About 5 years ago, still living in Los Angeles, while driving down 91, we passed a billboard that said I love Compton. Puzzled, my boys were like “Why would anybody love Compton? ” They had been there a few times for doctors appointments, during our harder times and at times, for my work. They knew it to be run down, scary-ish. Many homeless people and loose dogs in need. That question was such a blessing and opening to a profound conversation. I surprised myself by being able able to explain to them the difference between liking a person, place, or thing and loving it. I explained how sometimes we do not like each other one bit, but we always want what is best for each other and value working towards the best possible outcome. That this billboard is paid for by a group of people committed to elevating the quality of life for all people in this struggling community. Love is a verb and often has little to do with our feelings and more to do with our values. Love is honest, and kind–it is a way of being in the world. Some people LOVE tacos or burgers and fast cars. While we might enjoy these things, we love and care for people, places, and things because it is right and it is our purpose. Some people run around HATING snakes, bugs, and broccoli. But we do not hate, maybe just do not prefer. We do not wish ill on them or need to destroy them. We hate unkindness and dishonesty. And yet we can love others(maybe from a safe distance) who behave in these ways. We belong to each other. All of us. Everyone and all living things deserve to have their most basic needs met. To get in the way of that is
I had never glimpsed this sort of love before recovery. I guess I can be grateful for that because if I had, I would have not entered knowingly, into my loveless marriage, which not only gave us two beautiful sons, but also was a wake-up call to truly learn about love and living. The gravity of two little ones looking to us to model love and connection could not be denied. We were terrible models and our divorce was our gift to them, something we originally agreed on. And then with some prompting and support from some unwholesome and unreliable sources, quickly escalated from a mutual decision to a costly and draining battle, for what, I will never be sure…probably a sense of control and victory. I wanted only to be out of my marriage, never asked for anything except the house for which I forked out a lot of money and got us into and the most basic government calculated support amounts. What an asshole, right? There was literally nothing to fight over or about. NOTHING.
Love does not try to win or dominate. This wholesome badass love that I am learning, chasing, and practicing prioritizes healthy connection. Connection above all— disconnection from anything diminishing. It not only solicits authenticity and vulnerability but requires it. This has been a deal breaker for historical relations that rely on something other. With this brand of love all people fall into one of two categories. There is no grey area. You are either a trusted other who would do NO harm or you are
scary AF not. Some shit became and remains painfully clear. Love finds a way…always. Sadly, so does hate.
Love is wanting the best possible outcome for a person, place, or thing. It is choosing actions that are supportive and loving. Wholesome love is so much bigger than just enjoying a thing that is pleasing for only as long as it is pleasing. Right?
Wholesome Badass Love—-yess. Nothing less shall do. Ever again. We watch and learn who people are. They are always showing us and we are learning to believe them.
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