I was always the girl who wanted the mysterious stranger. The more unavailable a person was, the more attractive they became to me. “Hard to get” was a challenge and an opportunity for me to prove my worth in my mind. The hot and cold mind games made me crazy, but they added passion and dimension to a relationship. I only loved them harder when I thought I was losing them. The thrill of the chase was my drug of choice and I couldn’t get enough.

And then, slowly, I began to realize that I had enough. I didn’t need that drug anymore. I deserved to be pursued, to be loved with every fiber of someone’s being, to be spoiled and taken care of. I looked at the way I poured myself into people and I thought “that is what I want for ME”. And if no one else could love me like that, then it was up to me. And I started to treat myself the way I wanted to be treated. I became my own Prince Charming. And I began to realize I am absolutely worth it.

And as I fell head-over-heels in love with this woman, and with this life, I began to realize that the way other people loved me didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t have to settle. I didn’t have to be unhappy. I could fully and freely love them and expect nothing in return.

I didn’t need breadcrumbs from someone else’s half-empty table anymore because I had prepared my own feast and I had enough to share with anyone I encountered. I began to love with a reckless abandon that I had never known. I started telling people what I loved about them, started loving others the way I had always dreamed of being loved. Raw, real, unfiltered. Not watered down to fit into modern society. I found things to love about people I had previously been bitter towards. I looked for things to love in the people that were challenging. I discovered new reasons to love my friends. I allowed romance to come back into my life.

I began to realize that real love never feels like a prison. Love sets people free. Love doesn’t clip someone’s wings and force them to stay. Love allows them to soar. It leaves them absolutely free to be themselves. Free to follow their dreams. Free to choose me or not, with no impact on the way I felt about them. I stopped loving my self-imposed image of who people were supposed to be and learned to love people exactly as they are. I learned to stop, to look, to really see, people. I decided that I would hold their hand through anything and love them the best I could until they didn’t want to hold hands anymore or until loving them compromised my love for myself.

And I started saying “I love you”. I started screaming it, living it, attempting to be this radical version of love to the world around me.

And the world around me started to change. And as people walked in and out, I learned to wish them well with a heart still full of love. And the people that came to fill those gaps? Those people are my people. Open and vulnerable and passionate and magical. The world became a fantasy place again, filled with the wonder of life, awe-inspiring and amazing.

So, my friend, if you are reading this, I love you! I love you with everything I have, no strings, no need to reciprocate. And I won’t stop loving you. I may love you as a close friend, or I may watch you and love you from a distance, but I will not stop loving you.

And I challenge you to try it. Tell someone that you love them. Take a chance. It can be a friend or a romantic partner or a child. Tell them. You never know whose world you will change.

In all honesty, it will probably be yours.


About Shannon Joy

I am a single mama with two incredible munchkins. I confuse most people and the deeper you delve into the rabbit hole, the more lost you will become. I play a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by experiences and grace and perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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