Love Unexpressed Is Waste

I have never been in a long-term relationship -- or an LTR as it's abbreviated on the interwebs. This is not an admission that should really be altogether shocking, considering I'm still in my 20s and only came out to my family a couple years ago. While I was closeted, any shot at an LTR was limited by the lack of honesty that would have inevitably resulted. This did not prevent me from dating, and sometimes even dating steadily, but without living my truth, I couldn't assist another in living theirs.

Those shackles no longer exist. I now go about life as freely and openly as one can. I don't hide behind Facebook privacy settings or choose my confidants with precision.

I have gone through various phases regarding men. There have been times where I wanted all of them, and there have been moments I would've killed for just one. Sometime this year I realized the "just one" phase I'm currently overcome by has a permanent feel.

I'm not the kind to spend a great deal of time delving into astrological signs. I am told, though, that, as a Leo, my drive for loving and protecting others is strong- part of a leadership mentality or some such. I have always found myself holding leadership roles, often times when I didn't even seek them. I spearheaded numerous independent productions throughout high school and college, and I have managed to find ways to lead in a city full of followers. I am independent and stubborn, but I feel empty and depressed if I go too long without community.

Family is the ultimate community; 'the ties that bind' I believe is the old saying. I would say this basic thirst goes farther than Leos; we, all of us, want to feel like we are part of a larger, interconnected network of people- a support system for the ages.

After coming out, I discovered just how deep and beautiful my own support system was. Family members I had spoken little with over the years came forward to express their love and acceptance. One of those dearest to me shared their own sexual orientation with me, the first family member with which they had done so. Going beyond my blood relatives, I occasionally get messages from old friends and colleagues, even strangers, asking for help or just saying they believe in me. There's nothing really remarkable about my journey, but uniqueness shouldn't be a requirement for expressing love to others.

My appreciation for this unit of people has been in a constant state of growth throughout recent months. Before, when my personal life was shrouded in secrecy, isolation was far more common for me. As a result, my internal well-being often suffered. This is no longer an issue.

Instead, I am now slowly been discovering my own capacity to love. Love is a word I write about frequently. This is intentional. It is what I believe to be the most important word in the English language. It is a banner of strength and a deafening weapon of pain. It moves us forward and holds us back. Without its existence, no life would be worth living. With it, each life is more complex. In the end, it is the greatest, most powerful tool we have in our utility belts. How we choose to use it determines its effect on others.

Which brings us to my "just one" discovery. Through a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events, I've found just how much love I have to give. It is frightening. I find it frightening because I know it's there, and I know the potential for greatness that exists within. Great love, as I explained above, can cause great pain. Wasting it can be the ultimate heartache. In silence, the likelihood of hurt increases exponentially. Expressing feelings allows for peace and purity. Therefore, wasting love is bottling it up and keeping it from others.

In perhaps the gayest reference I will make today, Dolly Parton had a 1970s hit called "The Bargain Store," which I may consider to be the most poignant of her many compositions. The song compares an individual to a nickel-and-dime shop, and there is one line that says "I've wasted love, but I still have some more." In order to discover the immense capacity I have to love, I wasted some. But I still have some more.