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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Jade Merrihue


I was talking with a friend this day. This day that started rain filled and heavy.

I reached out because I'm running low. On zero.

It's one of those weeks where I have given 150% to everything and everyone and the response I am getting is MORE. We need more of you, and what you've done is not enough.

One of those weeks that threatens to pull on that one thin threat and slowly, neatly, unravel months and months of careful artistry.

I've noticed recently how low my standards have been for friends. How I've dangled a neon invitation for all who need love, supplies, a good meal, hope in humanity, basic care that says REFILL TANK HERE.

I don't know how long that sign has been up. But I do know that I have befriended and deeply loved all kinds of monsters. Very self aware, self declared, monsters. People who openly, dare I say proudly, own their inability to love, to care, to have compassion. Maybe we found each other utterly fascinating in our complete polarity. Intruiged by how one another could exist in this world.

I leaned on bravery to fuel my commitment to show them the power of connection, approval, and love. Convinced I could thaw some of the pain that crystallized around their heart.

I thought, even if it didn't impact them directly, it was a cause I could get behind. Unconditional love.

Unconditional love for humanity living in a conditional existence.

And now, as I go deeper into myself, into my relationships, into the relationships of others I see that this all encompassing commitment may not always be the kindest offering.

Unconditional love is possible without enabling someones inner monstrosity. I didn't understand that. For some, loving is difficult. For me, not loving is difficult. I didn't understand that approving of someones inner daemon without offering them the counteracting, more difficult truth- that they are in control- is just easier.

Loving was familiar to me. Loving monsters was my practice. I look back at my younger self, idealism burning through my veins, and see I enabled so many. I was blind to what my opportunity was in that moment. I loved blindly out of idealism vs out of integrity. I could have chosen instead to share the tightness in my chest when they tore their loved ones down or destroyed their lives. To tell them the true impact of their hate- as it reached even their most loyal of lovers. But I didn't know what integrity meant at that point. And I am still its humbled student for life.

I share this because I've take that sign down finally. Lovingly removed the neon advertisement for those who who were looking for it. There was a time when we needed each other. Existentially feeding off each other. It gave me purpose, it gave them life, food, a good friend, many times a home.

And I've done so lovingly and knowing that I can unconditionally love someone and not live in the same house as them. Not give them my resources, time, energy, love, or money.

It might be a little quieter now in my house. There are less life-or-death fires that "require" my attention. But it's clean in this house and boy does it feel peaceful in here.

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