Sometimes I feel like I don't know how to love, because I spend so much time trying to protect myself. I don't necessarily like it, but it's how I've learned to survive.
I've experienced traumatic moments and have seemed stoic, robotic and cold, even. This is how I learned to cope. Emotions come later, or maybe never at all, if I'm really good about pushing it down.
I know that I have a long way to go with learning to love people. But (and this is what gives me hope), I don't ever stop trying.
I fall off the wagon sometimes, because sometimes it costs me everything I have to just feel okay. Sometimes I just need to get through stuff, you know? But I want to love deeply and genuinely. And that desire is greater than my desire to keep my fragile heart safe. Most of the time, at least.
I think it's hard for the people around me to see me grow and fall stagnant, time after time. But we all have our own learning curves. Unfortunately, mine is a little slower than others at times. I need grace for that; and I need people to trust that I'm still trying. I haven't given up and I'm still fighting my own stubbornness.
I also think that sometimes it's hard for me to feel even qualified to care for others, when I have such a lousy track record. I've hurt a lot of people, inadvertently or otherwise. I think that I'm learning that I don't need to love perfectly in order for me to still love. I think that's one of the most beautiful things about this life. We don't need to love perfectly; in fact, we can't love perfectly. But love despite our imperfections is what makes us beautiful.