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DeVon Jenkins: The Power of Love

Love is an emotional roller coaster. On the one hand, it can be the best ride of your life. Once you’re onboard you experience a little nervousness.  On the other hand, you fasten up, you’re riding the wave and you let your guard down. This is it! –though you still have hills, drops and unexpected turns, your sanity and investment in love remains.

As fairytale as it sounds, love is an unwavering feeling. But let’s state facts… the shit is rough. Within love, I’ve experienced questioning my own motives and actions just to please my significant other. Things I did long before my relationship evolved… the things you’d never imagine changing or giving up… GONE! These things can be trivial, shit that holds no real importance–or so you thought–but they are yours and you voluntarily abandon them for “us”.

Look, I’ve been through that two-fold experience of love. You know, that “happy glow”. You’re eating better, taking care of yourself , having dope and spontaneous sex. You start feeling appreciated and doing the unexpected for yourself and your relationship. Life starts to seem more interesting because you have someone to share it with— your bestfriend. That’s the power of love! Now, most will know the shit isn’t a walk in the park because WAH-LAH… by that second or third argument you’re questioning the entire relationship. How about when something so small blows up, and now everything that was dead has all of a sudden rose from the grave?

But you stick it out because the thought of being with someone else is a complete joke once you’ve realized what you have in front of you. Love is strong as f**k… let me tell you!

I’m currently going through my first time being in love. Throughout this process, I’ve dealt with a lot of emotions. Hell, I have even lost myself (don’t EVER lose yourself –dumbest shit ever!)

But I’m back. Praise God!

As powerful as love can be, I found it difficult to balance what I thought love was and what I was actually experiencing in my relationship. I’ve experienced passion, growth, maturity, and life with another human being. On the flip side, I’ve also experienced depression (self-diagnosed of course), self-doubt, questioning my self-worth and fighting with my own insecurities. To think that someone outside of yourself could have the power to sway your self-perception to that extent is insane.

(As a man, its hard to even say that out loud. Damn you, Jah!)

In my opinion, there is a significant difference between being “in love” and “loving” someone. Mentally and emotionally processing this difference wasn’t easy for me. I believe my partner was in love with me, but early on in our relationship it was impossible for me to love him the same.  As a gay male, growing up with my father in and out of my life wasn’t the easiest– and sadly I know I’ve carried the trauma our failed relationship into my romantic encounters. Similar to my father’s disappearing acts, I never trusted my partners to stay around long enough to love me. I was the guy that shut out the idea of love before it had a the chance to spark. I thought to love someone was remaining loyal and standing beside them in their time of need. That clearly wasn’t enough. Love has proven itself to be more than that.

I knew not to take anyone seriously because they were going walk out of my life the first chance they got anyways. In retrospect, I think I wanted someone to prove to me that I was worthy of them hanging around for the long haul; and like my dad, they all proved to be in and out with no regard for me wanting them to stay.

Fast forward to my 25th year of life. My first official relationship. I was legit someone’s boyfriend- shocking! This man was great! Way too good to be true. Everything I’ve ever wanted… maybe more , and I fucked it up because of my history of neglect.  Now listen, I’m not trying to victimize myself right now, but real is real. I wasn’t used to affection. I wasn’t used to 100 compliments a day. I wasn’t used to men caring about how my day was and making it better. Shit was all new to me. As a matter of fact,  it was scary as hell. Why does this man want to know so much about me? He’s too into me. This must be a joke. The dumb shit I said while shutting out the love of my life! All because I was nervous to take another man’s word for something, and him not following through… like my pops.

The first year of the relationship was pure bliss.  The amount of fun I experienced in that year alone was well worth it. When things seem to go right something goes left. Our second year wasn’t the best. There were a few situations that put road blocks in our progress and they were caused by me. As apologetic as I was about the situations, there was never any understanding. Ironically this is where I realized I was in love. Seeing the hurt that I put him through–because I wasn’t owing up to my bullshit–ultimately hurt me more than him. When I tell you he completely shut down! Everything was put on hold. From date nights, us engaging in meaningful conversation, laughter… even sex ! I apologized and sought to make things right, and while I thought all of my shutting him out was repairable, he thought I still had a lot to learn.

This went on a whole year later.

Fucked me up!

How can someone still be upset with you but want to remain connected to you ? Because… IN LOVE.

I did everything I knew how to show this man that I loved him, and no one else. It felt like I lost his trust. He barely spoke to me, we argued way more than we laughed, and despite my efforts to change,  the past issues continued to resurface. There was no way of winning at this point. I had lost the love of my life. We were sticking it through and I could feel it working at times. But I felt hopeless.

Never in my life had I experienced this level of sadness. I felt like I was walking on egg shells so much that there were times we would hang out and I’d have to rehearse my thoughts in hopes of not saying anything that would cause a fight. Who wants to live like that? I wasn’t eating– just drinking , smoking…pretty much going the fuck through it! Luckily, I have great friends that helped me pull it together from time to time, but I still wasn’t myself.

Vulnerability is never anything a man wants to feel but when it happens….

I’ve had to actually look in the mirror to recognize myself. It’s never ok to lose yourself in love. You don’t ever want to lose yourself for someone else… period. I was lost. I’m talking about stuck in the house all day (I’m already an introvert, but this was bad.) Not doing a thing and being content with it. My attitude towards everything was nasty–hell I was backed up! Not having sex. Can you blame me?

I remember watching the Steve Harvey Show one day (the talk show, not the show with Bullet Head)  and he happened to be talking about self worth. I understood, after watching that episode, that I’m fully in charge of my happiness and all the other bullshit will surpass. You can’t keep living your life for others. You can’t keep expecting someone else to understand your point of view that stems from your own understanding of disappointment and pain. You can’t go through life sad and regretful about the past that you can’t change. Holding on to a romantic tie to satisfy a void was not the wave. I began considering my own needs and doing things I enjoyed. Saying “no” and actually sticking through with it. Making my intentions known without the need for validation or affirmation from others.

Rediscovering myself has been an amazing feeling. Everything starts to fall in place when you initiate being in love with yourself, your trauma, your fears, and working to overcome them all. Not only have I found happiness within myself, but also in my relationship. I’m back to being in love with the person I fell in love with 3 years ago. That’s what makes love so dope. It has the ability to break down walls.

Love: the most powerful and scariest feeling I’ve ever encountered.

DJ.

1 Response
  • Shanise Lewis
    March 1, 2018

    Great read! I’ve lost myself so many times whether Loving someone or being what I though was in love. Being in love is definitely a humbling experience I almost messed it up for me too being so afraid to let my now fiancé in. I was used to giving 100% but never receiving the same. It took me a while to understand that I deserved not only to love but to be loved. Being completely vulnerable allowing someone in is s risk worth taking.

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