I remember I was sitting at the kitchen table. My parents were cooking dinner and there had been a question I had been wanting to ask my mom–only my mom.
“Mom?” She looked up from the vegetables she had been chopping. “Mhm?”
“How much do you love dad?” My dad stopped preparing whatever he was cooking and looked up at us.
“A lot,” she answered confused. “Why?”
“You could never live without him, right?”
She walked closer to me and said, “I would never want to, but I could if I had to.”
Something on my face must have shown disappointment because she then said, “that’s not the answer you wanted, was it?”
I said nothing.
At this point in time I was in seventh grade and had just finished reading Twilight, and I was under the impression that real love was quite literally not being able to breathe without the other person. So if my mom could live without my dad, did she really love him? To my 12-year-old self the answer would be ‘no.’
I had forgotten all about this moment until a couple days ago when I was sifting through my books and found my old, worn copy of Twilight. It was then that I realized how completely warped my mind was to believe something like that. Not only believe it, but sincerely think that my mom was the only one who could correctly answer my question.
At 23-years-old, I am happy to say that I no longer believe that love is represented by the absence of oxygen when your significant other isn’t around. But that made me wonder–how is love represented to me now; and when I come across yet another book years down the road that will take me back to this moment, is this representation something I will still believe in?
To fall in love is a beautiful thing. I am discovering that it’s not something that just occurs all at once. It happens slowly, increasing intensity the further and deeper you fall. I am also realizing that it’s not just an exciting and stimulating feeling; it’s peaceful. Calm. Even if the person that’s in your life in this moment does not end up being “the one”…take comfort in the fact that you’re closer to finding it. Every heartbreak is a step in the right direction. That realization is what will give you peace, and will allow you to keep going. So fall. Deeper every time. Because each time you fall you’re giving yourself the chance to fall into the love that you’re meant to have.
but before you let yourself fall, remember…
“and indeed, there will be time…”
There is time to love, time to dream, time to make mistakes, and time to redeem yourself. The tough part is finding the difference between taking your time, and wasting your time. I believe it’s a matter of mastering patience, and knowing when to practice it; knowing when to wait, when to go for it, and when to let go.
“…to wonder ‘do I dare?’ and ‘do I dare?'” -C.S. Lewis
Dare yourself to fall in love. But first remember you have to be happy without the happiness provided by someone else, and you have to love yourself without the love of someone else. The hardest part is knowing the difference, and I’ve only recently learned how. By taking a step back and finding the center of my happiness I was able to discover that all of the happiness I’ve been feeling and everything incredible in my life has come from me and the life I have been creating for myself. It is not because of the man that is in my life at the time. We have to learn to stop giving the credit for our happiness to the people who do not deserve it.
Love is not like the books. Every story is different, but one thing should always remain the same: create your own happiness in this life, and ask yourself what the other person is bringing to it. Most importantly, you have to be okay with letting that person go if what they are bringing to your life is anything less than pure happiness. You must be okay with being alone until you find the one who gives you exactly what you need…
…you have to be able to breathe by just being…you.