What is Love? Have you ever just stopped and asked yourself that question? We use this word a hundred thousand times in our lifetimes and yet do we really understand it. Do animals fall in love? They say swans mate for life but how do they actually feel if indeed they do ‘feel’? When we ‘fall in love’ with someone what actually happens? Is this some magical effect that takes hold of us, and won’t let go? This is what I want to discuss tonight…

I, for one, am a romantic. Flowers, chocolates, candles, roaring log fires, candle lit bubble baths with jazz playing in the background, writing poetry and love letters, watching sunsets, cuddling, kissing, sitting in little quaint restaurants and gazing into each other’s eyes, talking about feelings, dreams, hopes.. Yeah. I am a true romantic.

Not only does it feel great to know that this other person cares about you, thinks about, writes messages filled with hearts and kisses and line after line of kissing emoticons each night like a teenager drunk on those first flushes of this strange and wonderful emotion, not wanting to say goodbye, not wanting that vital connection to end, but also for me that feeling, that other energy brings out the most amazing creative energy in me. I am inspired to write, paint, draw, design, create a better future, a better version of myself.

You see, as much as I love romance, and god knows I could quite happily wallow in it, surround myself with it, lose myself in it, what I really love more about ‘love’ (or rather feeling Love) is the energetic connection that I have with this wonderful inspiring person. You see I believe that love, just like the home that we know is just perfect for us the moment we set foot through the door for the first time and get that ‘feeling’, like the piece of music or the song that we just can’t stop listening to late at night sitting by candlelight and getting lost in the lyrics, like the place we always go for a coffee or a late night beer because we know if feels good to be there and where we feel happiest, love is a connection between our energy and that persons. It is a match literally of our energy and theirs. We know intuitively when that match is good, when their energy will combine with our own to form a powerful and beautiful bond. And when it is right, we feel calm, our heart does not race but beats gently and softly in our chest, the sound of their voice makes everything ok again, and all our worries dissappear.

My previous relationships, in the beginning, burned brightly like a flame, like fire. My heart raced, my stomach churned, my palms where sweaty and my head spun. Those connections were intense for those first few months maybe years, but ultimately I knew in my heart of hearts, deep down, lying quietly beside him in bed late at night, that it was going to end, that it wasn’t right. Of course, what happens for most of us I guess, is that you choose to ignore this gut instinct, because it’s easier to stay, it’s easier to just keep going.

I loved my ex husband. He was kind, generous, creative… Being 19 years older than myself and I a mere 21 when we first met, he was also my teacher in many ways. He taught me how to appreciate music, how to explore my mind, how to look at the world in a completely different way and to question everything. The first 3 or 4 years passed in a whirlwind of night clubs, trips to Ibiza, dancing, parties, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. We were living in London at a time when Soho was still a cool place to hang out. We’d go to the famous Trade night club in Clerkenwell at 4am on a Sunday morning and dance until midday, riding the tube back surrounded by the sullen faces of church goers returning home to cook sunday lunch, whilst we, still high from the various class A’s we’d taken laughed and giggled to ourselves thinking how ironic the situation was!

But then came our wedding day four years later on a chilly January morning, our civil partnership to be exact, at a small registry office tucked away in the East End. My parents and some friends were there, smiling and taking photos. But my hand was shaking as I signed that document, for I knew it wouldn’t last. Our connection was not right, not true, it had all been a dream and I had ignored it. I continued to ignore it for a further four years until the bitterness and resentment had grown, had strained our fragile relationship until it finally snapped. It was devastating. The pain and moreso the guilt unbearable for I was the one who had finally said, had finally admitted that this just simply wasn’t working. It wasn’t right.

I stumbled directly into yet another long realtionship of five years, perhaps needing love rather than actually feeling love, afraid to be alone. I remember the feeling being the same. My heart raced, my knees trembled, my body ached for him, for his touch. It was pure sex. It was the kind of sex I had never known before and what inspired me to do the work I now do. But likewise, I knew, lying there beside him late at night, in a different bed, a different room, a different part of London, but I knew it wouldn’t last. He hurt me more than anyone has ever hurt me, not with his fists, but with his words. So cold, so cruel, so manipulative, lie after lie, each one to cover up the last. And I knew all along, because I could feel it. The energy felt terrible, it drained me mentally and physically until I was a shell of a person. When I finally managed to get away from him, when I finally had the courage to leave, I vowed never to feel the pain of love again. To never allow myself to be hurt again, to be controlled again. I built a wall around myself, an impenetrable barrier that no man could get through.

I fucked my way around London. Each night searching for some new and shallow pleasure. Gloryholes, saunas, Grindr, Sex parties.. Fucking for the sake of fucking and always, that night, lying alone in my bed, feeling empty and alone. As I write I can’t help with think of the lovely Taylor Swift’s lyrics ‘…all love ever does is break and burn and end..’. The thought of allowing love to enter my life again was unimaginable. One more failure and my heart would shatter like glass into a million pieces. So I decided to fall in love with Spain instead, for a country wouldn’t hurt me, chip away at my self esteem, tell me I was too fat or too thin, tell me to ‘Fuck Off’ during an argument, humiliate me, lie to me, try to destroy my very soul. Spain would wrap it’s wide arms around me, caress my skin with it’s golden sunshine, calm my mind with it’s gently lapping waves, and kiss me goodnight under a canopy of stars shining in darkest skies. Spain would heal me.

And then one day.. Out of nowhere. A stranger walked into my life and for the first time my heart did not race. My palms did not sweat. My knees did not shake. My belly did not churn. I felt calm. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and relaxation. And I knew I had found the right energy. A gentle, calm energy that I could depend upon, that would soothe me, relax me, support me, an energy that would put me first and wish only good things come into my life.. Make me feel better..

So.. As much as I love romance. The most important thing for me in knowing whether or not that guy is right for you, is the stillness of your heart rather than racing of your pulse. For that stillness, that calmness is what will lead you happily through your day and help your mind to rest at night. Safe in the knowledge that he loves you with no bells and whistles, fancy gifts, grand gestures..
He simply loves you and is connected to you for who you are, just as you are. This for me is Love…

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