“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”— Anaïs Nin
Anais Nin was right. For some time fear has affected my ability to love, the way I love, who I love, sometimes even how long I love them (if the “love” was ever really there to begin with). I’ve been able to acknowledge this personal truth for some time and have analyzed the concept to death with some resolve. I have been able to attribute it (to some degree) to my discomfort with the societal paradigms that dictate how my life should be lived, rarely taking into account who I truly am. I don’t think I am alone in this place, but I do find myself isolated at times when I ask the questions that challenge the status quo.
What I have chosen to do in order to address this issue is to take time and understand myself, what I need and value. What does love look and feel like to me? This is imperative because sometimes the world seems like it is working overtime to cheapen what love truly is and reduce it to a symbol that was recovered from a mine, or roses that were plucked to die, or sex which can be a manifestation of love, but in modern times rarely is discussed as such. They reduce love to a stream of actions and words and less of a way of being which has succeeded in confusing people (sometimes I am one of them).
Women are running around believing that a man will buy them a house if they love them or a ring resembling a small ice-cube, while men are convincing themselves that because she doesn’t offer to give massages or cook for him or give him sex on a regular, she doesn’t love him. To me, love is very personal. So much so that it cannot be defined by some global standard of tokens, talismans, and superficial expressions. Love is a body of emotions that shapes and defines me, so who I open myself up to is important. Not just what they represent or the lifestyle they can afford me, but who they are inside. Hence the anxiety. We are anxious because we have challenges being true to our own personal definitions of love. Perhaps we don’t know ourselves enough to uncover this personal definition, or maybe we know, and are too afraid of judgement to personify that truth because it is in opposition to what we have been socialized to believe.
What I know is that I am on the one who has to walk the steps of this woman I have become, and I have to live out the repercussions of the decisions that I make, so it seem only wise to be truly responsible and accountable for the life that I live as well as the love I give and receive. Doing so, will enable me to be true to myself which in many cases will diminish the fear overtime because true fear should come in living a life based on other’s wishes, and not my own.