My brother Micah and his lady Diane met some 9 years ago through a mutual friend. They were seniors in high school and very young. For what ever reason they were smart and took their time-attending the same college, living the same but separate lives and waiting until pretty recently to live together. They were married this past weekend and I couldn’t be happier for them.
I don’t know what it is that makes some people understand love better than others. Love is a subject we approach enthusiastically but cautiously-who can we trust and for how long. It seems some are born to find the perfect fit the first time, while others flounder and fall apart before finding peace in another person. Then there are the lonely few who just never seem to find it.
Love is an enigma. I spent the largest portion of my life with a yearning to find my other half, my best friend to fight life bravely at my side. I found love in many extremes and met some wonderful men, but I have not found my missing piece. It was a driving force in what I did and how I lived-until I realized I was willing to give up my dreams for the love of someone I was passionately entangled with at the time.
Waking up is a funny thing. Opening our eyes we are dazed and blurry yet we somehow seem to just pop back into reality and keep marching. My waking up rocked my world in a way I had not felt before. All of a sudden I was ashamed at the time I had spent searching and loving. I looked back at the relationships I had endured and somehow felt empty.
What did I have to show for it? Boxes of love letters, photographs, torn poems, pieces of their clothing….memories…
At 28 years old I often say that I have already lived three lifetimes. I truly feel that way. I am constantly changing and reinventing. Every time I think I have it figured out I realize that I know absolutely nothing-but this last time I realized that knowing doesn’t really matter.
I spent my time looking to love someone else instead of myself. I spent time building relationships instead of building my future. I never lost myself, but I never found myself either. I live so passionately when I am in love, smells and colors are brighter and I swear that heaven is just around the corner. There is no drug like it, but it has never satisfied me.
My awakening to the realization that I had stopped dreaming for love was probably the day that I grew up the most. The following months were a wine filled haze of tears and anger-anger that I had never felt before. I was so mad at myself for being the woman I disdained the most-dependent on love.
My friends and family would tell you I lived for love-was “in love with love.” I wrote poems and stories-I wept for happy ending and often wondered when the man who was going to rescue me would appear. I admit I lived in some sort of a fairy tale, but I genuinely hoped it might be true.
I am so naive at times it scares me. Looking back I consistently gave my heart out and while I was the one who always withdrew it-it was still painful. The loss of a friendship is the hardest part for me. They were all my best friends.
The months after my awakening I swore to myself that I would push love further and further away so that I could focus on me-on the brunt of life and the menial tasks I have to complete in order to be the successful person I want to be. I stopped reading poetry, I became annoyed with love stories, and I pretended I am someone I am not.
I lost the essence of me.
I cannot even describe the emotions that overcame me while I was walking down the aisle towards my brother, as a bridesmaid in his wedding. Young and handsome, he was smiling with confidence even though I knew that he was anxious underneath. But not anxious in a worried way, he was anxious to begin a life with a woman who stole his heart years ago. Anxious to give her his name. Anxious to begin walking side-by-side through the uneven steps of life–and I was so proud of him.
He chose wisely and I can see forever in their future.
As far as I am concerned-I am walking in my own direction. My path has been very different, but I have been blessed to have wonderful people in my life. The scars I carry are only because in the end I knew those relationships were not right and I couldn’t settle. Letting go isn’t easy.
I think it’s hard to believe in love and believe in forever, but this faith has been the fuel behind my living for so long that I think it would be foolish to continue its fake removal. My life, my studies, my future are my focus right now and will continue to be-but I must learn to love again.
Beginning with myself.