I am beginning to wonder if there really is such a thing as ‘unconditional love’, and if so, what it is like? I can always aspire to the ideal myself, but do not have the trust that it is there waiting for me around the next corner. The niggling doubt remains that love is there for me as long as I measure up to some standard, whose parameters change for each person involved. For person A, I will be loved as long as I do what “A” wants, live up to “A”‘s expectations, and try not to make too many demands on “A”‘s time or emotions. For person “B”, love may be dispensed in a package so unfamiliar as to be unrecognizable, and if not acknowledged as love, person “B” is likely to walk away offended. I am left having broken rules that I did not know existed in the first place. For me it becomes a dance, a minuet on broken glass, with a partner that I do not feel safe with. Will feet be trampled on inadvertently? Will conversations ever approach an authencity born out of truth, and a history of knowing that consistency forms the foundation of the soul’s refuge? I suppose that one of the most important things for me is honesty, fidelity, and feeling like my name can be cherished in the mouth of another. I want to feel wanted, and not just tolerated. Wanted by those whose presense I too desire to be in. For so long my life has consisted of trying to be what I think other people want me to be. If I sing, I have to sing beautifully so that my teachers, and my listeners will not be disappointed and turn away in disgust. Beautiful singing becomes associated with love and acceptance. Having a bad vocal day means that I am unworthy of life itself, after all, who wants to hang out with a loser? I suppose I should be used to such superficiality, but something so primal screams within me, a voice heard so long ago saying “you are useless, stupid, mediocre….who would ever want to love you or be your friend?”. And of course, there is no one to take all of this to, for it becomes trivialized when articulated. It is too raw, too core for anyone to deal with. I don’t want sappy bandaid solutions dispensed by those who just want to see me smile. I have heard promise after empty promise, all spoken in the name of love, with never an intent to fulfill. And yet, my promises, not made lightly, I take with utmost seriousness. I cannot live with such dichotomy. I am a hollow shell of a person, so missing the ones who once filled my life with such joy by their very exisitence. Where are you Dick, Freda? Where are you, friends who once said ‘I want to grow old together’? Dick and Freda have died, and those friends whose feilty was sworn forgot their love when I began to ask doctrinal questions. Love depended on agreeing with them, on subscribing to their brand of world view, accepting their way to God. And where are the friends made in the bosom of shared interests, musical or otherwise? They are friends as long as I am there to love, cheer, and support them in their ventures, and are gone again once their projects are finished- too busy to lend their interest to anyone else not in their elite, inner circle. Oh to belong to such a circle. But I live, so often looking on the outside of the glass, longing to a part of the inside. I am just another anonymous face, another paying student, one who so foolishly thought that I could actually belong to the community of my dreams. But it really was only a dream after all. The reality is so much different. I must pay to have friends, and the cost of belonging is a heavy one to bear. Such a lopsided view of love. To have to pay to be loved by God, by people. The letters I receive are for the most part, all letters asking for more and more money…it is never enough. Once the money runs out, or the miserable shreds of talent lay dead, where is the love so praised and spoken about? Where are the phone calls, or visits to say “I miss you, I want you, just because you exist and are important to me?” I am dying inside. How long will it take to die outside? This world has sucked too much from me, and it is still never enough. There will be no one to catch me when I fall through the cracks, for even my husband, having made the same empty promises for years on end, will never know just how desperate I feel. I will protect him from my sorrow, the grief of a highway of broken dreams.