I went through much of my life not knowing if love was real.  Or if it was just not accessible to me. I closed off early in life, sometime in my teens and developing relationships was difficult for me.  When friendships or romantic relationships started to get hard, I just left. It was safer that way, it kept me ahead of the game and kept me from feeling. I will never forget one of the last things my mother said to me when I was 18, "you were such a sweet little kid and now your heart is just hard."  I believed that for a very long time.

And then I fell in love about a decade later, after a decade of sadness and hurt. It was the first time I felt something like that ever in my life.  And so I married that guy.  It was the first time I wanted to stay when things were no longer easy, but my hard was still there and my leaving still happened, it just happened for brief moments of time.  And then I discovered a community of people who supported me just like I was.  And that support and their love changed how I saw things and I developed new friendships.  People started to surround me and love me.  It was then that I realized that love has always been accessible to me, I was just blocking it.  Not allowing it to come in.  Once I gave up "hard" and allowed my husband to love me, my friends to love me, my Baptiste community to love me, I knew I could do the same.  

Love was a word I only used a few times a year, during special occasions or when my parents spoke it first.   Now it is a word I use daily.  I love Joe.  I love my community. I love my team. I love my friends near and far.  There is not much I do not love and I am so excited to celebrate Valentines Day with the world.