The Desire to Be Loved and the 1,000 Ways that Feels

I am a lover.  I love people wholly and truly.

I can be a little bit stingy as far as who I begin to love, but once you’re in, you’re in, and I will be happy every time you walk through the door.  I will miss you when you are gone and I will tell you as much.  I will sing your praises to your face and behind your back.  I will thank you for loving me more than you are probably used to.

I am lucky to be able to love the most incredible people- my family, my classmates, my coworkers, my friends, my mentors, and even some people who would call themselves my acquaintances, but over whom I find myself particularly enthused.

But I still don’t have a lover. A real lover.

Being LDS constrains you to be preoccupied with love and marriage, and, at the same time, be incredibly picky over who you’ll embark on that love and marriage journey with.  I am almost to the end of my 20s- long past my expected window of marrying and family starting.  I’ve been at just about every point on the “How Much Do I Care Spectrum”- from the extreme of crying myself to sleep to the other extreme of seeing freedom and flexibility as preferable to security and stability.

But most of the time, I find ways to deal with being alone.  Not totally alone, but alone in what can feel like the only way the matters.  I set goals, I busy myself, I work hard at things, I try to be outward-focused, I make long-term plans under the assumption that I will be alone forever and get excited about them.  For most of the minutes in a day, being *that* kind of loved doesn’t feel all that imperative.

But sometimes it does.  And it feels so many different ways.

It feels like excitement when he goes out of his way to talk to you or when he asks for your number.

It feels like disappointment when he never calls or texts.

It feels like success when he does.

It feels like hope when you’re getting ready for your date.

It feels like jealousy when you see him talking to another girl.

It feels like surrender when you realize they’re a “thing”.

It feels like despair when you can’t stop from believing that it’s because something is wrong with you.

It feels like a good kind of pain when you catch a glimpse of his arrestingly handsome smile from across the room.

It feels like regret when you realize your mistakes.

It feels like fun when you have a good time together.

It feels like safety when he keeps his word.

It feels like betrayal when he doesn’t.

It feels like peace when he’s there for the good and for the bad.

It feels like guilt when he leaves your home too late at night.

It feels like shame when you see him in church the next day.

It feels like importance when you realize that you’re the one he really wants.

It feels like sorrow when you realize you’re not.

It feels like loss when you are the one who has to end it.

It feels like freedom when you can start looking for someone better.

On many occasions, as I’ve thought myself to be a “strong independent woman who don’t need no man”, I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks to be reminded that while I may not need a man, I want a man.  And I want that more than nearly anything else.  I could give speeches on self-fulfillment and self-actualization and the idea that if you’re not happy without him, you’ll never be happy with him, but I would soon be humbled by some reminder that I’m just a woman, just a human, just a lover.  Those reminders are strong enough to jolt me every time. Every time it feels like I’m waking up to who I really am.

President Boyd K. Packer once referred to “the full blown rapture of young love”.  Rapture is “a feeling of intense pleasure or joy”.  What other experiences are there that we can really call a rapture?  Not many, I submit.

There have been moments of exasperation in which I’ve attempted to throw up my hands and throw in the towel.  Moments when I’ve proclaimed that asexuality was my new life style and that I didn’t “even like boys anymore”.  Well, you can imagine how long that lasts for a lover like me.  The desire to be loved hurts so bad.  But the fulfillment of that desire feels so good.

So good.

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