Roots of Love


I didn’t grow up with sisters. The built in best friends who share our DNA, and maybe even a bedroom. Instead, I was gifted with a softhearted big brother who kind of looks like he could kick your ass. He’s pretty great. But naturally, since being a small child I have sought out deep feminine bonds in which I could unravel all of my knotted thoughts and dig into all those kept under wraps kind of desires.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that I was kind of an odd child. I had high expectations of just about everyone, and couldn’t grasp the flimsy nature of childhood and young adult friendships. There one day and gone the next. Pretty much the sphinx’s riddle to me.

High school through college and even post college I would harbor confusion and hurt over why my closest friends could seemingly take and take, but never manage to find any extra time or love, when the tables turned. Sometimes I still don’t understand to be honest. Even though if we’re being mature about this I am sure there have been countless times, when they have felt the same about me. That I let them down. Didn’t show up, when they needed someone to sit with. Forgot to call to check on that one thing.

In reality, I had been expecting people to love in the same manner I do. I wanted people to show up because I had, and to sit with me while the shades of grey turned back to blues. A trick of the ego we all occasionally trip into. And while we all deserve reciprocal love and care in friendships, there’s also a time for generous loving with no expectations. Sometimes these seasons last longer than we’d like, and we’re left a bit confused, weary, and maybe even bitter. It’s hard to pour out simply because we love someone for who they are because we forget that love always comes back somehow someway even if it isn’t when or how we’d like.

What I didn’t realize was the seeds had dug deep, and our roots had grown slowly down while wrapping inextricably around each other. These roots became more important than ever in the last few years as our dots on the map spread out further and further. Now the roots travel over and under rivers to arrive in desert lands and frozen tundra.

I glance around the map, and different colors flag where people hold my heart. Yellow for the one whose mind glows brightly lit with love and yet, is a fortress of steel. Navy marks the spot for my friend who is braver and fiercer than I can say. She will outrun us all one day once she finds her footing. The warmest of tones for the softest and yet strongest one of them all. Never let kindness and generosity fool you, for she is made of iron. I look at these places, and know without a doubt who I want to be.

And some while ago I realized every time we part they steal away with tiny fragments of me. I don’t ever quite capture my childish spirit just the same without the one of yellow. And my soul never feels so known as, when she who dances in navy has a minute to call. Settling into her vibrant shade of blue I can be purely and utterly as I am right now nothing more or less. Nor do I feel as wholly loved regardless of what I’ve done as with the one whose colors warm any room, or as accepted in my need for solitude and rest. She lets the peaceful part of me be free.

Our friendships are not only places to come home, but also where we find reflections of ourselves as well. Reflections of ourselves, and who we want to become. We find pieces of ourselves coming alive and dancing because only that person knows the song.


4 thoughts on “Roots of Love

  1. I hope that it never ceases to amaze me how much you and I have in common. One of my greatest setbacks in life has been expecting too much of the world, of people. I’ve shouldered a lot of that – in that I’ve turned that around to find fault with myself for having the expectation. Are my expectations too high? Maybe they are for other people, yeah, but not for myself. Friendship is so near and dear to my heart and I can’t help but hold it in the highest regard.

    And I purposefully don’t have superficial friendships; I find them to be a waste of my time, particularly as an introvert. As such, it’s that much harder when a friend lets you down or leaves because you’ve invested so much into them already. And maybe that’s why I struggle with the whole dating thing – If I don’t see it lasting, I don’t even bother beyond date one. But not everyone experiences or feels that in the same way. It’s a constant struggle, I think.

    • “Friendship is so near and dear to my heart and I can’t help but hold it in the highest regard.” Yessss, exactly. And even more so, with what you said about having select friends, and so when you feel let down it’s even worse. Oh the lives we lead as introverts ;). I agree with the dating too – I never did manage to pull off the “casual dating” thing. I’m not really sure how people do it ahha. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me we are so similar in all of this 🙂

  2. I think one of the hardest parts about being someone with such a genuinely kind spirit is that we tend to continue to bend over backwards and give, give, give because that’s how we love. We overextend ourselves. We are ears at 4 am when our best friend is crying on the other end of the phone about a break up. We are the shoulder to lean on when the going gets rough. We are the advice givers, we are the care takers. We are the one everyone always runs to, until suddenly we realize, and perhaps selfishly (as you said about being mature), that we need that love in return and it seems nowhere to be found. Like the taps gone dry and no one is willing to be the mop to wipe away our tears. This has been an ongoing internal struggle I’ve had since graduating from undergrad. I’ve always felt a little left behind in the dust of what my friends have achieved and accomplished since graduating while I’m still seemingly at a standstill in grad school. While that’s certainly not the case – it hurts all the same being the foundation that they all rely on and feeling like I am living on shaky ground without that same ground. Sometimes, the monster inside of me wants to scream it from the rooftops and shake them and ask them if they remember me. Ask them if they know that while they’re busy leaning on me, that I’m also struggling too. But the majority of the time, I find myself looking at my life from the outside and feeling blessed overall. Lucky that, like you, I have friends spread across the state and country. And I think to myself how could I ever be resentful when I have love that stems across states? When I have people who never cease to amaze me with their friendship – the way we give love may not be the same but the continuity of friendship and the everlasting bond shared between long-time friends runs deep. Few people get to experience love that vast.

    I think we are the lucky ones.

    xo Jackie

  3. Yessss. I absolutely get what you are saying. What you said about the taps running dry is spot on, and wanting to ask if they remember you!! Oh my gosh I have wanted to do the same thing so many time. It’s so oddly comforting hearing someone else say it too. And then they surprise you and love you in their own way, and I feel silly for ever being resentful. You’re right though, we are definitely lucky even when we forget to see it. ❤

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