She warned me all along not to get too close, too soon. “Things are complicated –I can’t make promises right now.” I didn’t listen. Finding someone that I can love is rare –to pass up the chance to love felt like the wrong thing to do –regardless of if that decision would turn out to be foolish. I wanted to see –I had to see- I had to know. My own safety did not matter. If something went wrong then I’d deal with it. Even if my heart got broken, there would still be a bright side: Sure, I’d hurt –I’d hurt deeply and I’d hurt a lot- but I’d have a clearer picture of what I value and at least I’d know that I have the ability to love. I’d also gain a deeper understanding and empathy for others who have had a broken heart –maybe even one that I had caused.
I remember how it all started. She told me that she was uncertain about my commitment to her. At the time –she was right. I have a lot of high standards and defenses to get past before I am willing and able to whole-heartedly commit to something or someone. I was avoiding allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was avoiding the deep searching that would risk me finding truth –maybe (probably) a truth which would require me to admit that I could not feel love for the person in question –an occurrence which has happened for me nearly every single time in the past. The thought of yet another dead end wrenched my insides. Still… the time had come, and I had to be true to myself and I had to “go there.” It only took me about a day of soul searching before what I wanted became clear. I’ve grown and matured to the point where I am ready and want to put all of myself forward. I’ve held back before and I’ve learned what I’ve needed to learn from those experiences. Now was the time, with such a beautiful person in front of me, to risk being all that I was able to be –even if that meant risking a broken heart. I knew I was ready for love –but had I found the right person to experience that love with? The girl that fate put in front of me wasn’t my “type” –but I came to learn that that didn’t have to mean anything at all for me. She had all of the qualities that I could hope for: she was compassionate, intelligent, accomplished, sexy, driven, creative, introspective, the list continues… Yes. All the pieces were there –it was up to me to make a leap and commit.
I still had hesitation, but with examination, time, and help, I came to realize that those hesitations were simply byproducts of fear about taking such a hefty risk. “What more would you need to fall in love with this person?” I recall being asked. The only thing that I could think of was that I’d prefer a more “Disney-esque mutual infatuation ever-lasting type love.” “Ahh, yes –but, are we in real life or are we living in a fairytale?” … The question offended me. I grew up watching Disney –I grew up being told that real and deep true ever-lasting love is possible. My brain flew to the only other example of deep romantic love that I’ve ever had. With this person from my past it was possible for me to feel that level of love –but was it real? It was in the moment that it occurred, but there was a problem –one that wouldn’t materialize for several years to come. This person from my past whom I had loved so deeply was living far away from me -so far away that we rarely were able to see one another. In our time apart, our few short moments of love that I cherished in my memory morphed into what I felt our entire relationship was. I thought our relationship was proof that fairytale love as true… With time and a test, however, this person from my past moved to my area and became fully available to me. At that time, it was discovered (much to my dismay and heartache) that my love for her was sadly of a love and a woman that existed only in my head. I was no longer in love with the true girl from my past –merely a construct of her. How could that be? Love can vanish? What about happily ever after? … This was the moment when I chose to accept that fairytale love is not sustainable –and that is okay. What is sustainable is a deep and genuine caring and commitment with its occasional moment of magic. If done correctly, I believe, one can find complete happiness and fulfillment from a more realistic sort of love –but, as is always the case with love, it wouldn’t come without risk. I remember thinking, “I’ll have to ante up. I’m scared but… I am ready. The time, place, and person are right.”
My first and most potent feeling of being “in love” with my current partner came without warning. We were together on a day trip to the beach. We were just sitting together and not really talking about anything, per se. The wind picked up so I moved to keep my girl warm and then there it was… with the warmth of her touch also came a kind of warmth that arrived from within and amounted a certain degree of pleasant drunkenness. I was caught off guard. “This is it.” I remember thinking. “What do I do?!” … My favorite movie line of all time blissfully provided me the answer: “…enjoy it.” The magic of a moment is fleeting… As I sat there with my girl I began to tear with awe, love, beauty, enjoyment, and sadness all at the same time. I was alive. I owned that moment, and by doing so I made it slow just enough for me to fully wrap myself in its warmth and truth. It was beautiful. I had done it –if only for an instant. I could love with all my heart –and I could love this girl with all of my heart. I had love and it was marvelous.
While my moment on the beach did hold its own perfection for what it was, with time, the obvious became clear: something critical was lacking in my moment of love: its return. My girl could not return my love. “Things are complicated –I can’t make promises right now.” She had warned me… but I didn’t listen. I didn’t listen and now I would have to keep a secret –a beautiful little secret, but a dangerous one -one that could undo me if I wasn’t careful or if fate deemed that it must be so. I loved my girl –but I would have to keep that love to myself –at least for the time being. Maybe things would work out –or maybe I would be crushed; either way would be an adventure and I would have at least given my all. That, itself, has made my whole endeavor worthwhile –despite whatever outcome there might be… (to be continued)