My Excess Love – How Pain Taught Me to Rewrite My Life’s Story

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My excess love has nowhere to go so it spills over the edges as if a gallon of milk has just fallen over on the kitchen table. I’d like to claim that my love is beautiful like a vintage orange Porsche with black leather seats. With a backseat so tiny that packs a punch much like Sally Field, in really anything. The truth is my excess love is messy sometimes. It’s unkempt. What do you expect from someone who had huge gaps without a mother figure in the formative years of her development?

This is the story I’m trying not to tell myself. I no longer want any pity but I want to be around people working hard to understand each other and develop something artistic we all feel proud of. The old me used to isolate. My shame would often put me in the back room of a yoga class so I could cry in peace on my back at just the right angle no one would see. But that was the old me. At least until 2 Sundays ago.

I’d like to claim that my love is beautiful like a vintage orange Porsche with black leather seats. With a backseat so tiny that packs a punch much like Sally Field, in really anything. The truth is my excess love is messy sometimes. It’s unkempt.

I’m shifting and I can feel it. I’ve loved many people. My mother and father however flawed they may be. Sometimes I picture them in their rocking chairs late at night asking their kids questions. How tall do you think Shaquille O’Neal is Joshua? Or shaving corn from the cob to freeze.

I don’t necessarily love that they call homosexuality a “lifestyle” and a “sin” but I love that they talk to my brother’s transgender friend at a party till 2 am. They are complex people and that is why I love them. I can’t help it. My heart only wants them to be happy. To forgive the times they rejected me for sharing who I was.

I love all my brothers and sisters. I love my best friend Blair who’s taught me to never give up on life and reminds me the value of community at least once a week. I love super soul Sunday podcast and babies who smile with no teeth with peach baby food all over their mouths.

I loved a woman. She saw my excess love run over and I’d imagine it was scary. One would want to run. My unbrushed hair. It’s scary to think someone was neglected and now they want or crave nurturing. I realize it can be a lot of pressure. Like penalty kicks in soccer…or fashion. Or for me, picking a sandwich at lunch.

I loved a woman. She saw my excess love run over and I’d imagine it was scary. One would want to run.

So my excess love has turned inward. I’ve figured out ways to nurture myself. One is smiling. Another is writing things I’m grateful for. Things that make me happy to be alive. Pictures from my sister Marta of her daughter Emery. A Capricorn Sun and Pisces moon that at one glance completely dissolves the ego.

I’ve started to reframe my “story.” Maybe my pain and loss of my mother’s mental state was the biggest blessing in my life. It has, after all,  taught me enormous amounts of compassion that seem to go on like Betty White’s acting career. And it’s empowered me to learn how to take care of myself and become self-reliant. Instead of thinking “I’m not good enough” or only concentrating on the pain of what I went through.

I work hard to release those feelings daily. I try to think about how I could be of service to others when they are in need. Or ways to empower myself, like investing in my education by signing up for a writing class. Grief and pain have taught me that this very moment is precious. It’s all we’ve got.

So I brush my hair and find something to look forward to each day.

Read more from Mollie Merkel


Growing up on a farm where it wasn’t okay to be who I was, I started to develop fantasies about older successful Hollywood Actresses. They were my window into emotions, sexuality, and freedom. And in my imagination, I thought it would be fun to experiment with them wanting a grounded experience that diverted from this big strange Hollywood world where they were maybe not able to be their true selves.