I know some pretty amazing people. I know the kind of people that I just love to sit down with and listen to their musings on love, life, and everything in between. They offer such wisdom. One such person is my great friend, Marc. Marc is a really cool and funny guy. He also happens to be wise. He’s that friend who gets on me for being single. He loves to tell me, “You know how it pisses me off to see you as great as you are, yet you’re single. And then I see all these crap women out with good guys? Put yourself out there woman!” I laugh. And I laugh because I’ve always found it amusing that he’s more bothered by my single status than I am.

The truth of it is though, I like being single. And I’m the type of person who likes to have myself together before I decide to partner with somebody. And right now, I’m just not as together as I’d like to be. Hence, why I’m pulling an Al B. Sure! and getting off on my own, Girl, Girl, Girl!

But this isn’t about romantic love. Nope. It’s  about love, but not about love coupling with another for the purpose of romantic partnership. It’s about the everyday love we have for ourselves and our families.  In the time since my dad has passed, I have experienced tremendous heartbreak. Not simply because my dad died, but because other relationships died as well. Relationships that I held as sacred passed away almost immediately after my dad passed. And it seemed to become more of a reveal of the truth than anything else. People I loved with everything that I have betrayed me in horrendous ways. One such person was the last person I would have ever thought would hurt me. It pained me to realize that the betrayal by that person wasn’t a fluke, but more something she’d been itching to do probably my entire life. That meant the entire 30 years of our relationship were a lie. Every kiss, every embrace, every uttered “I love you,” has been just a ploy to keep me from realizing the truth. This person doesn’t like me very much, much less love me. So yeah, I’ve been heart broken for quite a while. The heartbreak has actually damaged me more than I realized. I did what I tend to do best when I go into defense mode. I retreated. And I retreated in an unconscious way. I really thought I was still putting myself out there. But I wasn’t. I was keeping myself at arms length from people because I didn’t think I could bear the pain of that type of heartbreak again. It was too much. It hurt too doggone bad and to be honest, I feel like I’ve had enough of pain for a while. I’m on a Sabbatical from pain and heartache. The problem when you take a Self Sabbatical from pain and heartbreak is that you close yourself off. Yeah, you eliminate your chances of being hurt, but you also eliminate your chances for experiencing joy.

Enter my friend, Marc. We were simply talking one day about a month ago, and he looked at me and said, as only he can say,

“Woman, what are you doing? Do you know what a gift you are to people? Do you know that you are robbing people when you decide to keep to yourself?” After I gave a half-hearted nod, he continued on. “Je’Niece, look here’s the simple truth. You’re going to meet a lot of people in your life. Cause you still have a lot of life left. And I promise you that some of those people are going to be assholes and hurt you. But they’re just a minority. You’re also going to meet some wonderful people who will see you and celebrate you, and love you for being who you are. You can’t live in fear of being hurt because the truth is you will be hurt. You will absolutely get hurt. You already have been. And you survived. So you know that you will survive another but you’ll also be loved and enjoyed. So stop worrying and paying attention to the few and put yourself out there. The world is waiting for you.”

Well damn! What could I say to that? Nothing. I could say absolutely nothing. And I didn’t say anything. I simply nodded my head in agreement. Ok, I think I shed a few tears too. Fun fact about me: I’m a thinker. When confronted with a loving truth, I will ponder it for a while. And this incident was no different. I thought about what Marc said (you see I said this was about a month ago).  And I thought some more about it, and I’ve concluded that he was–no is–correct.

The truth is, I have been hurt before and survived. And while the heartbreak is a most unpleasant feeling, it’s no excuse for allowing fear to rule my life. At this point, the pain is no longer there. Yes, I have the memories of it. But the pain doesn’t exist anymore. When I see the person who broke my heart, the one thing I’m quite clear on is that I love this person. While I hate the way this person has (and actually still continues to) treated me, I recognize that it’s because of her own issues and it has nothing to do with me. I wish she knew what I knew. Perhaps then we could have the relationship I thought we’d always had—or an even better one. But we don’t, and we can’t. And while it’s not my desired outcome, I know it’s ok. Marc is right. I’m going to meet new people, some of whom will hurt me. But others will not. And I now know enough to know that I can forge new relationships with those people who will not hurt, but instead will love me and accept me. And that’s exciting.