The other night as I was winding down in front of Kiwi television, remote in one hand, glass of fabulous Central Otago Pinot Noir in the other, I landed on E-TV and found myself transfixed by an older episode of the Kardashians.
There they were, swirling in a sea of long meaningful glances, pouting oversized lips, sporting enough eye makeup to make a drag queen blush and using the word like more than I thought humanly possible.
It was like watching a train wreck – I couldn’t look away. I had never watched an episode before and the likelihood of me watching another one remains non-existent. To me, there is nothing more jarring than vacuous, unimportant people, full of their own hubris, trying to make statements about such profound topics as gender reassignment, marriage breakdown, infidelity, substance abuse and child rearing!
Strangely though, this encounter with the loathsome Kardashians and particularly their awful mother (apparently she’s their “MomManager” – what the actual f*ck), has prompted me to reflect on a quality that remains elusive for so many of us; unconditional love.
Herewith a whimsical and slightly off-centre allegory for you to ponder dear readers.
For many years I have been allergic to cats. I don’t recall having this allergy as a child and in fact, remember a beautiful black and white cat called Tom that we had when I was a child. We were very original with pet names in those days. There was Fluffy the (you guessed it) fluffy grey cat, Mitsi the black poodle, Nippy the budgie (because when Dad caught it in our backyard, it took a sizeable chunk out of his finger).
Tom Cat was very loving – he used to sit on Mum’s chest and purr and prance and rub his head against her chin in a display of pure love. That is of course until he was fed. Then you wouldn’t see him for hours. The internet is full of stories about cats owning their humans so the following is a truism – cats only love you because you feed them.
An early lesson in conditional love………
Now dogs are a completely different story. Dogs love you in addition to the fact that you feed them. They will curl up next to you on the couch just to be closer to you. My earliest memory of this was said poodle Mitsi, who woke me up with a kiss and a cuddle every morning and wouldn’t leave my side as I studied feverishly throughout high school and uni. My current little beloved takes up most of the bed especially in winter, as she backs into me for warmth and comfort and is content to sit next to me as I work from home. She looks at me with sadness and regret every morning if I leave the house and greets me with a wagging tail and happy smile every single time I come home, irrespective whether a single day or a 3 month absence.
A lesson in unconditional love………
I once dated someone who at first seemed attentive and kind but took great pains to tell me that I’d be so much more attractive if I lost weight.
Another lesson in conditional love………
Of course all of these lessons paled once I became a mother. First glance at that tiny human being (although not as tiny as others in the case of my first born), helpless and fragile, convinced me that there is such a thing as unconditional love.
Love without judgement or strings attached. Love without expectation or provisos.
Motherhood became the very best lesson I could have hoped for in unconditional love……..
So my very long bow extrapolation is that as I grew up, I became allergic to conditional love and thus I learned slowly to embrace unconditional love, a situation which remains an ongoing aim to this day!
Which leads me to the inevitable questions – how do we love ourselves unconditionally?
Why do we look in the mirror and not see the qualities inside that make us who we are?
When do we dare to accept ourselves as the uniquely flawed, imperfect wondrous beings that make us human?
I want you all to get up and look at yourselves in the mirror – go on, do it right now!
I want you to say to that person looking back at you – I love you unconditionally.
With your hips that are too wide or too thin; legs that are too long or too short; skin that is pimpled or blemished or smooth or white; wrinkles that surround those eyes that have seen so much; belly that wobbles when you laugh; nose that’s too long or flat or bumpy or broad.
You, my lovely, flawed, imperfect human being, are awesome.
Unconditionally yours in love!