Sometimes I Think I Love You Too Much
Guest Post by All You Need Contributor Elise Stephens
My beloved Little One,
I know that life has felt terribly unfair, living with me—the overachiever—plus your older brother who is bright enough to be a super nova in the Milky Way and our conservative parents whose merest touch feels like a chokehold to you.
I know that your heart told you passionately that you had to leave home, and you did. And even though we were all broken and frightened and out of our minds because we’d discovered your secrets and your hidden plans…it worked out for the best. We found better paths of love with our words when you came back. That trail of better words was blazed with dull machetes, but in the end I’m proud of the scars.
But Little One, that was just a chapter. I see it now. Your pain and your life has many levels and though I’m proud of how far you and I have come, it still breaks me to see these new scars, the ones filled with anger and anxiety–your efforts to cut away and let free the agony boiling in your blood. Those are scars I’m not proud of, red, wet mouths opening on your arms, red cuts that scream for help, but only turn inward to bite you more deeply. And even though these real-life scars of yours are healing now and the razors are safely stowed away, I still feel my pain for you driving deeper inside me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Why am I so obsessed with the state of your soul? Should I just step away and let you live your life without any comment or interference from me? It’s only been a few years since we lived in the same house, and it’s already as if fossils are already forming in the eons.
But I can’t get away from this: Ever since you were very small, I’ve loved you as the chink in my armor, my weak spot, my special poison/antidote (depending on the situation), the person for whom I fear so many of my convictions would be thrown to the wind if I thought it would take you out of harm’s way.
I think I love you too much. Maybe that’s not possible, but sometimes I wonder morbidly if that’s what I struggle with, if that’s what’s torturing me. I love you as I loved you when you were born, without holding anything back, and now you’re separating, tearing out of the cocoon that I erroneously built for you. One of your wings is bleeding, but you don’t want the ointment I’m offering for it because you’re afraid it will tint your wings like mine and you want to be your own color. I admire that about you. It also makes me cry.
You are a woman and you know how to roar. I am the sister who has learned how to cry, to love, to fight, to apologize, and to grow up with you in ways that I’ve never expected.
I write this to you because it is blooming up from my heart like a hot fountain, completely unable to stay down, falling into my mouth and clenching my jaw till it aches, sifting into my prayers until all I can say is God help her. Help me. Take care of her. I can’t do it by myself.
I love you. I always will love you. Even when I verbally stab you in the back and even when you’re embarrassed by me.
I love you when you turn away from me and ignore what I say, and I love you when you kiss me on the cheek and remind me that you can forgive and love again, too. In times of love and war, I will love you till the day I die.
I thought you should know.
And don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. No matter the pain, the disillusionment, the heartless breakups with the guy who used or abused or just plain underestimated your incredible soul.
Don’t give in to rage when Mom and Dad can’t hear what you’re saying and all they seem to do is stuff you into a box of expectations. Don’t give up when school is yanking your will to live right out from under you. Don’t give up when rejections tell you you’re not worth the risk.
Because it’s not true.
I promise. I’ve seen you live. I’ve watched you grow. God knit you in Mom’s womb, but he didn’t give you a how-to manual because there isn’t one. You have to live the manual.
So that’s what I needed to say. And one more time: I love you.
All You Need Contributor: Elise Stephens
Elise Stephens received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction from the University of Washington in 2007. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys seeing live theater, swing dancing, eating tiramisu, singing, and painting. She lives in Seattle with her husband James. Her novel Moonlight and Oranges was a quarter-finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Visit her blog about relationships, life, and inspiration here: www.elisestephens.com and follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorEliseStephens
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