Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet, Never Let Me Go.


Catherine Kirby

If we are lucky, our first experience of love is unshakable and unconditional, but where do you go from there?

The first time I fell in love is not something I remember.  To be honest it was probably more of a feeling then anything else.  I would have been grasped tightly in my mother’s arms and felt warm and safe, and somewhere in my tiny new baby mind I would have known that this was someone to love.  Then my Dad would have nursed me and I would have felt that same warmth and strength in his hands that I’d felt in my mother’s arms and known that this too is someone I love.  Next a shock of dark hair and small hands would have reached for me and this brother would be someone I would love too.  As I grew and as my family did too so did my experience of love.  I had a close cocoon of five that held my heart in theirs and I held their hearts in mine.  It extended of course to aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins.  I was happy.  I was safe.  I was loved.

Like all things though, what I understood changed.  My unwavering sureness of love cracked.  I experienced shame as a seven-year-old.  I had naively believed that adults were all kind and cared about me.  I was sorely mistaken.  I became familiar with the feeling of loneliness, who for a while was my dearest friend.  I would spend days at school not talking, trying to be invisible, until I got home to my cocoon and I was happy and free and loved once more.

I was confused by my friends at school.  Girls are lovely one day and vicious the next.  I began to understand that sometimes keeping your heart tucked away means someone can’t throw it aside when they are finished with it.

When I left the confines of school and made my way out there in the world I made friends not lovers.  I surrounded myself with people who I loved but was not in love with.  I realised it was safer this way.  I’ve played this game for so long now that I’m not entirely sure how to make myself lovable.  I’m at a stage in my life where I see people falling in love and starting families.  I’m still not sure if this is exactly what I want, but it would nice if it was a possibility.  I’m a romantic.  I love love.  I am also very happy with the woman I have become, the adventures I have had and the friendships I have made.  It would be nice however to be wanted.  I’m not saying no to love.  I’m not giving up on it.  But I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket either.  I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ve already had a life time of love showered on me by my family, but just so you know love, my door is always open.

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