For most of my life, I have had a skewed version of what love is. My relationship with love is complicated, at times, torturous. It would be simple to say I fall in love easily; I wear my heart on my sleeve and believe in the good of all people. But as I said, my connection with love is twisted. I am forever stuck thinking I deserve love, but I am unworthy of it. 
People have said I am a dreamer, a romantic, and I guess they’re somewhat right. I recognize love is what makes the world go round. But there are times, (too many to count),  I don’t believe I am deserving of real honest love. With my whole heart, I know I warrant the type of love that will knock me off my feet and shift my head into the clouds. However, my relationship with her, and how love has made me feel in the past is one that encompasses hurt. 
I am not much different from any other human, we all crave deep soul filled connections, especially through love. Perhaps I am wrong to believe so firmly in love stories and happy endings, but ever since I was a little girl, I craved them. Constantly looking for a love that didn’t hurt. Hoping there was a different kind of love than the one I had been shown. 
I’m not saying my glass slipper has to be found and traipsed across all the land.  Fitted onto unworthy women before finally making its way to me and sliding ever so gently over my foot. I know love isn’t like that, but I also realize I do deserve to have a better relationship with her than I have had in the past. 
Love has consistently been a tumultuous fight in my life. I find myself in a juxtaposition starving to understand what it feels like to be truly loved. Or, to truly let love inside my scarred and guarded heart. 
 I open my heart quickly, speak of my emotions without conflict, trust instantly and give my entirety to her, but as soon as she displays any semblance to hurt, I run as fast as an Olympian to a safe place built out of anxiety, pain, and fear.
As a young girl, love was planted upon my tender skin by the hurtful, dangerous, and deceitful hands of my abuser. The whispers in my ear and secrets he asked me to keep were because he loved me. His so-called love distorted my perception of love altogether; I despised love and everything in which it meant. Love wasn’t a fairytale with a happy ending, love hurt. Creating a little girl who only knew hurtful love and a woman who now craves a fairytale, a Charming Prince.  
The first time my three-year-old body was touched by my molester any chance I had of believing love doesn’t hurt, was ripped from my tiny heart.  My fundamental understanding of love came with fear, confusion and it left me with a sickness. A constant misinterpretation of what love should feel like, I either chased the wrong people and blamed myself when that love hurt me, or I pushed love away completely. *I am currently working on this.*
This twisted heart aches to show devotion and kindness, craves deep connections but quivers in fear when love gets too close. 
I pursued love in a way that was unhealthy for most my adult life, one that was injurious but the only kind I knew. I have perpetually ached to feel what others have described as butterflies and vibrations on their skin. To be told I am worth each emotional scar inside my heart. But as often as I chased love, I also turned it away. I have spent so much time convincing myself all love comes with hurt, it eventually became my reality, I chose it.  Consuming my time pursuing a toxic prince charming and inequitable love. 
I believed I only rated hurtful love, the kind that shattered my ego into a million pieces while lying motionless in the fetal position. Love in which only felt normal, because if it wasn’t a little broken and painful, it couldn’t truly be love. I spent many years hunting for (and finding), the kind of love that left me banging my head against a wall leaving emotional scars, and a damaged heart. Infinitely causing me to wonder if I would ever be good enough. Smart enough, or pretty enough to be loved.
Not until the levy of my emotions broke, while fighting an addiction that hid all these effects, did I finally come to grips with the fact that I chased toxic relationships, virulent love. Not only did I pursue destructive relationships but also attracted poisonous love. Always living the life of the victim I once was. Because the victim role was the only place, I had ever felt comfortable or accepted. 
It has taken me years to understand hurt is not a part of a loving relationship. And accepting that I deserve a love that isn’t filled with fear and anxiety has become one of the greatest accomplishments in my emotional life. I now know I am worthy of genuine love, real, warm and compassionate love. I have come to understand I may never have the charming prince kneeling before me while slipping on that glass slipper in a fairytale ending. But I am worthy of my soul mate, and more importantly, he is worthy of me and the splintered pieces of my heart. 
Love scares the hell out me, I have spent a long time trying to understand my relationship with her. She can take away misery and worry in a simple skip of the heart, yet within seconds of warming your breast, she can also stick a hot knife of sadness directly inside your being. 
My relationship with love will always be hard work, I have fought long and hard so as to accept that I deserve to be loved fully, genuinely and without the hurt inflicted on me as well as by me. I have learned to forgive myself and others for hurt. And I am finally coming closer to believing love doesn’t hurt, and I am worthy of being loved. 

16665201_10154828530575482_1448659680250889246_oBio: Darla Halyk is the Mom of a Teenage boy and Tween Girl. She studied Business Management at Simon Fraser University. Soon after receiving her Degree, she married and quickly got pregnant with her first child. Deciding to stay home with her kids instead of returning to the workforce after the birth of her son, she become an SAHM, but not your average one. The gig lasted until the kids were school-aged, and her marriage ended in Divorce. Darla has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to hold a pen to paper. Currently, she writes for her blog at NewWorldMom. Bringing a fresh, honest and humorous take on parenting, women’s issues, relationships, divorce, and life, in general.


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