Because Love Is Okay Just As We Are

Author Kelly Byrne love memeWe all have our own definition of what love means and how it looks to us. I want to share mine with you today.

Some of you know my dude, some of you don’t. His nickname for me is ‘Monkey.’ Mine for him is ‘Bug’, as in ‘Love Bug.’ He lives up to it. And I live up to mine, though ‘cheeky’ generally precedes it.

We’ve known each other for eleven years and have been solidly together for three of them. He was my riding partner when I first started riding motorcycles again eight years ago. Bug and Monkey for the win!

Why am I sharing this with you?

I had a particularly bad go of things last week. I’d stopped using some of my regular supplements (not a euphemism, folks, not meds, but probably should be some days) and had spent entirely too much time diddling on Facebook, which, of course, inevitably lead to comparing myself (and my many failures) to every single one of my ‘friends.’

I think we all know how destructive that can be to any psyche, let alone a slightly fragile one. It was just one of those days.

By Friday afternoon, I was ready to eat my own face. Golly, I sound delightful don’t I?

♥                                        ♥                                        ♥

I really needed to talk, so I called him at work and erupted like Vesuvius. About my frustrations, about my failures, about my sunburn and toenails. I turned a lovely shade of lavender hunching there on the bed, but venting to him helped talk me down from my metaphorical ledge.

When my Bug came home, we greeted each other the way we always do, with a hug. Bug hugs are the best. Need those eight a day people!

Cheek to cheek, I confided that I was nervous about sharing the gory details of my oh-so-shitty-day because I know he wants me to be happy. Like a happy person. Just generally happy. Not disturbed by things. In other words, weird, like him.

Eeeeeeerrrrrkkkk. Let’s rewind.

In January, around the New Year, we’d written out personal goals for ourselves, and we also had a great talk about our desires with regard to our relationship. You know, just checking in about where we were going and areas we might need to improve.

He is the happiest, most stable, most even-keel human being I’ve ever met. And he was kind of hoping for me to someday approach a similar emotional palette. A more stable platform of emotional health.

Knowing my capacity for happiness instability, he’s well aware of who I am at this stage of the game. Yet he still held out hope. And let me say this now: So. Do. I. But I ain’t holding my breath for it.

I’m not a miserable monkey all the time or anything. Like most of us, I just have my moments. But my world-view is not exactly what one might call optimistic.

So we chatted back then and I simply said,

Well, this is me. I’m a work in progress, ever evolving, but if you love me, love me for who I am right now. In this moment. Because I may never be anything more than this.

He smiled.

Okay.

And that was that.

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This word, ‘okay’, is not spectacular. Four little letters, not even pretty. Almost harsh, actually. I didn’t really understand what it meant, what he meant, till last week. And I’ll get to that in a minute, but first let me show you how writers have been using that simple word to mean so much.

In The Fault In Our Stars, John Green gives ‘okay’ to his leads like a gift. It’s their unique thing, their code word for ‘always’ that only they understand. It’s sweet, and beautiful, and heartbreaking. That one word holds their universe inside it.

I’ve mentioned this next one before in my Superhero Sensitive post.

SPOILER ALERT: At the end of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, after Clementine tells Joel all the reasons their relationship redux won’t work and how he’ll find things he doesn’t like about her and how she’ll get bored with him because that’s what she does, he shrugs and simply says, “Okay.”

The first time I watched that scene, it was like someone had suddenly smacked me with the ugly-cry stick. That simple moment of his acceptance was breathtaking. Acknowledging that what she meant to him was more important than everything else, even self-preservation.

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Fast forward to last week. Back to the Bug hug. After I told him how I was afraid to talk to him about my miserable effing day for fear he might remember that he’d prefer a more optimistic partner, someone slightly less wiggy and spiky around the edges.

He pulled away enough to look at me and said, “but we already talked about that.”

“What do you mean?”

“We had that talk and you said if I love you, I love you for who you are right now.”

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

“You actually did that?”

“Yeah.”

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

“Okay.”

♥                                        ♥                                        ♥

That’s what love looks like to me. And that’s why I love this man. Plus a million other reasons. But that’s a really, really good one.

Helen Fielding was on to something too, yeah?

Just as you are,” Mark Darcy said to Bridget Jones.

Hurray for 'okay.' Hurray for love...just as we are. Click To Tweet

Tell me what love looks like to you. For your significant other, your kid, your parent, your cat, your pet cockroach. Matters not to me whom it involves. Just tell me about the love. We need more of it floating around the interwebs.

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Thanks for sharing your time and stories with me. Be warned, I may steal them at some point. It’s what we do.

Author Kelly Byrne Website

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Kelly Byrne
An award-winning writer in many a genre, I currently herd words into novels and short stories about wildly flawed, but lovable characters. I strive to uncover the extraordinary in the ordinary, for those who believe in the possibility of the impossible, and those who always believe in love. My fiction embraces the idea that extraordinary things can and do happen in the real world. These whisperings of supernatural elements give my work a strong emotional edge, lending surprise and wonder to every story. I live in Los Angeles with my desperately handsome boyfriend where I’m working on my next novel.

6 Comments

  1. This is so beautiful, Kel. Man, do you have a good guy there. We’re both lucky like that. And for the record, he has a good one in you too.

    The love with my guy is much like yours: he loves me when I’m at my ugliest, and I’m not talking about my looks. I’ve given him a lot of hideousness, and when I asked him to stick it out with me in spite of it, he said “okay” in his own way. That kind of gift is especially hard to receive when you’re in a not-deserving-of-it place.

    Every night before we go to sleep, the last thing we say to each other is this:
    Him: See you in the morning.
    Me: I’ll be right here.

    We started it when we first began dating. We were both so amazed at how lucky we were to have found each other that we were afraid the other would be gone in the morning, like it had been a dream. But the *actual* dream is that we’re both still there when we wake up. And when your day starts and ends like that, everything in between is so much easier.

  2. You, my loved one, have exactly what you deserve. Remember that. You have been given the love you deserve. And yet I am tempted to say you won the lottery. Because we all deserve to be loved for who we are, faults and all. And few of us are. Parents – who by definition are stewards of unconditional love – are infamous for making their kids feel UNloved, especially when their offspring don’t live up to expectations. Kids do the same to their ‘rents. “I hate you!” Or, “I wish I’d never been born!” are the bullets children fire at their folks when what they really mean is, “For me to love you, you have to give me what I want.” And who among us has not been told during a break-up that, “It’s not you, it’s me. I guess I just need someone who is more (or less) blankety-blank-blank-blank.

    I’m not sure I have ever been loved for who I am. To be fair, I’m not sure I was completely lovable the way I was. But, I’ve worked on myself a lot– taken stock and thrown out the expired and the never-shoulda-been-there-in-the-first-place crap. And, still, when I feel about as close to wonderful as I’m ever gonna get, I don’t know if I’ll ever be loved, warts and all. And here’s why:

    A person who can love unconditionally is free of expectations, does not require someone else to give them everything they want, nor, anything they think they need. A person capable of unconditional love takes responsibility for his or her own happiness, is generous of spirit and finds it easy to accept, have compassion and extend love without keeping score. A person who loves you warts and all, loves him or herself the very same way. And, girl, there just ain’t a whole lot of those folks out there.

    So, in a sense, you did win the lottery. I have a feeling your guy possesses all those qualities I described above. But remember, he didn’t fall in love with just anybody. He fell in love with YOU– because the gifts you possess far outweigh the strengths you think you don’t. And the love you give HIM is every bit as boundless, unconditional and priceless as the love he gives to you. In other words– you’re both very big winners.

    1. Oh, Davis, thank you. I know I’ve won the lottery for sure. I don’t know about him. lol I do my best. It’s all any of us can do.

      You’re right, there aren’t a lot of people with those qualities you mentioned. He is really the only person I’ve ever met with all of them. I don’t know or understand quite how he’s made. I call him Magic Man too, because, well…he is. For many reasons.

      And I’ll agree that it is hard to find. I’m incredibly blessed. I try not to ever take that for granted.

      I hope and pray for the same kind of love for you and for everyone, because you’re right, we all deserve it. Every one of us. Even the tools. Hairy warts and all. Not to say we shouldn’t always strive to find a way to be better human beings, because I think we can all use some bit of improvement. I mean if we couldn’t, what’s the point? But to have someone embrace you for everything you are, even if they’re not totally on board with all those qualities, is something we all should have.

      And I know it’s not the same thing as unconditional love from a partner, but lady, you’ve got it from me. I don’t care what green prickly monsters are hiding under your skin, we’ve all got them, I love you anyway. Just as you are. 🙂 xoxo

      1. Unconditional love from you is way better than from a partner, especially if by partner you mean ‘a man’. I’m beginning to think the Equal Rights Amendment was misnamed. Why would women want EQUAL rights when there is very little equal about the genders?? I’ve discovered (and sorry for the political incorrectness here) the sheer superiority of women in matters that matter most to us. So, you have femaleness going for you. Plus, you’re smart, talented, brave, kaleidoscopic, introspective, expressive and cool. And, that’s just Column A. So, thank you, again and again, for everything you write, everything you share and everything you are!

        1. Kaleidoscopic – love that. I’m going to steal it if you don’t mind. 😉 And thank you, Davis. Right back atchya with all of those beautiful compliments. You’ve got quite a few columns yourself, lady. And thank you for always being so supportive and such an integral part of the conversation over here in my little bit of the world. It means so much to me. Hugs. xoxo

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