This is not a desperate statement or one that should bring about sympathy from anyone. I do not need "saving."
I've fallen in love three times. I'm 33. What is the significance of the number 3? I have no clue, but if you know feel free to comment.
The first time I fell in love, I was blind. Not due to injury or literal loss of sight. But I was blind to myself and blind to him. One cannot love another if they don't love themselves first, just as one cannot know another if they do not first know oneself.
We got caught up in physical attraction and very late night debates on the back of a ship in the middle of the ocean. One night we slept outside under the stars, hands to ourselves, but with untrained hearts.
When I moved to Atlanta to be with him, he all of a sudden "didn't want anything serious." As if a move across the country isn't already a serious thing, but I digress.
It is not healthy to start a relationship with an ultimatum. I know that now but 24 year old me was fed up. So I said, "I'm not going with you to this event if you're going to introduce me as your friend." And I was prepared to not go. He chose to take me and so i became his "girlfriend." Kind of a stressful way to proclaim "relationship" but we need to ask for what we want. And so I did.
Two years of good followed by two years of awful leaves a lot of wreckage in the heart. And the body. My chest, a harbor full of broken ships, planks, shapnel. Could not see the ocean floor through the remains of what we were trying to build. And so I left. In order to rebuild myself.
The second time I fell in love I was just ripe for sky flying souls meeting in the clouds to make love. We free wrote to each other. For months. Now if that won't do it to a poet, I dunno what will. But there was no editing, no deletions allowed, just full and open words. We wrote until we were finished and hit 'send.' Talk about cultivating intimacy! I now know to not do that with anyone who isn't committed to sticking around for whatever is to come.
I learned the pain of falling in love with someone who wasn't in love with me. What a tragedy. A writhing ache, snaking its way through your body, til it makes you sick. And contemplative. Depressed and alone. Til it turns you into a yogi.
This is what happens when you grow love and intimacy without legs. Or a ground. It is a cloud, just waiting to burst or become fog and rain away.
Don't do this. I really wouldn't recommend it.
The third time I fell in love I was legs but no feet. No ground underneath me. Walking like that is wobbly. Carrying the dried out wood and straw, the old news chronicles of pain in your chest leaves you susceptible to fire. You can burn wildly like that. But that doesn't mean you should.
I fell without realizing the fall. My heart an upturned smile, the hopeful face of a child. His too.
At least this time it was mutual, but it didn't last. We had both been burned before meeting each other, so we were both pretty easy to lift. This time at least it felt like ascendance but we showed up with no ground, so when we fell out: there was nothing there. No front steps to rest our shoes on. No welcome mat. Not even a door.
I think falling in love, in how we talk about it, in how we see it on TV and portrayed in the media is an accidental, decision-less thing. This is not the kind of beginning that anyone can expect to build on. And while occasionally we hear stories of those who did, who could, who were successful at that - they are rare, are they not? How many of us actually know a real story of two people we actually know who have been successful at that. Who's relationship survived?
Those stories belong mostly to our grandparents. Perhaps a few of our parents too, but not many. Our grandparent's generation was one with more patience, more time, less distraction. Having most likely not grown up with TV, or color TV for that matter, which proliferated in the 60's and 70's, they would have relied more upon learning about relationships and love through conversation. Or watching their family members and friends trials and tribulations.
TV really does us an injustice with it's fantastical, romantic, whirlwind romance portrayals with little to no substance. These are not places we can build from. In this storyline we can fall - in love - we can feel like we're flying, we can let our hearts go but when they come back to us what do we have left? Reality? Which may or may not feel like love.
Love is a way. Not a thing out of reach that escapes us. We can cultivate love in our lives every day with the people around us. By being responsible friends, by practicing kindness, generosity, honesty, integrity and by practicing these things also with ourselves. We do not have to lack love just because we are not in love. We can build a solid ground beneath us. A foundation with which to rest on and walk and grow from.
If we do this it becomes our source of life and from which we can grow. When we do this we will realize that falling makes no sense. It is a risk not worth taking. We have too much beneath us now to be so frivolous with our hearts.
It is form this place that I write and from this place that falling makes no sense.
I prefer to build.