What I Mean When I say, I Love You.

It came to my attention that someone I love dearly had shared something that was not so kind about me.

Not only was it not kind, it was a visceral gut punch to my heart and soul.

Upon finding this bit of soul wrenching and grief inducing information, I ran down the rabbit hole of grief, pain, anguish, and shame.

I am familiar with this rabbit hole. I know what it wants from me.

I shared this information with only a few close friends. Very few, as the shame I felt was like a fire that moved through every vein and all of my sinew and tissues.

I sat with this for a few days. I ruminated, I cried, I cried, and I cried some more.

I took long naps, and slept more than usual. Stared at the abyss of my bedroom ceiling.

I went to work, thrusting myself into the work before me.

I wasn’t sure how to process this information.

It wasn’t from someone in my past that I had little understanding of or for, or no connective tissues to, instead it is someone I love. And will always love.

I knew I had to find my way back up this rabbit hole, as I felt myself sinking further and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to climb out of this space.

When working through the messages of my life, I was given messages of disdain, blame, shame and as a child I grew up thinking that when these things happen, it somehow was my fault. I had to navigate the adult world by always being one to be five steps ahead of the adults.

That way I didn’t get caught off guard or had hope or expectation that the adults would do the right thing or make life easier. They didn’t.

Trauma responses are very real in my life. And I respond differently to them as I age. This time I just shut myself off, I froze at a moment in time.

With a fine tooth comb I reviewed this part of my life, asking myself those questions of where did I go wrong. How did this come to be, scouring over every moment in that time.

I am rigorously honest and I know that there were times when I was not even close to the person I wanted to be. I was wounded, weary, and often gas-lit in every part of my life. This did not bring out the best in me, nor was I always capable of being a good human.

None of this is to take away from my part in anything that happened.

I had to figure out my love and my heart in this matter.

What do I mean when I say I love you?

Is love everlasting even when the other person never see or hears you say it?

I work with a zen Buddhist teacher. He lives where I’m from out west and we met serendipitously many years before I moved to my current state.

He was the only person who understood my need to move. And now, at almost 75, he still understands my need to not have corners in my house. Which for me, means nothing can hide in my space.

I spent almost two hours telling him this story, and sharing my sadness through the phone.

He wisely states, “dear woman, where is your soul in this?”

He reminded me that grief is often carried and carried heavily, helping me to see this grief as a gift. It is my gift of compassion and empathy. That my soul would and could transform this.

I am also fortunate enough to have a therapist who really cares and she made herself available to talk. She has shared her skill in EMDR with me and we practiced.

This is necessary for me.

And so why do I share this with you, dear reader?

Maybe it is my compassion that compels me.

Maybe it is to share that we are resilient beyond what we feel and know about ourselves.

Maybe it is to understand myself better through connecting words to the paper?

What I do know is that when we are hurting our world hurts with us.

Reaching out to those we trust and love is necessary. They may not be mind readers. Sharing with them what is happening is essential to building your empathy, vulnerability, and compassion.

It is ok to not be ok.

It is not a failing or weakness, it is humanness that we share.

It is ego that tells us we should be anything other than human.

It is important for me to seek wisdom from my teachers. And many people are my teachers, as is nature, my tiny zoo of misfit rescues, the weather, all of it is a reminder of the transitory nature of us.

The vulnerable nature of our wild spirits is just that, vulnerable, unknowing, mysterious, and finite.

My zen teacher asked me, “What do you mean when you say I love you?”

I said that it is an infinite place that dwells in my heart. That I am incapable of turning off my love, like hot or cold water. And for that, there is a cost, the cost is my humanness and sometimes the pain and anguish, the existential ache of being human.

Love will always be love to me.

And I am imperfect at sharing it, often terrible at showing it, but it is what my resilient nature sees as the oxygen that fills my lungs…love. Always. Infinite. Vulnerable. Joyful and painful, co-existing like the dragon ouroboros who circles itself for infinity.




Extroverted introvert. Doctoral student. DIY life coach. Magic, Mayhem, Midlife Musings. Married to my SoulMate. Lover, writer, reader, critical thinker.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Emotional Labor Is Not The Problem

Ode to the Donut Shop Man

Clean Up n Aisle 8

Want an All-Star Relationship? Adopt a Growth Mindset

What ‘Toxic People’ Love About You?

Sonnet 138 Analysis

Powerful or Forceful? Are you attracting him or pushing him away?

Err On the Side Of Overprotecting Your Wife Instead Of Underprotecting Her

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Gabriella De La Vega

Gabriella De La Vega

Extroverted introvert. Doctoral student. DIY life coach. Magic, Mayhem, Midlife Musings. Married to my SoulMate. Lover, writer, reader, critical thinker.

More from Medium

How I Went From Victim to Victor

Letting The Shell Go

A bunch of small plants in pots that are growing.

Gratitude Letter

How to heal from rejection