Since I was a very small child my parents have made sure that I know I do not get to choose who I love, but I do get to choose how I love. Love was never an abstract concept for me, I grew up in a house built on love. Love has never been an idea for me, it has been an action.
When I was just learning to speak full words I would say “doggie” all the time. My mother says that I called everything a doggie, from the trees to actual dogs. I like to think of this as an expression of love. I loved dogs, therefore everything I saw was a dog. In the aspect of loving things, not much has changed.
I love to love. I hear all the time that my heart is going to cause trouble for me or that I should be careful. When I was thirteen my friends were overprotective of me ever getting a boyfriend, “You just love too much, Rylee.” My heart is not a weakness, it is my strongest feature.
Sure, from time to time I get very upset because I feel used or an inconvenience to those who mean the most to me, confused because I do not understand why anyone would not want to accept love. Being upset is normal, being confused is normal. Everyone feels that way sometimes.
If you personally know me, you know that I do not have the capability to stay mad at someone for over a week. I feel too guilty, too upset, too loveless. I know that it is easy to say that I do not hold a grudge, but this is the absolute truth, I am incapable of staying mad at someone for an extended period of time.
Every friendship I have lost has not ended on bad blood and they are all still very important people to me. My childhood best friend and I still check in on one another and make sure everything is going alright. Love is responsible for that.
Love stems from the tiniest flowers and grows to the tops of the tallest trees. It is everywhere. And it is so easy to put up the front that we are incapable of love, that we have been hurt too many times, that we are scared, that we are fine on our own. It is easy to pretend in order to protect. To protect ourselves from the outside. But love is powerful.
I hear all the time that, “love is pain.” I disagree. Envy is pain, sadness is pain, anger is pain, hatred is pain, but love is what fills in the holes and makes us feel warm, even for a minute. Love cannot cure us, but it can aid in the process.
Someone I look up to recently said to me, “I’ve never met someone who cares so much about people and how they’re doing. You’re truly fantastic.” When I love I do not do it for the recognition, I do it because it is an instinct, but being recognized for something that I have little to no control over feels wonderful.
This is for any other kindred spirits for having the largest heart and for continuing to love even when things get hard. For we know sadness but we also know joy of inexplicable proportions. We know the fulfillment of helping the elderly woman at the store load her groceries into the car, of paying for the ice cream cone of the car behind us, of being there. We do not do it with the intention of gaining anything in return, but for the joy we experience in others’ eyes.
My heart is large. It loves who it wants, but I get the amazing opportunity to choose how it does that. My heart is not a weakness, my heart is a strength. And it will withstand the tragedy just so it can be there to hold your hand after.