There is plenty I do not know about love. It would be easier to list all the things I do know. Everywhere I have looked, it has been the same. Fairy tales, movies, books—love is made out to be some highly fictitious concept that sits pretentiously on a pedestal always out of reach. At first, it feels as though love is some grand idea I am unable to grasp. Second thoughts leave me with the notion love is just an island with a civilization on one side and a seemingly deserted beach on the other where I have been shipwrecked and rendered hopeless. All I have to do is wield my way through the jungle, creating my own path instead of following some example set forth by the likes of Hollywood. It is a journey, an adventure, a quest to prove yourself. The jungle is a treacherous place, my friends. Little did I know just how dangerous it was until I set forth, proverbial machete of willpower in one hand and a flask of burning truth in the other, on my yearlong crusade without sex to find the greatest love of all—the love of self.
Before I went in search of a better me on a journey some would call masochistic torture, I thought I was happy. Hindsight has taught me the difference between thinking and knowing what is true. I wished I had known better. Have you ever experienced the feeling of waking up after having what you thought was make up sex only to realize it wasn’t as much as “make up” as it was just sex? It feels as though your heart is a white, paper napkin and someone has wiped their grubby hands on it, wadding it up and tossing it aside. I lay there in the deafening silence with tunnel vision as rasps rattled through my hollowed-out chest. My thoughts were at full force, running and jumping to conclusions until doubt came to a sudden stop. I had held onto the rope for far too long in vain. It was the clarity I found as I let go, the bottle of champagne breaking over the bow of my ship, the beginning of my new outlook on love and life.
Those initial steps were the hardest to take. The thought alone paralyzed me with fear. My all was taken just to stand, to balance on the balls of my feet, to dare gravity. Standing on your own is wearisome, and I fell. Again and again and again I fell, bruising my ego. I was learning how to walk all over again. Had I been scared as a child? I couldn’t remember. The only recollection I had stored in my memory was laughter. Flashes of children teetering on unsteady legs crossed my mind along with the laughter. Children were not afraid to walk. They were excited and mesmerized. Walking was a new adventure for them, and the world had yet to push them down. If they could do it, why couldn’t I? Despite all the horrible aspects of life I have experienced, I put my best foot forward, eased down onto my heel, and repeated. One step. Two steps. Three steps. I teetered as the world shimmered and shined with the promise of adventure the farther my feet carried me.
It was thrilling.
And I laughed.