Does having loved another with all your heart, despite the crash and burn, invalidate any subsequent love? Does a love cease to be real if you’ve loved before? Shouldn’t we always bet all of our chips in love? Otherwise, what’s the point?
Think about it. We always seem to feel the need to somehow apologize for past giving of ourselves. There is always that pressure to invalidate, suggesting that love is a single-use commodity.
But love is an intrinsic part of the self that you develop with time, and mistakes, and tears. Your capacity to love changes. Your understanding of love and its potential depth evolves. That does not, however, mean that you haven’t -or should not have- given of yourself, inasmuch as you are capable of doing so within that frame of your own evolution.
And if in fact you really did mean it before, does that lessen the impact of this, the love you now revel in?
In my kitchen, there are many spices. I oft woefully survey the disheveled army of bottles in my cabinet, vowing to commit to some method of organization, if for no other reason than I am sick of standing on my tiptoes , rummaging for the turmeric, I JUST used it…
Ascertaining which spices will work together is tricky. Each brings its subtleties, a complexity uncharted. Getting a handle on just the ONE spice takes time and finesse. Trial and error. You find strengths, weaknesses, new ways to compliment it.
But then. Then you go and decide you need to add a second spice. You’ve mastered this one, why not find one that works together with it? Makes it better? Stronger? More alive? “The spice, shall henceforth be a DUO! Yes! I’m such a genius sometimes I even astound myself.” So you start experimenting. Some combinations show promise, but aren’t quite right. It’s great except for this one (or 17) little thing(s).
So you scrap that pair and start again. Perhaps adding this spice…
Inevitably a few of these experiments go up in flames – or down in the disposal.
Some of the spices you try will just overpower the other. Or the flavors don’t quite sit right, fail to complement, even bring out a bitter note you didn’t even know was there.
And then, there’s the spice that just falls into the pan by a flourish of serendipity, on a night when you’re not even looking. And the flavors seem so odd and unexpected, at first you have misgivings, but as you stir, those two spices begin to dance. They make one another’s strengths sing, each bringing life where the other is silent. And in that instant, you know, that after all of this time, and all of those heartfelt yet failed attempts at discovering that perfect combination, that this. Is the one.
People are this way. I am this way. I am standing here today and saying aloud (ok typing at 2:25 am, whatever) that I have always bet all of my chips in love. I’ve always gone all in. And I’ve lost everything. A couple of times. I bet horribly wrong. I was so low. I didn’t know how I’d learn to breathe again.
I was in the casino gift shop browsing dresses to buy with my last 100 bucks so I could turn tricks.
But each time I came back. Little by little I found myself coming back to life. Ready to take my chips to the table, choose a number, and bet them all. Again.
Every one of those times, as I watched the dealer pull my chips off the table, I thought “this is it, I’m done. I don’t have another shot left in me”. But I was a liar. Because even when I was way down in it, trying on those hooker uniforms, I knew that each time I was cleaned out, I was forever changed. That I was stronger. And wiser. And I knew more than any day before exactly what I should look for in a number. Or a spice.
And then one day, when I expected it least, when I expected nothing in fact, I got it right. I found that delicious combination, that perfect number, one I knew I was ready to put all my chips back up there for.
And this time? Well, let’s just say I didn’t end up in the casino’s dress shop.
Give with all your heart, every time. Bet all your chips in love. Because even when the house cleans you out, know that you’ll be back, with an even bigger stack of chips to lose.
And so much more to gain.