I wrote this a year ago. Our romantic relationship ended, but our friendship is strong. I hope this touches you the way it did me.
By Kenneth Stepp
Transparency. What does that word mean to you? To me it means that I am safe. Welcome to the way my mind works. Now one must ask. What does love and transparency have to do with one another? I believe they are tied together and can never be separated. Most who know me know that I have found my forever love. I found her in a true friend. Our relationship has existed for years. But not in its current form. I’ve loved her for over two years, but could never win her heart. Today, I have. We have committed fully to one another. Call it a total surrender if you will. Never before have I lived through so many wonderful layers as now.
If we have surrendered. What have we surrendered to? For me it was transparency. For some years now I built walls that I allowed few if any to view what’s on the other side. If I dated someone it was not publically known for example. My actions were all behind my walls. No one could see them, so there was no accountability for them.I became such a flirt. I continued talking to other women. Not just as friends. But in a way that boasted my singleness. Why? Because I was never taken. My heart had no home. My soul still searched for its mate. I have always been a man of integrity. But began questioning my actions. Hidden as they were. I believe this is far more common these days. With both men and women.
Without accountability we drift. As a studier of myself, I watch what I do. I am harder on me than anyone ever could be. If, or dare I say when I do something that under normal conditions I wouldn’t do. I wince a little. The problem is that when dealing with matters of the heart, people get hurt. Some deeply. This journey has caused great damage to myself and others. We touch lives every day. If we are single and looking. The risk of being hurt or hurting another is high. Should any of us finally find forever. We quickly realize we are two damaged, beat up, and tired humans. Two people with baggage. We also have a past. That past is always full of secrets. Many that only we know about. Many that imprison us and make us feel unworthy to be loved unconditionally by another. Some of us never escape this prison…
Enter love. Love for me is the most powerful force this side of eternity. If there is a problem. Love is the answer. Children starving in a foreign country. If we love them. We’d solve it. If we’re at war with someone. Try loving them and you will no longer war with them. Do you see where I’m going here? Love. It is what we need. It “fixes” everything that’s wrong. Without love. Nothing is really real. Life is missing a sweetness that only unconditional love brings. Without love. There will always be hidden lives we wish did not exist. Without love, there is no real acceptance. Without love, we will always have a great void in our heart.
“Without love, our earth is a tomb”
― Robert Browning
Having found love, I have found transparency. I have found freedom. My love has known me at my darkest hour. She knows the dark parts of me. She knows my flaws, my weaknesses, my past, and my secrets. Yet she loves me anyway. Finding myself in a relationship where I can be me, hide nothing, and allow her to know everything about me. My past and my innermost self has been amazing. To be fully free to be me. To not worry about being someone I’m not. It’s intoxicating. I have found a freedom I had not expected in her. My soul can lay bare in front of her and I am safe. It is transparency that frees us. Truth. Who knew?
We all have “stuff”. Stuff no one knows about us. We have all acted without accountability and our integrity has stumbled. The freedom within a love bubble amazes me more every day I live in it. The liberty that comes from knowing I am accepted without judgement, envy, or malice is amazing. For those still on the journey, take heart. When you find your forever, you will find things that only exist where real love exists. Our love is both new and old. Like a fine wine, it had to age. Take your time. When love comes. Every hurt, everything that confused you, every near miss will make sense. To become who we are today. All our yesterdays had to happen just the way they played out. Let them…
“Love makes us super humans”
“There and then, sitting beside her and within the strength of my adoration, I felt invincible.”
― Hisham Matar