#DailyPrompt – Life is too short to not explore the layers of love

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I’ve always known that I love fiercely.

My most cherished memory of first love is that of my mother. I remember loving her; admiring her sense of dress, her skin, her hair, her laugh, her eyes… I remember wanting to be every bit as strong as she is, as vulnerable as she let herself be around me, and as wise as she continues to be.

But more than that, I wanted to love as much as she did. I wanted to have my own kids so I could love them just as much as I knew my mum loved my big brother and I. I wanted to love myself so much so that I had the strength and pride to raise my kids as a single mother, getting help only from God and Her angels.

And I distinctly remember being 3 years old and loving no other man as much as I loved my brother (My dad would have competed but he never stick around long to be a contender.). I remember one particular moment when my mum asked me, “Who are going to marry when you grow up?” And I said, “I’ll marry my big brother,” (before you start puking, keep in mind that a 3 year old cannot distinguish between romantic and all the other kinds of love that are in existance) and from the moment those words escaped my mouth, I knew that my brother would be my best friend for life.

Even today, there is no man that will ever hold the same esteem my brother holds in my heart.

Falling in love for the first time – with the man who later became the father of my daughter – I learned a different kind of love. One that I’d only ever read about or saw on the TV, or heard my mum conservatively describe to me.

I loved this man. He taught me how to appreciate myself in ways that I’d never even conceived. He made me a mother; giving the gift of love so boundless that the existance of God is something I will never doubt, not even in my darkest day.

And having that love ripped from my grasp showed the other side of love, that of being in love alone… The painful bits of love. The absence of it can easily make one bitter, hateful and unkind. And during our break-up I was all of these things. I longed for justice. I wanted him to feel the same betrayal, the same defeat, the same sense of worthlessness and the same lack of love that grew into a gaping hole of darkness inside me.

And though those things are what I felt, they weren’t what I desired. Even in the anger, I wanted him to be happy. Granted, finding happiness without me in the picture was a bitter pill to swallow, but I still wanted him to carry that magical smile that he captured me with. That smile now lives on my daughters face. It gives me joy, and I could never hate it, not ever.

After the loss of that love, and having to deal with the resurfaced pain of growing up without a father, I thought I’d never love again. And most probably, I will never love another with the same naivety that I loved baby girl’s dad with, but I do know that I have it in me to give myself to someone else.

That being said, that someone else has to have the will and desire to accept me as a I am. With all the many layers of thinking and emotion that constitute me, he ought to accept me. And there would be no fairness in love (not that ever is or was) if I was not willing to the same.

So now I live on a wing and a prayer, hoping to be open of heart and mind to the person who accepts me as me, flaws and all. Praying, still, that I have it in me to do and be the same for them.


Picture taken in 2012 at the Rhodes University Botanical Gardens.

{Picture by: Lithakazi}

Love has so many layers and degrees that I hope to be able to have an understanding of a fraction of these before I die. And if I’m lucky, I’ll reach a full understanding in my next lifetime, because I’ll never stop loving, living and exploring the wondrous magic of loving and being loved (by friends, family and strangers alike).