I remember very vividly coming home from school in the 7th grade, with a note from friends of mine, telling me that they didn’t think the friendship was working out. I ran off the bus after a horrifying 20 minute ride with those very friends. I sat further up in the front than we normally did, away from the gang. I listening to music and sat by someone I knew from my neighborhood, that wasn’t in that particular friend group. I didn’t talk, just put in some headphones and silently counted the blocks and familiar landmarks that lead to my house.
I jumped off the bus at my stop and ran towards my house. I walked in the front door crying. My dad was home from work earlier than normal, and he was vacuuming the house while my mom mopped. They both asked me quickly what was going on. I produced the note, and the crying continued.
My parents were both furious. And looking back now, they weren’t furious for the same reasons I was. They were so sad that I was having to go through that. They told me it was ridiculous, they told me that those friends of mine weren’t really my friends, they went through the list with me of other friends that I had to spend time with. They told me I didn’t have to go to a ward activity that evening where some of those friends might be. I remember my dad saying “That is just…aght…” and shaking his head. I remember my mom getting very serious and saying “You know what, those girls don’t have any idea what friendship is. So what if you don’t all like exactly the same things? That’s ridiculous.”
I remember having late night conversations on the stairs with my parents about this group of friends as I went back and forth with them for the next two years.
But I’ll never forget how they never brushed off my feelings, no matter how irrational. They let me cry, and be embarrassed and hurt.
They let me feel.
They also loved me enough to let me fix things in my own way. No phone calls to parents. No party throwing to try to woo them back. They knew eventually I would figure out the right path, the right choices, and make them. They just let me be sad, and vent, and work it out in my own head while they gently gave guidance and assurance.
They loved me enough to let me feel.
And I will always be so grateful for that.
Sometimes we don’t want the people we love to feel pain. We don’t want them to hurt. That’s a factor of love. But loving is also understanding that feeling is living. That it’s a part of this life, and that sometimes we need to let the people we love, feel. We need to be by their side while they feel instead of asking or willing them to stop.
Love is being yourself because you know no matter how you are feeling, the people who love you will understand and be OK with it. It’s laughing as loud as you want, crying as much as you need to, venting more than necessary, and smiling for no reason at all.
Love is being raw, emotional, passionate.
Love is feeling.