Loving Badly

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From my father’s inability to father me, I learned to want what didn’t want me.

His disregard for me made the unavailable wondrous and it turned being loved by a man into an alluring fantasy.

So, I learned to love men who didn’t love me.

I loved them recklessly and badly. I loved them until it broke me; it was the kind of love that left my soul longing, knocked me down on my knees, and then walked out the door smiling.

It was a love that I tried drowning with liquor that poisoned me. A love that lashed out at the world in drunken rages and sobbing loneliness.

I loved men who would never allow me to love the parts of them that they weren’t willing to offer me because they could never love the parts of me that most needed loving.

I loved them fiercely until it left me a dangerous and ragged mess that I had a hard time recognizing.

I walked distances for men I knew would never wake up besides me and I chased away the ones that wanted to stay by testing them with the worst side of me, until they fled running.

Of all the things that I learned from my father’s inability to love me, what stung the longest was the absurd need to still be loved by him through every man I purposefully chose who wasn’t available to love me.

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