What a beautiful thing that fresh tender bud of love. The fluttering heart that flits through the hours and days in a hopeless sea of fantasy. All the wonder and future planning, the perfecting of personalities to shade the parts that may carry caution. I remember it well the moments I fell in love. Each one of them terrifying and delicious. What a gas.
Approaching my fourteenth year of marriage the only fantasies I have are of vacation, a long weekend, a day in the house alone, or when my bunny binkies across the living room floor as I glare in amusement. Love felt like such a precious thing once, something I wanted to grip until all the air seeped out. But that’s actually what we do when commitments lead to isolation and isolation makes way to loneliness. Suddenly you find yourself alone with a stranger and the stranger is you.
Young girls should be taught to desire something different. I’m not saying we should create a world of boss babies, but maybe we could teach a different type of fairy tale. One where we can have passion for a craft, for our family, for our friends, and then for a lover who simply joins us for the ride. I grew up with the notion that once the lover joined the party that all that came before him should fade in importance. I became a giver. And giving became the thing I was good at, my five star quality. In every relationship, no matter the gender of my partner, I became a ghost so that this thing called love could survive. Holding so tightly to others cast my own spirit adrift.
Untangling myself from this lament as I approach fifty has brought newfound purpose. I want to change the narrative for all the young people who grow up thinking that their passions outside of romantic relationship aren’t as important. Last night I told my therapist that I was raised to be someone’s wife. As the words escaped my mouth I felt each lip quiver in disgust. It’s a difficult thing hating who you’ve become when life seems to have passed you by. As I become more acquainted with the person I left behind the curtain I realize that beauty can’t be held onto. If you try to hold it, it suffocates. Love is the same.