Loving the List, Not the Whole

I recently cane upon [This writing][ https://fetlife.com/users/2088137/posts/2364549%5D, and it some to me so much, I decided to use it as a writing prompt.  The whole thing could have been plucked out if my own brain, but this paragraph in particular resonated:

*Sometimes, you think that no one has ever loved you. You have almost flippantly doubted it, even when someone was saying it to you. Even if they are saying it to you today. Because, though you wouldn’t like to admit it, you’re not terribly sure that you love yourself. You reject all of the simpering notions in beauty magazines and you learn to say nice things about yourself when you look in the mirror. If someone asked, you could provide an objective list of your qualities. But you’re not sure that “loving yourself” is something you ever really learned how to do.”*

This is exactly what I feel every second of every day of my life.  Yes, I can list a while litany of qualities about myself that I’m sure other people love about me, things that we are “supposed” to like about ourselves… But just because someone loves a grocery list of things about me doesn’t override the overwhelming lesson I was taught very early on and for a very long time,  that the PERSON I AM is not worthy of love, just as she is, regardless of that list.  It’s a lesson taught not just by my parents, whose love has always seemed very much based on how “good” I was at any one given time.  It’s a lesson that has also been reinforced by the emotional demons created by the lifelong experience of never being “good enough” for ANYONE to love who WHO I WAS, rather than what I accomplished/what I looked like/how much I sacrificed for others.  Sure, some people love a very long grocery list of attributes about me, but NOBODY has ever loved ME, *ALL OF ME*, enough to not discard me.  Nobody has ever loved me enough to accept the ugly parts, the “crazy” parts, the self-destructive parts, the parts that are completely convinced that anyone who loves me is eventually going to replace me with someone better, or with nobody, because being ALONE is preferable to being with me. 
Why this conviction? Because it’s happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. ANYONE had said they loved me, if I have the nerve to show any of those parts and be less than perfect, any time I had the nerve to be human and make a mistake, regardless of how much I apologize for it.

These same people who love me, then walk away when something goes wrong, are also the ones who always get the most angry with me when I mention feeling replaceable, disposable, unlovable.  It’s so hard to explain to someone who thinks you are wonderful that you don’t believe them, not because you think they are lying, but because you CAN’T see yourself that way. It’s like they are seeing you through glasses that make you look like someone you know you aren’t… Our perhaps it is you that are looking through such warped, dark glasses it is YOU that cannot see yourself clearly.

We all want love, love that will stick around when things get difficult, love that won’t turn on us when we are most vulnerable, when we ARE BEING UGLY, and that will accept our apology when we realize our ugliness hurt them.  But for me, that never seems to be my fate. Always the one forgiving others because GOD KNOWS, I know what it’s like to be perfectly human and fuck up, I’m always the one cut out of someone else’s life, the one discarded for her sins rather than forgiven for them.  Their lives go on as if I had never made any impression whatsoever, as though my presence or absence mean the same to them, while my every waking moment is filled with thoughts that this is just more proof of how irredeemable, how vile, how utterly worthless I am, more nourishment for the demons that cackle “we told you so” as they dig their claws deep into my heart and soul, reminding me why I put walls up against other people getting close to me in the first place.

Is there anyone out there who will love the WHOLE person that I am, rather than just the grocery list? Who will soot down with the demons and tame them, reassure them, fight them if necessary for their obedience?  No, it’s not EASY. If you want someone who will be EASY to love, buy a dog, or an “escort” who will be whoever you want her to be for the right price.  Love, REAL love, the kind that is truly soul-fulfilling, the only kind WORTH HAVING, is not always easy.  I’m not THAT much of a challenge, so long as you communicate with me often and honestly, but so often I turn out to be only good for 2 things where men are concerned: sex, and massage. 

I have so many great friends… But nobody who has the potential for more than that, someone who is NOT a submissive (I have to have someone with Dominance as their primary state of being, even if they like to switch roles occasionally), who isn’t more than 10 years older them me, who ISN’T married to our with someone he has to hide me from (I am NOT a home wrecker, and I refuse to be anyone’s dirty secret), someone I’m physically attracted to.  That man is not anywhere to be seen.  And the lower I wait, the taller the walls become, the thicker the defenses around them become, and the more and more convinced I become that the earliest lesson I was ever taught, that the person I am at my core, beyond the list of things I try to cultivate to be a better person, is not really worthy of love.

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