"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love."
~ Neil Gaiman, as Rose Walker in Sandman #65
The passage above reminded me of my disenchantment with love long time ago. I hated love for a few years but a special man saved me from living the rest of my life as an old and bitter spinster.
When I was young, my boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend. I walked away from both of them. I chose not to be a part their drama and refused to see them everagain. I was bitter for a while and it took a lot for another man to convince me that I will not be betrayed again.
My friends voiced concerns about my "man hating" tendencies. I told them I did not hate men; I just did not need unnecessary distractions at that moment. I was in denial. I did not withdraw from love but I approached it with Machiavellian bravado for self- protection. I kept men at arms length and scrutinized their intention to the minute detail. I feigned disinterest in their lives so I will not get attached. It took a while for me to be comfortable in a relationship. I dumped them or gave them cold shoulder as soon as I started liking them. I took care of not getting hurt again by being cynical. Only a few men with remarkable patience stayed around but not for long. I always succeeded in driving them away. Some of them thought I was vicious and heartless. I was even called "Ice Princess" and "Dragon Lady."
One person saw through my facade and challenged me to seek closure. "Someone hurt you real bad, huh? I know there is a wonderful person lurking behind that smirking face," he said one day. I employed my best defense mechanisms on him but he was persistent. The more I spurned him, the more insistent he became. He told me he was not going away until I showed my true color. Then one day, my annoyance turned into admiration of this man's tenacity. I told him about my experience with loving someone. He told me not all men are the same. He said he had experienced similar betrayal. He helped me dismantle the wall I surrounded myself for a long time. He showed me that I do not have to hate love.
Single Lily with Red Note Card- Georgia O'Keeffe