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My name is Allison Ryder and I am unlucky at love.

I am a hopeless romantic who loves love. I am a selfless and giving individual who loves feeling needed but I also want to be appreciated for my giving, not expected to just give because I’m a good person. Some people would argue my good nature because I’ve unintentionally hurt people in my life but that is the difference between myself and a bad person – I never intentionally and maliciously tried to hurt someone, especially someone I care about.

Everything I’ve done in life has been a stepping stone to lead up to where I am, every choice I’ve made has changed me and taught me something – and I have faithfully lived by “it was worth it in the end,” as it stands engraved on my body.

I am absolutely guilty of giving too much of my love and giving too much in general – to the wrong people but they’re also people I chose to not marry, to walk away from, to stop giving to. Maybe not when it was good for you but when it was good for ME. I have spent so much of my life appeasing the people I love, the people I want to be with, swallowing my feelings out of fear of losing people, and losing myself in other people – in what they want, in what they need, in loving them. I find myself feeling like a horrible person if I ever make a simple mistake or hurt someone unintentionally but over the course of 48 hours, I’ve slowly found myself.

I am not a bad person because I’m a giver – and it’s not a reflection on me that takers target me because I’m a good person. I don’t need to be fixed or saved, and I don’t need anyone’s approval to be who I am, to do what I choose to do with my life. I deserve more than I have gotten, more than I have allowed myself to receive from people. I watched one situation unravel and break my heart from under me, as he has my heart. And then I felt the world of a dear friend shake beneath her, as her body turned on her, and she descended into a realm she may not survive. She was walking the bridge between life and death. I watched them both do this with eager eyes and a desperate heart, as if I could control either situation. I felt it with every move they made. This caused me to live with such a heavy heart but as the great once said: “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” (Album 82). For me, in all I’ve watched the passed two years, like an out of body experience enduring it from a safe distance, nothing is more true. Your perspective changes dramatically when death brushes past you, once you get passed the depression. I cannot say I’ve comfortably come to peace with this notion but I can say I’m not uncomfortable in the silence. I can say I will not tolerate disrespectful selfish people to expect and take, to belittle my character when I have never set out to hurt or do wrong by anyone I love, to have people in my life who throw my past in my face when I’ve overused apologies for it and explained myself in ways I never had to, to allow people to make me feel like I don’t deserve life because I am honestly flawed.

It tears me open when people continuously and intentionally hurt me, and cannot comprehend for a moment how it feels to be in my place, that I let people disrespect me and use all I give to their own selfish needs and convenience because I don’t want to lose them, that I find myself appeasing someone so much I don’t know who I am anymore – it tears me open and breaks my heart intensely because I love intensely. I love whole heartedly. I give without expectation or demand for it to be returned. I hope – I am always hopeful but it is never quite returned but in minuscule ways from the most random and unexpected arrangement of strangers. To change and break bad habits, bad ways of life is not easy but to finally be opened to understanding yourself and finding out who I am – that value is immeasurable.

A good friend reminded me that I don’t need to be fixed, there is nothing wrong with me, even though so many people try to convince me there is because I give love limitlessly and unconditionally, that I give love where it is undeserved and to people who overstay where they take for granted. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. This doesn’t mean I need therapy or help or to change. It means I’m unlucky at love but at least I have been blessed with a heart that can be hopeful of the good in humanity, of change within self-centered souls, that can give even after being destroyed, that can surpass what people deserve because in all the people I have been wrong about – not one didn’t come back and give me the satisfaction of knowing they didn’t deserve me. And they didn’t.

Outsiders tend to judge me because of the amount I give to people who they view as selfish takers who are unworthy and undeserving – and as people who are trying to look out for me and be my friend, they become frustrated with me, and I have even been accused of buying love. That is a cop out, false and insulting accusation. To buy love is to expect more than gratitude out of it – all I want when I give is to see the person I am giving to – happy – that makes me ultimately happy. (Unless it becomes expected or I become used, of course)

I understand the majority of society is not made like me – they give in small intervals, mostly on expected holidays and of thoughtless taste but just because I’m built different, doesn’t make me bad. Your judgments of me are reflections on you more than they are a reflection of the true definition of me. Only I can define me. It took me 27 years to figure this all out and 48 hours to come to terms with it all – to finally let go and love all of who I am and what I have done, and there are plenty of people I never want to lose but this is who I am. This is how I feel. And I’m not changing it to make you accept me, to make you more comfortable, or to keep you.

My name is Allison Ryder and I’m unlucky at love, and SO lucky.

But either way, I’ll never stop loving.