Tonight I had a spectacularly eventful Friday night! By which, I mean I went to Trader Joe’s, made cauli-alfredo with quinoa fusilli, and settled in to watch a movie. I chose Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. In addition to Minnie Driver being one of my absolute favorite actresses (a master at her craft), I also remembered thinking of this film fondly. It had a happy feel when I thought about it: the sweet dog, the hilarious quartet of old men, the young woman who finally experiences true love. Sounds like a fantastic movie night, yes?
So why am I in a puddle of tears, surrounded by tissues?
What comes to mind is this heart-gripping feeling that no one may ever love me because of my health issues.
But what’s worse, is the feeling beneath it: Do I deserve it?
I realized while watching the final moments of the film is that when I wonder, “Will anyone ever love me with all of my problems?” what I’m really asking is, “Do I deserve love?” I know everyone will tell me “yes, of course you deserve love!” But somewhere along the way, I stopped even understanding that as an option.
What do you do when you realize that deep down you feel this way? How do you react when you find out this is what your life and your thought patterns have become? How do you learn how to accept that you deserve love as an option for you, personally? How do I learn to accept that?
I start by writing, and by talking, and especially by listening. I think one of the hardest things my generation has to deal with is the common acceptance that no one is ever fully listening. It goes beyond the usual complaints of leaving cell phones out during dinner with friends or having multiple group texts constantly going so that no one can read absolutely everything posted. Our news cycle runs 24 hours, pushing networks to run the same headlines again and again. Missed it last time? Here’s another chance! Even when you are watching, there’s multiple other things happening on the screen – headlines scrolling, stock numbers updating. We have all grown so used to being partially ignored that we forget to listen to one another.
As a side effect, we have assimilated the belief that what we have to say is not enough.
Let me say that again: We have assimilated the belief that what we have to say is not enough. It’s wearing on us as individuals; you can see it in the constant need for external validation in liked posts or comment replies. It’s affecting our society by pushing us farther apart even though we live physically closer together now than ever before. And the effect is that we all feel, quite simply, alone. Unimportant. Not enough.
And here I am doing this exact thing – talking on and on about what’s in my head. On a platform that doesn’t allow for easy back-and-forth conversation. But I do have one last thing to say:
You are enough, and you deserve love.