Depression, Mental Health

How Do You Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways.

As I was on my way to Macon yesterday, I heard Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet #43 and it got me to thinking.  Because of some things that have been going on in my life,  hearing this old Sonnet put my mind in gear and I decided to put my own take to it.  I swear, I have too much time to think.

This was, of course, written with someone in mind, but I have no expectations that he will ever see it.  And that’s OK.  If he sees it, it will mean nothing to him.  If he sees it or not, it means everything to me.  I needed to say this to myself far more than I needed to say it to him.  I can now let go.  It’s done.  It’s over.  Time to move on and make myself happy.

Sonnet 43 – Elizabeth Barrett Browing
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Sonnet 7,329 — Betty Mains O’Steen
How do you love me? Ahhhh, let me count the ways.
You love me when it’s convenient and you have thought up some new plays.
You love me on the surface; there’s no true, deep, honest love.
You say those sweet words that you think will surround me like a glove.

You love me on your terms, in just the way you want; you love me that way because that is what you do.
Yes, you love me on your terms, that’s what makes you, you.
You love me when it gets you something because you know I’m there.
You love me in front of others because you trust that I am fair.

You love me on your terms because you think I have nothing better to do.
You love me on your terms because you think I have no clue.
You love me with public words because private actions are too hard to fake.
You love me from afar, because that’s what you think I’m willing to take.

You love me by text because loving me in person means you may have to be real.
You love me by text mainly because you know when I look into your eyes, I will see those feelings that you don’t really feel.
For years, I wore those rose-colored glasses.  I had hope.
But with each line you fed me, you merely tightened the rope.

You love me on your terms and there is no negotiation.
You love me on your terms because you are the man and believe that I should bow in supplication.
You love me without passion put to use because of your old beliefs and with your childhood ways.
You love me when it sounds good to others because they don’t know all your plays.

You publicly love me even when it brings me tears and hurt and heartache. My feelings don’t really count.
You love me with a fake love; I cannot measure the amount.
You love me with a love you’ve never had, a love you’ve never understood.
You love me with movie lines because you think they sound good.

We’ve spoken of this so-called love before. I told you I knew it was not true.
I told you it had no effect on me because, after all, you always said you love your dog, too.
You loved it when I gave you my heart.  You loved it when I shared all my secrets and my fears.
You loved it when I depended on you, but in truth, my words fell on deaf ears.

But, you had to take that one last jab.  It looked so good to others, but you had to know it would hurt.
That one last jab — and you told yourself it might just work.
You did it with a post.  To others, it made you look like a caring man.
You did it with a post because that’s the only way you can.

I’ve gotten smart.  I know it never was.  I’ve gotten strong.  I know it will never be.
I’ve finally learned that the most important person here is me.

But, you’ve loved me for the last time with those old movie lines that you don’t think I know.
I’m done. I’m finished. There’s only one place left to go.
It’s time to close the book.
That love you offer is no place for me to look.
So, my dear special friend, as you are so quick to call me now, take your love and give it to others.  Yes, do me a favor, take your love and, please, just GO.


Thoughts About My Thoughts:  This needed to be done a long time ago.
Today’s Feelings Barometer:  Sad, but relieved.

~~~ Betty

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