We accept the love we think we deserve

Dear Celly,

I told myself I was done writing to you for the night, because I have lots of other things to attend to, and I still have months to write to you. But I needed to get this down before I forgot what I needed to say and what I meant. (I’m typing this from a handwritten version, and I know that I still ended up not managing to hold on and get down everything I meant, but I hope I’ve gotten enough.) I walked into the apartment just now, and you were on the couch watching the Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was right at the point that Sam and the-one-guy-who-is-the-main-character-but-I-don’t-know-his-name-’cause-I-didn’t-watch-it were in her room after her graduation talking. And that one quote that everyone knows came up; “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I stood there for a moment and listened, and watched, and then looked over at you because you were exactly what came to mind just then, especially because I had just finished writing you a different letter. I know you have to have heard it before, and probably have thought about it. But what I want to know is if you understand it, if you believe and apply it and realize just what it means in your life. I have watched you for the past four years, and this past year in particular, make some really stupid decisions, some that just trainwrecked down the line. You’ve been in and out of relationships with guys, been in friendships with both guys and girls, that I have just shaken my head at and wondered why. You may be aware that I do this a lot in regards to you. I have always done my best to be neutral, to be supportive of you regardless of your choices, and to try and offer sense and sound advice and be somebody that has your back without being judgemental at all. And I never have judged you. I have walked away from a conversation with you where it’s felt like talking to a brick wall, because even when you self-identify your bad decisions, or acknowledge that I’m right about my advice, you still walk headlong and eyes open into whatever choice you set yourself on anyway, and that’s made me frustrated and sad, but I’ve never once judged you, or held anything against you, or turned you away. I understand, conceptually if not emotionally, how and why you make the decisions that you do. You’ve said it yourself–you have a hard time saying no to people, or standing up for yourself. Me too. Receiving attention from another person gives you good feelings and validation. But Celly-you deserve better than that. You deserve better than what you’ve been finding and accepting and holding on to long past when you need to. And sometimes you’re doing the other person just as much of a disservice because you aren’t giving them what they deserve either, but that’s something else. You have people, me included, who love you as you ought to be, as you deserve to be, but you have a hard time seeing and accepting it.

In my first letter to you, I told you that I believe love should be unconditional, unreserved, and irrevocable. Love should be boundless and overwhelming and full. I’ve got the belief and the balls to demand that kind of love in a romantic relationship. (At least in theory-you know full well I haven’t really had the practice, but I maintain that’s because I have high standards and good sense, plus a really small pond to fish from.) I refuse to give the time to a relationship if it isn’t going to be a full commitment, if it can’t be from either my end or theirs. And I haven’t found anyone worth the effort or time. It may be me and my cat and Jesus till the day I die waiting on that kind of love, but that’s okay. Animals and God seem to be the only ones that love that way, all the time. I admit, I have a hard time letting God in to be able to love me, and I sure don’t give it back the way I need to. I’m working on that. I’ve always believed that He loves unconditionally and forgives us everything if we only believe in Him.

For all my tough talk though, I have yet to find the guts to demand the love I deserve from my friends. I make dumb choices there, in a stupid blind hope that this time will be it. This time, this person, will be the best friend that for once I am their best friend too, that I’m not second or third or fifth fiddle to someone else. Some small part of my heart continues to hope that one day it would be you, even though the rest of me knows better by now. Celly, I don’t need or expect to be your first choice, your best friend, your favorite person in the universe. I can’t give you what you seem to want and need from a best friend-I just don’t have what it takes. And that’s okay. I’ll keep on waiting til God gives me the one who is supposed to be that for me. I think (and again, it may be a stupid hope, but I’m hoping anyway) that He may have done so already. I accept that everyone who enters my life does so for a reason. I’ll probably keep making friends with people who I give my love to, who I put my expectations and trust in, and will be let down. I talk a big game, but I’m tired of being lonely. It seems like every attempt, every new hope just sucks more out of me. But I’m an eternal optimist, and a sucker, so I’ll keep on trying and giving because we can never run out of love. I believe, as I’ve said before, that friends=family, and family=love, and love is unconditional and unreserved. So I’ll keep pouring out my love to friends that may not be friends back in the way that matches my equation. And I hope that at least my love is helping those people in some way that they needed at that point in their life. But Celly, the point of all this as to say that you shouldn’t let this happen to you. You continued to accept and cling to people, friends and boys, that don’t return the love you give to them, the way that I do. But unlike me, you have people waiting in the wings to love you like you deserve. Like your family, like me, like (I think) a certain boy who is crazy about you, and keeps waiting and hoping while you keep him dangling as you turn to everybody and anybody else for the love he’s holding out to you.

Baby, you need to learn to accept the love you actually deserve, not just what you think you deserve. Loud and fierce and bold and courageous and full and neverending. Let God love you. Let your family love you. Don’t waste your time and love on people who don’t love you like you deserve-wait for the ones that do. I will always be waiting with all the love you deserve, as soon as you recognize it as such, and that I’m holding my arms out waiting to give it to you.

I hope this came off exactly the way I intended, and not one of the many ways it could maybe be misconstrued. I didn’t tell you about my thoughts and feelings and experiences to make you feel bad or guilty, but as statements of fact and examples of the point that I am trying to make. We accept the love we think we deserve. We deserve love that is unconditional and endless. We only have to learn to think and believe that that is the case. And I’ll keep on believing it for you till you catch up.

All my love,

Bailey

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