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‘I’m going to teach you about untrapped love’

I’m flying back to the US, I’ve got the Dum Dum in my pocket, the one LK so kindly hand-delivered a week earlier to England and I’m talking to God about how I handle this friendship now being a relationship.

Puppets on a string

Untrapped love? What?

As the weeks began to unfold back on Californian soil, I realized untrapped love was about letting each other still journey in growth, just as we did when we were friends. My identity was not to change any differently because we were now ‘an item’. Because your identity doesn’t change in it’s circumstance.

Too often, we feel we have to perform to win love. Like puppets on a string, we let our emotions and our wants become the puppet master, placing on a show to keep the audience entertained.
Whilst I’m witnessing virals of Miley Cyrus gyrating giant foam fingers, I decipher that it was nothing but an excessive case of performing for love. The majority of us have done it at some point; just not to millions, nor with giant teddy bears in a flesh coloured bra. Usually performance is for one person at a time, often in a relationship.

I’m not talking dance routines here. I’m pointing towards attempts to be funnier, wittier, sexier, more successful, more popular, working harder, doing things in order to be loved and accepted.

In a world where instant gratification is becoming a pollutant in relationships, so does the performance factor – the facade eluded through ‘usie’ instagram pictures; that image we throw out there, be it through your publicist or your Facebook status. I’m not suggesting we can’t post pics of those we love in our lives, but the image of what love looks like and how it’s expressed, creates a spirit of comparison, which in turn begins to make people doubt their own relationship.

The real show, the real cabaret, is between you, your thoughts and your relationship with God.

How my relationship is with the Big Pappa G, directly affects my interaction with LK. I didn’t want to perform for LK (nor God). I didn’t want to make out I was something I wasn’t. I wanted to bring the rawness with no frills as easily as I could the celebratory moments, maintaining ownership over my own stuff and not placing it on him to perform some ‘macho man’ expectation. If I do things to achieve his affection, then when I stop – will he turn off the love? How often do we hear the sentiments ‘when we first started dating – you doted on me, bought me carnations, dressed up like Simon Le Bon and talked for hours – now it’s hard to get you away from the TV’. I hear it time and again in counseling rooms. (I know – the Simon Le Bon bit was odd for me too).

The question is: whilst he was being the romancer, how honest were you in your own delivery of who you were? We’re back to tango dancing, baby.
When money has fallen from millions to pence in a marriages’ bank account. When affairs have sucker punched the union between two people. How much performance was involved and how much performance was led by fear? Did the man win the girl with his money before they were married? Did a woman have an affair because the husband stopped ‘romancing’ for the sake of seduction, instead of because he really loved her? How much defense began to make the other person feel unknown when problems arose?

Too often we see the curtain drop onto the stage and in a second, everyone in the relationship realizes it was just an act. No one knew how to be themselves and instead became carbon copies of what they felt they should be. It’s like trying to recreate the architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral with lego illustrations.

I knew LK’s triggers, I knew his no-go zones, I knew his shortcuts and I didn’t have to be at an expected high-level intensity for his affections towards me. I had learnt all of this in friendship with LK. Because I cared for him, my loyalty, my honesty and my communication were imperative. Because I cared for myself, he liked me challenging anything that could wreck our teamwork. There’d never be defense, there’d never be control over a different idea, because this wasn’t a relationship based on need, desire or striving for approval.

Untrapped love looked like a being raw enough so I didn’t lead him down an imagery of me that wasn’t real. I still give the guy the choice to choose to stay or go. If he likes it – go me. If he doesn’t – then I’m keeping myself accountable to being me. His life and my life are therefore on two different tracks avoiding a malfunctioning collision, heading in the same direction towards honesty and connection.

When we perform, there’s little room for error or vulnerability. If we perform for love from a man, what are you going to do when that same man tells you you’ve hurt them? Even if it was unintentional. If you loved them for the sake of their approval, you’ve just been annihilated by their words; you’ve taken it as criticism. If you loved them from your own identity, solid in knowing who you are, you’ll take the feedback and ask ‘how can I do that better?’ or better yet, you’ll just apologise. You’ll be less unoffendable.

Performance love boasts, exaggerates, is impatient, can be rude, places wrong expectations, seeks out affirmation instead of invests in self-love. It is fear based instead of love based.  I don’t know about you, but I’m unable to belly laugh if my body is aligned with fear in anyway. And I like belly laughing.

Untrapped love is rooted in the belief of love, not the feeling of love. I believe in unconditional love, but I can only carry that out, if I don’t self-seek love from others.

Instead of thinking I’m some puppet on a string, bouncing around an empty auditorium hoping for a bit of applause from someone I fancy; I’m taking up the position of puppet master and closing business.

There are no strings attached.

Yes it’s a risky business; even with boundaries and healthy men who are willing to be as raw. But being vulnerable with no veil to hide behind shouldn’t terrify you, if anything; it should make you come alive.

Puppets on a string