The Loves They Carried
“A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.” -Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Inspired, beautiful, complicated, dangerous, fulfilling love. Our relationship with Love itself is polyamorous. Have you ever been confused about how to sort through your intense feelings toward someone? Were you maybe told there’s only one type of love? The one you find with a lifelong partner and no other human is allowed to share that sacred relationship? Well, you deserve more love and better information.
Part one of the secret is that we need different types of love from diverse people to be a whole human. We are a composite of the many types of loves we receive and give into this world. I found seven types of love known innately but studied and identified by scientists to help us understand ourselves: sexual, friendship, familial, universal, uncommitted, practical, and self-love *(Burton, 2020). Whatever your type of love and with however many people, we seek to remake love patterns we have seen in our past not knowing the unseen, braided nature of how we love others and ourselves. We spend our life seeking, shaping, breaking, and reshaping our love connections. Yes plural: our famous insatiable first crushes, summoning courage to say I love you to a best friend, spontaneous vibes with strangers, testing boundaries with our forever partner, sheer frustration and elation of family and so many more.
Part two of the secret is to value the multitude and movement of love toward or away from you. For me, these polyamorous loves span the globe, genders, identities, races, ages. Love ignites suddenly, slow burns in our souls, and occurs in common shared moments, notching our hearts each time with a unique imprint. I allow myself to become these loves, share the experience of love, and release the love when it is time to move on. The fanatical, life-long, momentary, and even dead LOVES I carry create my wholeness and sense of self-love. To the stranger I shared a cigarette with or danced with for a day, to the bestie who stepped in as family when needed and let me drink a few too many bottles of wine, to the partners and friendships I left behind, to the family who carries the weight of unconditional love, to my partner for sharing their passion, you are the braided LOVES that I carry.
Each love is different hued and influential like a stained glass window making the mosaic of our self. We build our relationships with many types of love and in looking at love this way, form the love of ourselves and begin to see how we become whole humans with loves that they carry.