I Used to Know What Love Was

→ I Used to Know What Love Was

It’s been fifteen years since I began my path of self-discovery.

I’ve always tried to know myself better, to understand why it is I do the things I do, why I say the things I say, why I tell the lies I tell, both to myself and to those I care about. When I wasn’t making any headway on my own, I looked to other people who either shared my affliction or studied those who did. I listened to what they said, I read their books, I found bits of myself scattered within each of them. All to find more of myself.

I have found, however, that the more I peek inside my mind and the better I see myself, the more questions I have, the less I understand, and the sadder I become. Whoever said ignorance was bliss knew what they were talking about and I’d wager they were deep inside the same hole I’m in. The more I want to get out, the deeper I burrow; the harder it becomes to breathe. I fake living to get by, but it’s getting harder to stand up. To go out. To laugh with friends. To enjoy companionship. To trust that they care. I don’t, so why would they? A cacophony of silence burdens my ears if I don’t distract myself, so I stay away from alcohol. It dulls my senses and I lose control. I lose myself to myself.

In this search for understanding, I’ve lost the only thing I’ve ever been great at: falling in love. Or at least I think I did; I’m not sure. I don’t know what love is anymore. I used to. It used to be simple. The feeling of wonder, unease, excitement, eagerness, anxiety. Failure, pain, longing and despair. Adventure and triumph. Happiness. Love was unmistakable. I have felt it again in recent years, the love I used to feel, but the concept of love has become complicated. I don’t understand it anymore, so I don’t know what love looks like. What it feels like. Real love. So I don’t know what I felt. It felt like love used to feel, but was it?

I’ve noticed the only times I’ve felt what I thought was love in recent years was when I wore my blinders. When I wasn’t careful. I got tricked and I got hurt. Hindsight then showed me how I only came to love through ignorance. To experience what I thought was love through wishful thinking and a naïveté. But was it? Or was it just desperate hope and self-indulgence?

I don’t have any answers anymore. Just the same old questions that I tire of asking over and over again. I don’t know anything about anything anymore. I don’t think I ever did. But somehow things used to be easier. I was younger. Dumber, less self-aware. The voice inside my mind wasn’t as loud. The consequences of anything in life weren’t as dire. I didn’t feel I had a ticking clock. Time didn’t exist.

I used to know what love was, but I don’t anymore. Maybe love changes with us. Maybe I’ve shrouded myself in darkness and perverted my notion of love along the way. Maybe it just isn’t for me anymore. Maybe it never will be again. The irony of an entire life in the pursuit of love and nothing else.

I couldn’t tell you exactly why I’ve receded this past year, I don’t even know for sure. A feeling. A vague, indescribable feeling. A yearning to run. To escape. I’m not sure what. My life? Maybe this is what losing hope looks like. Retreat. Isolation. Acceptance. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, only more tunnel.

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