There's a quote that comes to mind when I think of you by the late Maya Angelou - Love doesn't hurt.
I have experienced what I thought was indeed love yet I never felt good. I mistook the pain for something else. I internalised the hurt and thought if I just did more, gave more, tried harder, loved YOU more then somehow the pain would stop. Of course, that's not how you work. Love doesn't hurt. Love feels good but what did I know about good feelings?
What was I supposed to do with them? When good things came my way, I would inevitably look over my shoulder to check for the bad, hiding somewhere - ready to pounce.
But then I managed to find you love, in the sweetest and smallest of moments. In the giggles of my niece, the wagging of my dog's tail, holding hands, teaching others to tell their story and seeing them see themselves almost for the first time, in an Autumn sunset and the waves of the beach - there you are, Love - giving and filling me up with no effort on your or my part.
Coming to the conclusion that I deserve you as much as I give you to others is so simple and yet to finally believe that changes everything.
I deserve the kind of love that I give. No explanation needed.
Thank you Love for carrying me when I thought I had nothing left to give.