“So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”-Stephen Chbosky, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Two weeks ago, my beautiful friend, Rebecca and I set out to see the film, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. We both looked forward to a Friday night out together to see a film that piqued both of our interests, but much to our chagrin, we got the time of the film wrong and ended up closing down Starbuck’s, instead of watching the movie. Yep; that’s the life of two single gals! Not ones to give up, we headed out earlier this evening to see the film, after double checking to make sure we got the show time correct, of course. Thankfully, we did, as this movie blew me away with its poignancy and aching beauty, and it left tears in my eyes and an imprint on my mind, heart, and baby soul.
If you have not seen this gem yet, I encourage you to do so, and never fear, I promise not spoil it for you by revealing too much. In fact, I am going to focus on just a few of the many brilliant quotes from the movie, one of them being, “We accept the love we think we deserve”. That one line came out of nowhere and has been in my thoughts ever since it was uttered. It reminded me that nothing happens by chance, as that line and the entire film were appropriate follow-ups to a conversation I had with my wise and dear friend, Trude, yesterday afternoon and a conversation I had with my always thought-provoking pen pal prior to the film tonight. The timing was perfect indeed, even if my attempts to capture some of my thoughts here are less than perfect.
As you have read in some of my previous posts, I have searched for unconditional love and acceptance throughout my life, and this search has both haunted me and brought me great joy. So, in the film, when Sam asks Charlie, “Why do I, and everyone I love, pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?”, you better believe that my ears perked up, as I eagerly awaited the response, which happened to be the observation Charlie’s english teacher shared with him in another scene, “We accept the love we think we deserve”. Both the question and the answer are heartbreakingly honest, and they give rise to more questions that may or may not have the clear-cut answers I seek.
At different times in my life and with different people, I thought I found unconditional love and acceptance, only to have had it taken away, sometimes almost as soon as it was offered and other times, slowly, over weeks, months, or years. I have found unconditional love and acceptance under the most unexpected circumstances and from the most unexpected sources. I have been unable to reciprocate the unconditional love and acceptance that has been offered to me by others, and I also have been unable to obtain the unconditional love and acceptance from some of the people I desire it from the most. In the same vein, at times, I have been able to love and accept myself unconditionally, flaws and all, and I also have denied myself the very unconditional love and acceptance that I seek from others. To say love and acceptance are complicated is the understatement of a lifetime.
Sam’s question is one that I have asked of others and myself when my desire to be loved and accepted for who and what I am have led me to people who have left me hurt and alone, and Charlie’s response to Sam leaves me wondering whether I really settle for less than I want and need, because I believe that is what I truly deserve. I have such a clear vision for myself and for my life, and I know what I truly want. I appreciate those people who choose to be in my life and give me what I need and want freely and generously and who allow me to love them right back. I definitely have more questions than answers, and my journey continues.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story
Your post got me thinking….that it is the loss of unconditional love that is the very hardest thing to bear in a break up of a marriage. And it is not that the other person is gone and has taken the love with them but rather the realisation that the unconditional love was never there in the first place – otherwise they would have stayed. So now I need to turn that around and instead of mourning its loss, instead accept it all as an illusion, then strive to “love and accept myself unconditionally” as you so brilliantly put it. We all need to do that for ourselves first, before we seek it from others and let it rise above and conquer the ‘self-criticism’ that seems to dominate at times. 🙂
Elizabeth, thanks for continuing to read my blog and sharing your thoughts and experiences. In my own marriage, I can honestly say that we loved and accepted each other unconditionally and still do, but we are better ex-spouses than spouses for a variety of reasons. I feel fortunate that our divorces was mutual and amicable, and we still have a supportive relationship as parents and as friends.
Self-acceptance and self-love are things I am just now coming to fully understand, and as I come into my own, more and more, I know I am capable of both. Each day, I feel as if I am progressing, and when I have a setback, it doesn’t take me as long to regroup and to get back on track. It has taken me awhile to get here, but like who and what I am.
Be gentle with yourself as you mourn the loss of your marriage, and just know that you are enough and are not defined by who is and is not in your. Sending you best wishes and peace!
Thanks so much for your uplifting comment. It meant a lot to me.