but you led with doubt.
I fill you up, rain on your drought
You drink me in, but you drown me out”
Yes, so it was in many ways the wack side of love.
Yet, it was also the most beautiful feeling my heart had ever felt and despite its inconsistency, I felt the genuineness in my soul. And the truth is my soul has always known, I may not have listened, but I knew when someone was for me and when their words and energy were incongruent. I always knew my husband didn’t love me, he loved the idea of a wife and playing a role.
This man loved me. He didn’t know how to make that love a reality and maybe didn’t really want to, but his emotions for me were authentic and honest even if his words and actions were not.
What I experienced for the first time was being seen and heard by a man. I had only known men whose egos were so massive, they couldn’t and didn’t care to make a space for me in their minds or hearts.
This love was different, This man was different. He knew who I was because the space he created allowed me to let down my guard I hold so tight to my chest with the way I have been loved in the past. He brought out the softness and playfulness I didn’t even know existed within me. I felt seen and sexy. His touch, his look and his words reminded me of my power and presence without feeling the need to put me down and be in competition with my light. I had never had that before. In the past, my brightness was something to be dulled and dimmed for fear that it would outshine them. He created a space and in doing so, led me to my purpose and path.
This love, although it cut me at times, and left painful wounds I still have to heal, also grew me in ways no one ever had. He became my safe haven for being able to be all the parts of who I was in my complexity. My weak points, my dark sides of my ego, my struggles of not being enough for myself and others in my life. I was safe ( even if I wasn’t). This is what the shit side of love is, it’s the kind of love you can’t hold onto, but you also struggle to let go because it gave you something you were not looking for. It’s almost like chasing a high to experience the euphoria that gave you that sense of peace again.
So what is love for me now? It’s all the beautiful parts of what I got a taste of combined with a man who is strong enough and ready to know how to hold on to it and me when he enters my life. It's peace, friendship, laughter, comfort, patience, growth, respect and kindness.
When I sat down to write this, I wasn’t sure how I felt about love or pain, but as I took the words from my mind and captured them here for the world to read and learn, I know that I was given a blessing and gift to ignite the possibility of what love could feel like when I finally find the one for me. And in my lessons of the shit side, I know that I will keep my boundaries up, hold my standards high and accept nothing less than what I have deserved and give out to others this next time around and maybe I’ll see the pure side of love instead of the perspectives I’ve known.