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.