The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
– Eden Ahbez – ‘Nature Boy’ *
* The first time I heard ‘Nature Boy’ was when I watched Moulin Rouge. And although I really, really love Moulin Rouge, let’s forget that for a moment and instead use Nat King Cole as our inspiration, shall we?
When I was younger I used to believe that there no greater universal truth than love (I would like to imagine myself as the Nature Boy, albeit without the wisdom). Perhaps the time has come to reconnect with my younger self again. Sure, my younger self was horribly naïve, an idealistic dreamer who was socially inept and who lived in constant fear of the real world, but despite all those negatives I truly believed. I truly believed that things would work out in the end despite the lack of self-confidence and the voices in my head which kept telling me that I would always fail. I truly believed that I could eventually become a better person than I was as long as I kept fighting against myself, and I promised I would do that no matter how long it took. There were times when I even pictured myself as an old man when it would finally happen, an old man who had until then lived his entire life all alone. And I imagined how indescribably happy I would feel, and I truly believed that happiness was a possibility as long as I never gave up. Yeah, I did say I was horribly naïve right? But is that really such a bad thing?
But somewhere along the line I had lost that belief and I forgot the promise I once made to myself. It wasn’t something that happened overnight of course. Throughout the years I had often questioned my beliefs and resolve, feeling exhausted and lonely and it seemed the more I fought against myself the more exhausted and lonelier I felt. I even started to question whether it was worth it at all; if it was something I even wanted in the first place. I’ve always had a lot of doubts, but it wasn’t until last week that I realized just how close I was to giving up. I didn’t realize until last week how much I had shielded off my emotions in the past months and all the while I fooled myself into thinking that I was merely regaining control of my life. There is a huge difference between not letting your emotions dictate your life and not letting them enter your life in the first place, but I was incapable to distinguish between the two. I thought the way to finally feel happy about myself was to completely ignore my feelings, and I didn’t realize for a second just how ridiculous that sounded. How was I supposed to feel happiness if I didn’t allow myself to feel anything in the first place?
To be honest, I still have no idea how I should deal with myself or my feelings. In fact, I have often thought about seeking professional help, but I don’t know if that is the solution or even how I should approach that. In any case, I mustn’t forget that I have already come a long, long way. A long time ago I promised myself that I would become a better person, and despite everything I have to believe that that is what I have accomplished. Yes, I still have a long, long way left to go. Yes, I still feel utterly inadequate when I compare myself to ‘normal’ people because of my inability to show affection. No, I never even remotely experienced anything that I would define as ‘love’ and to be honest, there are many moments when I am convinced that it would never happen. But then again, it was never about the short term, never about certainty anyway, right? It is about what I believe in personally and deep down in my heart I know I still totally agree with Eden Ahbez: that the greatest thing you’ll learn is just to love and be loved in return.