It is one thing to discover love, it is an entirely different thing to try and keep it. For most of my life I have walked around fantasizing over the whimsical kind of real love and what that might be like. To love someone so completely and unconditionally, to breathe and live another person. To surrender the only piece of floating wood big enough to carry a human body for the other person, no second thoughts, while you slowly die into numbness in freezing water, or less dramatically, maybe even be willing to movie cities, or quit a job, or break social norms and to fall utterly head-over heels in love with someone outside of your social status…..you know, all the novels and hollywoodesque cliches. The movies show you all the big picture stuff. The grand gestures, the key interactions, the important one liners that capture you and you cry when she cries because really if that’s not true love, what is? The reality of the matter is, and trust me I know, the grand gestures are the easy part. The making a big decision to be with someone come hell or high water is easy, because the one decision you make beforehand is whether you love this person that much or not. But it is the nitty-gritties of continuing to love the person, both of you with your every day flaws and the off-shoot decisions you have to make once he has decided to get on the roof of his car by your window with the boombox blaring a cheesy love song that will really get you. I have experienced love, like never before. The cant bear to be without you, the I would rather be lazy on a couch with you than attend the hottest party in town, the you are the most adorable person even when you take a piss kind of love. The kind that only seems to keep getting better with time.The kind I imagine is generally a unicorn in reality. It is the most wonderful thing to have happened to me. You begin to discover emotions within yourself you never imagined you were capable of. You discover all these facets of your own personality, its even better than the hour long session with Dr. Preuss. But then the thing that will get you will be the differences. After all you are two separate individuals. You have two different needs, wants, values, what you consider right and wrong, where that line blurs, and you will certainly have very different expectations of each other. While being in love with the most wonderful man, it has also been a time I have most struggled with my own values and expectations and aligning it with his so that the situation ends up being the most sensible and fair for both of us. We’ve both taken that route – the we are old enough to be wiser and more practical about this approach and it is exactly what is killing it. Certain approaches he has to the big questions in life I will never understand and certain values I think he needs to adopt he finds incomprehensible. We try to meet half way and I retreat because its too difficult. Because to be in love like this isn’t suppose to hurt this much. I go back to my whimsical notion of love, to have a man send me flowers just because it is Wednesday, or get up on stage and announce to the whole world how much he loves me in terrible singing. Because I dont imagine Richard Gere would have climbed up Julia Roberts fire escape only to tell her ‘okay now that you’re fine, I have to think of how best to hide your history before I can even present you to society’. Because the reality is, that would have continued to be an issue and had there been a sequel she would have had to deal with that and maybe they would have decided it was in fact easier to go their own separate ways. But the movie leaves it open ended because you and I know that love like that will overcome any and everything. Alas! that isnt true. Against my hoping and praying that it was, it isnt. Because while love like that can be discovered, its keeping the love that becomes the hardest thing to do.
I am at once so many different versions of myself. Yesterday I loved the way my hips swayed and the way his fingers pressed into my sides in heat and passion and love. Today I scrub a little harder under the duress-ed pressure of the hot water gushing through the shower head lost in thoughts of reprimanding. I may sometimes question your judgement a little bit, but I promise to be the one sitting across you in my Swiss wool socks ready to consume and comprehend the words you will spill in hatred and anger, or those lighter ones said in joy and pure innocent glee because I will completely understand the need. I will some days willingly guide you through the web of life the best way I can, and some days I will ask that you find in yourself the solutions to your problems you have always known but refuse to accept. Some days I will be angry. Some days I may smile. Other days I will be at once the fiery orange in my curly brown hair, wind-blown and unkempt, and yet press feather light kisses on your cheeks and your forehead in my summer peach lips to let you know I am here, always. Today you may find me voraciously reading guides on how to get ahead in life because I say that the go-getter in me needs to be nourished, forget contentment. And tomorrow I will wake up to prayers in praises to spirituality, to learn and practice compassion, to be simple and want simple, accepting that less really is more. Because, I am at once so many different versions of myself. Tomorrow I will love you fiercely, that overwhelming kind of love that leaves you dizzy like you’ve have one too many mint juleps on a hot summer southern morning. Balmy, dazed and incomprehensible in pleasure. But maybe I will be the ice, the winter gush pushing you back because foolishly I will believe I am no good for anyone. Some days are clear days. Some days I am lost.
Everyone talks about being true to yourself. But we are never just one version of ourselves to be true to. There lies within you and me, many different us, so which one do we choose to be true to. We are all at once givers and takers, of responsibilities, of dreams, of hopes, of support, and of love. Some days we need more than we can give. Other times we are happy being the one giving all we can. Circumstances have over the years created many different versions of myself. Yesterday I promised myself I will try to keep the light burning for them, to be the flicker of hope of what could be because I know what is right, I know what is best. Yet today I find myself committed to yesterday’s goals but frantically searching for the hinge on which I might peg my own being so I do not find myself lost in the same darkness. Because, some days are clear days, and some days I am lost.
afraid to let him run his hands along the fractures of my being;
they say to be human is to be broken;
but to be broken is to be unwanted;
still the shrouded torments break with it;
my current will but also my current struggles;
seeking solace in the strings of companionship;
and the frayed ends of love;
to be human is to be broken;
but to be broken is to be life’s poetry.
Have you ever had that experience when you seem to catch yourself in the midst of a moment, and in that precise time you realize, and feel, that everything is exactly as it should be. That you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Now, this is not to be confused with having something wonderful happen to you, like some celebration where the elated joy makes you giddy and you think, ‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.’ This content moment I am talking about, and because it is precisely that…a moment in the midst of regular moments when all of a sudden you realize you are content with everything just as it is. Well, I had that over the weekend at what was my first house party in a very very long time.
I glance around the room and every one is exactly where they should be. Laughing, talking, kissing, and dancing in slow movements to what is clearly rock music blaring through the speakers. Giddy off of the sips of Jack and Coke, and possibly from all the hot-boxed second hand smoke from all the pot heads in the room, your spirit undeterred by what would usually be the thing that makes you turn your snooty nose up in the air, basically the cheap neon Christmas lights haphazardly stapled to the ceiling to give the basement the illusion of a space more often used than when mom and pops need to store away the old stuff. Everyone is a little trippy but you’re okay with that. The guy you made unusually rom-com like eye contact with as you walked down the steps to the ‘Boom Boom Room’ makes slow strides towards you and in a classic teenager-like move slips his large hands around your waist. Still, this feels right. Like this is exactly what needs to happen in this moment. It isn’t like I am that high either because everything is coming through crystal clear. I am fully aware of everything happening around me and to test myself I challenge myself to make the decision to stop the guy mid-kiss and walk away. I do it, successfully. Leaving him in the corner of the room, eyes like saucers now from the confusion. I laugh inwardly at my own weirdness.
In this moment I am aware of all my flaws but also all my virtues and I seem to be completely okay with it all. I accept them for what they are and realize that they don’t make me better or worse. They just make me me. This moment, infused with familiar faces and new ones, ones I will see again over the course of time, and others I will never ever remember, still feels like the best thing happening to me. I find myself with an unknown surge of confidence and an unprecedented level of comfort in just being me, in the exact shape and size and awkwardness and intelligence and inhibitions. I for once accept me and it feels pretty damn good. I don’t know what it is about the moment. Nothing deters me, not even the fifth time I am made to take an unappetizing jello shot made from fluorescent fruit jelly and what is clearly cheap vodka because it burns a trail as the jelly shimmies down my throat. No decisions made by me or made for me feels wrong so nothing is second guessed or thought twice about. This moment feels perfect, even when the a tiny part of my consciousness makes a nervous check on the super tan girl sitting down to snort what I counted as her third line. Boy I hope shes going to be okay. But even so, this moment feels great. For once I think maybe I can love myself just as much as I am capable of loving others. And this is a strange fuzzy feeling. One completely foreign to me.
I walk up the stairs and out back into the beautiful backyard. The sun’s rays make their first peeks bouncing off the water. The cool morning air feels luxurious against my sweaty skin from all the dancing in a windowless basement. I smile in contentment, wondering if this moment where I feel so sure and clear about how I feel about everything is something that will last. I wonder if it wears off as the buzz wears off, or the night wears off. I wonder if I can hold on to it. But I also realize that my body, with all its problems and imperfections is still capable of embracing everything and everyone, including myself, with complete satisfaction, never looking beyond the clearly demarcated white fence to glance at the grass on the other side.