Love isn’t a switch, it’s not like the gentle thump of the boiler
Heating up in an instant, and running cold once the flame is gone.
It’s more of a sliding scale, an elastic band that stretches
In every direction and snaps back when you don’t expect.
You can love and hate at once,
Isn’t that something worth knowing for now?
You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them.Tara Westover
I heard this quote while I was flicking through YouTube the other day and it really seemed to hit me hard. Tara Westover, who wrote the memoir Educated, said this in an interview with Oprah when she was talking about her parents. These were parents who denied her a formal education and forced her and her siblings to live in a really unconventional way as they grew up.
There were some parts of her story that were downright scary and made you think that she had every right to hate her parents now that she had broken free. And she had chosen to run away from them and cut them out of her life, so it was surprising to hear her say that she still felt love for them.
My feeling was always that if there was a break down in a relationship, it was best to either try to forget about that person or just hate on them for the rest of time. However, I have learned that the energy this consumes is immense and I knew that there had to be a better way.
My relationship with my mother has been rocky over the past year and after several years of therapy I realised that she had been very manipulative throughout my life. I knew that letting her go could be the best option but it didn’t sit comfortably with me because I’m so grateful to her for all the good things she brought into my life.
Hearing Tara say these words felt like a light bulb moment because it meant that I could still feel love for my mum but I could also distance myself from her so that I feel safe.
These words showed me that it is possible to let go of somebody you love. I’ve always acted on fear and so I hold people tight for fear of losing them, then when they disappoint me I reject them and feel immense hate. I’ve slowly started to learn that relationships aren’t as black and white as this. You can live somewhere in the middle of love and hate and that makes my life far easier to bear.