How I learned how to love

They say writing is therapeutic, and based on how much writing I have engaged in, I should be healed by now, right? But, no, writing is not therapeutic! It’s draining! I once heard that good writers need to have a troubled past or a difficult childhood, I was fortunate to have the most lovely and coveted childhood and upbringing; however, I committed to making sure I became a troubled young woman. It started with drinking, then partying and of course, the ‘cliché’ – chaotic relationships…It worked! I am a good writer, right? I would like to believe so. All this madness that I brought myself into came with beautiful writing pieces and it allowed my talent to evolve. Good writing came with practise and experience…so I decided to apply the same to love, if I could teach myself how to write, I definitely could teach myself how to love. 

It all started with me battling my pride…When I was fifteen I used to watch my hot neighbour from my window every day, I had this massive crush on him, it got worse when one day I saw him carrying his girlfriend’s bag, and I thought it was the cutest gesture ever. I was obsessed with that boy. Then, I heard they had broken up so I was determined to fight for my love, I kept planning it in my head but I didn’t have the guts. A year went by, he was still single but I couldn’t just go and talk to him, I just couldn’t…I was way out of his league. Another year went by, and nothing…I never made a move. One day I got ready and I was determined to profess my love when my other neighbour came running to tell me that he died. My hot neighbour died. He was involved in a motor cycle accident. I wish I didn’t have to always bring death to my stories but it is a true story. I also wished it didn’t affect me, but it did like everything in this world, everything breaks me constantly. But looking back, I wasn’t really devastated, I didn’t have feelings for him but since that day I was determined to bury my pride and I always show love whenever someone came around…

Then, I had to fight depression…If you only knew how much the voices in my head had a saying on my relationships…Geez! Depression looks like you are oppressed in your own mind, you don’t have freedom to feed yourself with good thoughts, your subconscious feeds it with all the bad you have done. You have to always be careful, controlling and protecting yourself constantly. You are an unease with everything and it makes it hard for your partner to cope. Everything they say is translated in a completely different way in your mind. Everything would hurt, every word… and I would predict everything they would do. I finally came to terms with my mental illness and told myself I had to be brave if I really wanted to love. I decided to love without fear…I accepted that love was like taking a ride from someone completely drunk and still trusting them. That was a crucial step for me to embark on this journey to love…and I succeeded.

However, sometimes you need to filter the voices, what is real and what is not. They say love is blind and I agree. If you want to really love someone make sure you love a good person. I believe there is something more important than feelings, feelings create bubbles and those bubbles make you lose the ability to read people or see them for who they are. I remember meeting a lover that the moment I saw him I knew this person was going to destroy me but still I kept lying to myself and became dependent on feelings. Feelings are not safe, there is no assurance. Let’s call this step of loving “overcoming fairy tales” …I believe that we need to be romantic and spontaneous when it comes to love, get ourselves in that drunk drive and enjoy. But there is something very important that you need to internalize – trust. I grew up in a country that it is difficult to trust people, since you can’t even trust water taps lol. Everyone knows that the red sign is for hot water and the blue for cold but not in Angola, they always mistake them. The same way I fail to see my lovers for who they really are. You only know the person you love when you stop loving them… You are paralysed, it’s like the closer you get to the person, the more you lose your senses, your ability to see the warnings. But I managed to resuscitate them and surpass feelings, they were just feelings, devious feelings…not love.

Love is risky and it requires you to work on yourself in order to fully experience it in the right way. I learned the ugly truth that you need to go through pain in order to have the joy of love, sometimes that pain is not caused by a third party but yourself. Writing made me far ahead in pain - my talent to feel different pains and my immunity to my own issues made love possible for me …That’s how I learned how to love.

Lunga Noélia Izata

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