I am away at grad school, an all-encompassing adventure that I am halfway through with. I am pursuing a MFA through Goddard College and each semester we meet on the shores of Puget Sound at Port Townsend for a week-long residency of learning and sharing. These are intense days, packed with emotion and growth and we throw ourselves into the work of writing and friendship with vigor. Deep connections are made between people who often challenge our perceptions of ourselves and our “real” lives outside of school. Our lives are changed by both the work we do and the people we meet here. Many of us find that it is sometimes when we are apart from the distractions of our so-called real lives, that we become our real selves. We must change that.
This is a short piece I wrote and presented to my fellow students over wine at a late night creative gathering. It was inspired by several private conversations and my own thoughts about the relationships we form when social convention is stripped from us and we must be fully and completely ourselves.
Often, it is when we are clothed only in our barest, naked selves, that we fall most fully in love. With life. With ourselves. With someone, or someones. And we often struggle with what to do with it. This is my response.
10 Rules for Love on the Fly
10. When you know that all that needs to be said, must be said, because in a day or a week the object of your heart beats’ irregularity will be gone, be bold. There is no tomorrow.
9. You will feel like a twelve-year-old. You will be unable to peel your eyes away, your skin will tingle when you touch and you will ache when you are apart. Wallow in it. Stare into eyes. Hug often. Kiss long.
8. You will make those friends who are not part of your experience sick, they will laugh at you wondering if you have lost your mind. You have. And it is okay. Enjoy it.
7. Love for you. Do not worry about the repercussions, or what it means about you or your family or your life back home or your gender or your future. Indulge the self soft creature inside you. Don’t worry about your hair or your breath. Worry about not getting enough of those you love.
6. Go Big. Your time is limited and the moment is now. The gift in this intensity is its urgency, this sense that it could all be gone in the morning. It could.
5. This very lack of time means that the deliberate is everything and nuance is wasted. Share your gifts. Be intentional.
4. Speak. Tell those you love that you do. That you can’t stand to be across the room from them because you can’t touch them or share a story immediately. Tell them they are beautiful. Smart. Funny. That they make your heart sing. Tell them this freely, not to get something back. Tell them because it is true. Tell them even though they may never says anything like it to you.
3. Risk. Risk everything. Be vulnerable. Be you. Take a chance. Stay open. Believe you are worthy.
2. Let go. Of expectation. Of a desired outcome. Of fear. Of the rules. Let go of your self limitations and when you think you have set yourself free, let go again.
1. Do this every day.
Love fiercely. Now. Love always like whoever is in front of you may be gone tomorrow. Live into this moment, always seeing it and the beloved in front you of you fresh.
Now, throw away these rules and make all of this life an exploration into love. Make it all a grand romantic adventure.
This was inspired by the men and women I have told I love at Goddard College, even after only knowing them for hours. Though this piece is neither indicative of the work I am producing as a student at Goddard College, or the type of writing Goddard teaches, the college’s unofficial mantra of “trust the process” made sharing it possible in its unedited 15 minutes of inspired writing, state.
Most especially, this is inspired by my sister-soul Shelly, who was involved in a serious car accident that could easily have claimed her life just before our residency.
(published in Seattle Center for Structural Medicine newsletter, Winter 2013)