You recently asked me, in anguish, if pursing the dream of true love was unrealistic. You are going through such a hard time and I have thought of you and your question every day. I believe that I told you that following where your heart leads is always worth the trouble…but I wanted to say so much more.
Maybe you, like me, married because you were supposed to when a good man asked you. He was deeply in love with you — maybe he thought you were the most amazing thing in the world. And you wondered what else should you ever expect of a relationship than to have a man that thinks you are a goddess? Maybe after a time, after you found out more about yourself, or maybe in the effort to discover what lies beneath your tumultuous surface, you realized that the person he loved was not all that you suspected you were. Was he was willing to do anything but you knew that there was nothing that would change how you feel? Maybe you felt like you were on a pedestal that you did not want – or feel that you deserved – and it really felt like a cage to you. Then came the day you could see the blue sky through the window and you realized that you wanted oh so much more.
Or were you like me and married because you thought there was no other choice? Maybe you thought you could not do it alone. Or you didn’t know how strong you really were yet and he scared you into staying. Maybe you stayed because you were afraid that you were nothing without him. Did you think that you could change the bad in him because he could also be charming and fun? Were you afraid to leave because by doing so it would show that you were not any good at relationships? Or did you believe that you should stay because you promised, and you should just try harder? Did you think if you were skinnier, richer, or more beautiful, he would love you more and you would be happy and everything would be fine? Maybe a day came when you realized, like me, that you would rather die than stay, but the way out was full of darkness and difficulty.
Or did you just lay awake at night wondering “what if”? Was everything in life “okay” but you yearned for AMAZING? Did you simply know deep down inside that you deserved more? Or did you feel your sparkle start to dim as you settled for a life that was never really what you wanted? .
The day came when you asked me if you were being silly for searching for something more. And when you asked me, I knew you had already started a journey in which you would find great beauty and sorrow. You asked “why, if this is the right thing, do I feel so sad?” And I did not answer. Because I knew that you cry in sorrow, and in great joy, and maybe the two are intimately mixed right now.
You are not at the beginning of a quest for love, although that is what you think now. You are at the beginning of a great creative adventure. The canvas is wide open, the colors wait to mix and blend, to define and smear, to tell stories of hope, joy, pain and heartache. There is excitement in the air when you make the leap to finding out what makes your heart sing. There is terror as well – but it is the roller coaster, nervous laughter type…you chose the ride after watching others laugh and scream and raise their hands in the air while their plummeted down the track. And you wanted to be like them – fearless.
Ah, but this journey is not about being fearless…..it IS about fear. The fear that somehow, we will have wasted the time we have. The fear that we will not know what we were really capable of. The fear that we will never really know who we are….and ultimately, be loved for all of it and more.
The path to finding true love is not about looking for that in another person, although that may indeed come about. To find true love, you will need to get out your microscope and examine the tiniest details of YOU. You will get out the dress up clothes and try on every possible combination of selves and will create a huge “THROW AWAY” pile, and a smaller, more beautiful and colorful “KEEP” pile. You will make new friends, talk, cry, laugh and play your way into creation. You will discover who you are without anyone else. You will find out that you are messy, or that you really like to get up later than you thought; that you like cheesy romance novels, or that you HATE scrambled eggs. You will do things you never thought possible and you will stop doing things that you would have sworn were important to you. You will take long bathes and longer hikes. You will work harder than you ever thought possible and it will feel effortless because it is for YOU. You will change jobs, locations, friends and clothing. You will feel like you are going kinda crazy and that is GOOD! Society doesn’t appreciate challenges to their dark suited, big worded serious norm….they call crazy the woman with the flower in her hat and the mismatched bright colored socks who hands out the most wonderful cookies on the street corner in the morning. Which do you really want to be?
Along the way, while you are loving and exploring that person who is uniquely YOU, maybe someone will come along that appreciates your kind of craziness. The song you are singing will resonate in them but they will think the lyrics are a little different. They will see the triple rainbow in the sky that you see, but you will argue over its colors. They will walk left foot first and you will walk right foot first, but somehow you manage to make it all work. And, because you know how you like your eggs – you make theirs scrambled and yours sunnyside up. They will not ask you to be other than who you are. They will not blindly follow your lead. They will challenge you and be hard on you and hold you to a truth that IS you and so much more. You will be their hero, but not their savior. They will still get mad at you and think that your feet stink and get moody and out of sorts and you will realize that you don’t have to fix any of that. You will give them the space to be uniquely themselves – as they give you the space to be uniquely you.
Or maybe, you will not find THE ONE person. Maybe you will find that you are okay without a partner, and instead surround yourself with friends, family and loved ones of all sorts who are only a phone call, or Facebook message away. Maybe for awhile you will find relief in not feeling like you have to put someone else’s needs about your own. Maybe you will be free to change selves like you change your underwear. Maybe you will just be glad of the solace to heal the wounds that have surfaced in your life randomly like potholes in the road.
I hope that you, like me, will not come to the realization that you are worth the effort because your life has been threatened. Or because you were surprised by a disease that was trying to kill you as you went about your way doing your best to fit in somewhere. I don’t want you to find out, in the middle of a tragedy, when you most need love and support, that there is none for you when you have given away so much.
And so I say to you, with a huge hug and great love and tears in my eyes that YES love is worth all the trouble. LOVING YOURSELF, more than anyone else. Loving you enough that you make tough choices. It means that you may sleep on a floor, or spend many nights alone, or eat more Top Ramen than you ever thought possible. You might be begged to come back, you might beg to go back. You might wonder if you did the right thing over and over and over again. It might mean that you have to give up some of what made you so falsely comfortable. It might mean that you learn to fight for what is yours or to fight for a life you weren’t sure was ever really worth the bother. And yes, it is worth it. YOU are worth it.
Dream big. Believe that all things are possible. Know that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought. You are far stronger than you know. You are surrounded by people who love you , who have been waiting for you to come out of your shell. Who will lend a hand (or a Kleenex) or a shoulder or a word of encouragement. You are never alone. There is a bottom to the deep deep ocean and there is beautiful, amazing and totally unique knowledge that comes from having seen what is there. Wake each morning with great curiosity about the day instead of dread. Forgive yourself for needing to be selfish. And be compassionate as you make mistakes. Treat yourself as if you were your best friend. OPEN, OPEN, OPEN….You cannot receive a gift with closed hands. Remember that everyone around you possesses a piece of The Truth…and listen for it. And maybe you, like me will start to see the possibility of all that we can be. Maybe you – like me -will find a special person, who marches to their own bizarre little drummer, to walk this rutted path with you. Maybe you, like me will find that you are surrounded by people who have always known who you are and were just waiting for you to figure it out for yourself. And maybe you will see that I am one of them.
With much love,