Reflection: ‘What Love Isn’t’


Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Love is in the air again and so is corporate greed, selling us the meaning of love every year with expensive gifts and holiday treats.

Teddy bears and chocolate hearts fill store shelves. Roses by the dozen sell out to be given as symbols of affection and apologies.

Not to crap all over the season for Cupid and his arrows, but I’ve been in relationships where gifts were just manipulation and cries for forgiveness.

Love isn’t always what it seems. But does anyone really know what love is? A feeling? Mere words pieced together to form heartwarming lies that soothe the soul?

I share with you words of my own. Experiences of my own. A poem, of course, one of love’s languages, to share what I do know about it.

‘What Love Isn’t’

I knew what love wasn’t when I wiped tears from my eyes.

Because I’ve been told so many lies,

I didn’t know what was real.

When reality hurt more than dreams.

I took pain pill after pain pill.

I knew what love wasn’t when you got wasted,

Put your hands around my waist and

Tried to force me into your bed.

When we stood yelling at each other’s throats,

And you put your hands around mine.

Love is not abuse.

You choked me and I hit you,

And we fought until we couldn’t.

Then you begged me to stay,

But I just couldn’t.

I knew what love wasn’t when I became addicted,

To you and your presence.

I shut everybody out and I lost all my friends.

So, when I lost you, it was hard to make amends.

Love is not toxic.

Constant infidelities led to insecurities.

Left me questioning myself.

Love isn’t criticizing but accepting.

Love isn’t vindictive or tit for tat.

When two can play that game and it all ends the same.

We go our separate ways.

I knew what love wasn’t when things got rough, and we gave up.

No commitment, broken promises.

Love is not abandonment.

And yet I learned from the first man that abandoned me,

That love is not disappointment. Love is not excuses.

Love is real, your feelings were not.

Manipulation, betrayal.

Love is not deception but revealing,

It is honesty and truth,

I knew what love wasn’t when I let go of you.

Rasharra Smith is a graduate student at the University of Dubuque.

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