I have started this post at least a 100 different times wondering how to actually start explaining this part of my experience with love.
I’ve been unsure of how deep I actually want to go…not just in writing, but emotionally. I’ve questioned if it’s actually necessary for me to go down this road and write about this….
To leave this out would be leaving a huge piece of me out, a piece of my journey, and piece of my truth. I started this blog knowing I wanted it to always represent truth: I want to live it, speak it, walk it, and write it – no matter how deep it took me, how personal it was, or how vulnerable of a place I had to go.
In my first post for this series I discussed the conversation I had with my counselor about being Incapable of Love. She had asked me a question that to this day I will never forget, There are so many mediocre things in life, WHY would you ever allow love to be one of them?
The truth that her and I both knew was that I wasn’t actually Incapable of Love – I was scared of it. Which is why I intentionally chose partners I knew wouldn’t hurt me, and I chose partners I knew I could control…I knew as long as I had control I could protect myself.
I knew I had never been IN love with any of my previous partners and was okay with that. I loved them as people and that was good enough for me. But that question…that question she asked me really screwed me up. I’ve never been the type of person that is okay with mediocre anything, yet I had some how convinced myself that I was okay with mediocre love…
Several years ago I started writing things down as often as possible, I believe no one can tell your story like you.
I recently came across a letter that I had written to myself – “from my 80-year-old self” (I did weird stuff like that). I wrote it a couple years ago, not long after that particular visit with my counselor,
Katherine, don’t be so scared of getting hurt that you never let yourself “fall,” being in love is a feeling you should never rob yourself of. Let it goooo, trust yourself enough to love. Trust your own judgement and choices to know that you would choose someone worthy enough of you.
Not only did I write weird letters like that to myself, but I also kept a prayer journal. I would write different things I prayed for and also things that I was grateful for.
Since I feel like I’ve been slowly trying to figure out how to tell you about the man I actually fell IN love with, I’ll take a few words straight from my journal to do it for me,
Thank you for this happiness Lord, this pure happiness. I feel whole. He’s shown me a completely other side of myself. I feel you gave me him to teach me so many things about myself, he’s everything I never thought I needed. I’m so thankful for his thoughtfulness, his heart, and his extra love/patience with me and Kaleo. I pray I can always appreciate him for all that he is and does, that I can continually be grateful for him. I’m madly in love with this man, it’s crazy, God you are so good.
If you had ever told me that I would ever be saying the words “madly in love,” I not only wouldn’t believe you, I couldn’t believe you. Besides the fact that it was so out of character for me and reminds me of some cheesy Rom Com, I just wouldn’t be able to fathom the idea that I could actually feel that way about another human being.
I walked into this relationship with a I don’t need you – I don’t need anyone – I’m focused on my career, that’ll always be number one – I’ll probably move away so whatever… attitude. Yes, I literally said those things out loud when we first started dating. This was the way I had always been in relationships.
I never thought long term because I knew I would be over it in about six months. When I started going around this persons family, if they were taking a group pic I always offered to be the one to take the picture. I knew I wasn’t going to be around long, I didn’t want these people to be stuck with these nice family photos they could no longer use because I was in it.
Speaking of family…let’s not all get too close. We know this isn’t forever so I don’t want everyone getting too attached or anything.
And attached? Let’s not even use that word, it makes me uncomforatble.
While we’re at it, have I explained to you my standards/expectations for anyone I get involved with?
Oh, what do I bring to the table??? I AM THE TABLE.
These were my exact thoughts and mindset when we first started dating. How the hell did this man not run for the hills? I’m sure anyone reading this is thinking that exact same thing.
The truth is, he saw through it all.
He saw through the attitude, the “demands,” the whole “I can do bad all by myself” thing I had going on, and saw Me.
One evening we were laying on the couch watching TV and talking with each other, I was going back and forth with my eyes glancing between him and the TV screen. Our topic of conversation had gotten heavier and more personal, yet I still kept breaking eye contact so that I could watch TV – not because I was actually interested in what was on, but because the more eye contact we shared the more vulnerable it was making me feel. Vulnerability was something I had never been comfortable with.
He figured out exactly what I was doing. He put his hands around my face and moved it so that I was in direct eye contact with him and told me to not look away.
I thought this was all kind of a joke at first but after a few seconds it reached a level of vulnerability and intimacy that I had never experienced in my life.
I found myself fighting back tears with every single bone in my body, I couldn’t understand this intense and overwhelming emotion taking over.
It was the type of eye contact that pierces through every layer you have and penetrates straight to your soul.
Several times I tried to break eye contact and dismiss whatever this was but he made me stay in that moment with him. He made me sit in this uncomfortable, vulnerable, foreign place and feel everything.
Tears streamed down both our faces as we continued to keep our eyes locked on one another for the next couple of minutes.
I don’t think words could ever do that moment justice, so I really encourage you to check out the short video I put at the end of this post. It incredibly captures the beauty, emotion and vulnerability of eye contact with a loved one.
In that moment he took down every wall, guard, and defense that I had without even trying – and without any words.
Rupi Kaur’s poem explains so perfectly my emotions in that moment:
How do you turn
A forest fire like me
So soft I turn into
As our relationship progressed I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I had become softer, more sensitive, vulnerable, humble, more giving and empathetic – Love came in and changed everything I thought I knew about myself.
I was never told to change or felt forced to change, I wanted to. I wanted to be the absolute best version of myself to this person.
Our greatest matches will be people who simply make us better. They don’t even try. It’s just their presence or the way they live their lives that makes us want to be better than we are today. You see we start to want to change not because the other person wants to control us, but because our admiration for them is all the incentive we need. The truth is when we admire our partners it winds up being the purest driving force behind our change and growth. -Vienna Pharaon
Remember my “demands” and mindset in the beginning? They couldn’t have changed more…
Long term plans? Yes! Let’s make them, let’s talk about them.
Family pictures? I’m all up in there, even the Christmas cards!
Families getting close? From our first year together both our families celebrated the Holidays together as one.
Attached? That word was now an understatement.
Standards and expectations? Everything was exceeded so it didn’t even matter.
The table? Forget the table, I now wanted to build a life with this person.
Like I said, I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
You have this partner that see’s all the ugly and broken parts of you and wants to love you anyways. You tell them your secrets and fears because you trust them with everything. They encourage your dreams and goals because a win for one of you is a win for both of you. When life comes to test and challenge you, and it will, you hold on tighter to each other because you know the two of you are stronger together and will get through it together. There was no I anymore, it became We. WE were partners in this.
I also learned love wasn’t candle light dinners, romantic getaways and big grand gestures. Love is actually much simpler than that.
It’s accepting the other person for exactly who they are. Not falling in love with their potential or what they could provide, but loving them purely as they are and for who they are. Love is the freedom to be yourself. Love is laughing together till you can’t breathe. Love is praying for one another and with each other. Love is consciously choosing each other every single day. Love is knowing you would always do everything in your power to make this person as happy as possible.
I will also say this: Love – that real love, that feel it in your soul, thank God you found them type of love – should Never be mediocre and it should Never be something you sacrifice out of fear or comfort.
Trust me when I tell you, Do-NOT-settle-on-this. You are not only worthy of it, but you are so deserving of it.
(Don’t forget to watch the video)