Frankly Put: As Learnt from Loving Slow

Love, if I was to compare thee to a burning candle, perhaps I was not built to burn brightly and loudly. Perhaps, my flame offers only a taste of warmth. They say that those that burn bright, burn out the fastest and maybe it is true. Maybe it’s not.

There isn’t much that can be as heart-wrenching as taking time to truly feel comfortable with someone only to find that they came and left in the time that it took for you to feel comfortable. In this world, I have come to learn that different people fall in love differently and it’s quite a sobering realization having watched relationships that seemed a right fit, crash and burn.

There are those that love like a bright flame. Where falling in love is like a show of fireworks. They explode in an array of colours of this love and for the most part, don’t have an issue in showing this side of them. This is different from “love-bombing”. These people genuinely feel so much in such a short time, these emotions demand to be let out.

On the other hand, there are those that love like a slow burn. Like a slow cooker. Like a stove on low heat. Their love builds like a slow team of workers, placing a single stone a day to get to the end goal of a house. Their 0 to 60 is more like a leisure cruise on an empty highway. They know where they are headed, it might just take them a little longer to get there.

While I have in my past, a list of names that love like the first group, me? I fall in the second category. I used to think I had a problem, like “Why couldn’t I just love them as they love me?” That “set your heart ablaze” love. That “if the world was ending” love. Did it cause rifts? Yes. Did it make me more self-conscious in that love? Also yes.

In my “season of singleness” I have had time to reach into the depths of me and dissect this insecurity. I think it stems from the fear of disappointing the other party. In this case, having them put their all into the relationship and feel like they get nothing back. Worse, not because I am incapable but because of how it manifests within me. I could try fake it but let’s face it, sometimes faking it is worse than never existing in the first place.

I’ve sat in this pool of wonder for years now and I have waded across its vastness in search of different perspectives, dissatisfied by those that validated “there are many other fish in the sea” and its related mentalities. Perhaps there was a piece of me looking to find the one voice that would say “Maybe you just don’t know how to love.” A little piece of me hoped maybe that voice was right because then I wouldn’t have to take responsibility and I’d be justified in this.

Here I am now, years later, learning to be confident in the way I love. Maybe I don’t have to explode in a million and one colours for you to find affirmation in my love. I may be a writer but my love is far from being contained in the confines of words. Perhaps, it is validated in the little things that compound into everything that makes you feel safe and assured of my stay.

Still, I fear, that I only view the candles that burn the brightest as the ones that burn out the fastest. Maybe that is why I don’t let them perturb the stillness in me and I don’t mind waiting until the rush of newness has washed over to begin to poke and prod at this passion. There are those that do burn out down to the last millimetre of their wick but there are those that stay shining.

I call those that stay shining, lightbulbs. I pray that they never see the day that they blow out. I pray every day that they steady on with the light they bring into this life. The world out there can be a dark place and it could be the science of the accommodation of the eye but it always seems darker right after the light and my eyes would rather the glow of a dim flame, learning and relearning to light itself from its ashes.

I am learning to accommodate those fireworks and accept that there are those whose waves have peaks as high and dips as low with slopes that are a treacherous climb or a slippery slide. Still, they love, repeatedly and perhaps they do need a gentle glow to accompany them in their dark days. They, just like me must be offered the space to express these feelings. This love.

A bitter pill to swallow is that the lows do get cold after being showered in love and attention and I am only human so I pick this out. In these lows, it does get hard to sit with this soft glow and try to imitate the warmth that others bring with their bright flame. On the other hand, a dim light looks underwhelming next to a bright flame.

I’ve always been a “look at the sky” kind of person so allow me to draw from this in my conclusion. The sun shines bright, yet at night, we still marvel at how beautiful the stars are. At least on the nights that we get to see them we know the moon probably isn’t so lonely.

So love slow, love whole, love until you catch up in this marathon we call life, to put it Frankly.

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Frankhie Muthumbi

Frankhie Muthumbi

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Perfectly Imperfect || Human, Alexithymiac Poet, Writer, Musician