As it turns out, life is not a fucking fairy tale. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY? Love. Marriage. Babies. It’s not actually glass slippers, ball gowns and quiet strolls through rolling hills with a coo-ing baby, trailed by blue birds twittering the wedding march?! I’ve written about this before and my own disappointment at the growing-up stories that just didn’t come true. But as the world continues to churn out happy endings and box office dollars, I find myself stuck in the mired muck of working through what I thought was to be my fairy tale ending.
Truth: life and love are not fair, but fair is not the thing (if you’re over 4 years old. Otherwise, carry on, fair is totally the thing). Your heart will not only ever love one person, nor will it love any of the people in the same way. As it turns out, it takes a mergers-and-acquisitions-type-deal with your thinking, decision making brain to get your heart to keep showing up. Yes, yes dear ones, your heart will beat like a thousand butterflies took flight at a clap of thunder– but it will be your brain that says, “keep marching along sweet girl.” Your heart will SIGNAL you to the person. Your whole body in fact will tell you that their smell, sound, taste and soul are worth a second, third, 3000th try… but it’s your brain where you must make the choice to be present, in love. Or, let go, in love. Love, the verb.
Coming off the coattails of an actually perfect valentine’s weekend… I am feeling a little confused. Not about the love part. Not about the relationship I have so sweetly, luckily, and graciously found myself in… but about the odd ways in which I am moving toward the rather adult-feeling of loving the people who have hurt me. In my 20s, I was all about the concept of closure. Like I could fall in love, fall out of love, close up the box, chuck it overboard and be all “dunzo.” I talked to the point of exhaustion over weeknight pitchers of sangria shared with girlfriends about finding closure, the importance of closure, the ritual of closure and the utter necessity of having it before moving on to the next. Like many things in my 20s (see above weeknight pitchers of sangria), I was wrong. I was so sure of my rightness, but actually, I was dead, dead wrong.
Warning, wacky statement: I don’t think closure exists. Or not in the traditional sense. I think that once you’ve given a piece of your heart to someone, they own it for always. It doesn’t mean they own ALL of you, it doesn’t mean they get to have a say in your choices or hurt you further, but it does mean that in those intimate, dark spaces with them, however short or long, you loved them. And love, like energy, doesn’t cease. There’s an action, reaction and the energy must go SOMEwhere. For me, this “somewhere” is a little pocket under my heart; not open, not active, but making up a piece of the strange mosaic that is my odd little heart. It’s the same strange mosaic that I bring to each new relationship, when I choose to love. I can’t chuck that overboard– it is me and I am it.
As we’ve all agreed, adulting is hard. Adulting means putting on your big girl pants and getting on with it, when you just want sweats and pudding pops still the world stops being so loud. Adulting means saying no to your kiddos even when they have those big eyes and you know they’re going to cry, but damn it, it’s the right thing to do. Adulting means loving your ex-spouse in all of his broken and good parts, from a great distance, saying it out loud and getting the fuck on with it. Adulting means choosing to lovingly show up over and over when you are building a relationship with someone new; when that relationship is, at the same time, as easy as breathing and hard as bringing together little people and big under your one mosaic’ish heart. Give me only love that is the result of a choice. Of choosing to engage and lean in to it every single day. Love, the verb. ❤