What I Learned from Falling in Love…
"Gamble everything for love, if you're a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn't reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses." Rumi
You can try to avoid love all you want. You can decide you’re not ready to date after an OkCupid meet-up gone horribly meh. You can hole yourself up in your house, working like a fiend, watching reruns of Frasier, reading Fifty Shades of Grey and Rumi, eating buttered noodles and asparagus, and love will come knocking on your mother-fucking door anyway. Literally.
Once you’ve opened the door you have to just let it in. Grab that dusty toolbox from the garage and keep those pliers handy because you’ve got to keep your heart open. I don’t care how often and deeply your heart has been broken in the past. I don’t care if you’ve been married twelve times to raging, abusive heroin addicts. Those exes are not this new guy. No projection. No clamming up. No shutting down. Take those pliers and pry your heart open. Clamp it with a cold metal speculum. Use duct tape if you have to. Keep your heart open when he doesn’t text. Keep it open when you’re getting mixed signals. Keep it open when he’s reminding you of your past dudes. Keep it open when it feels safer to lock 'er back up.
All relationships will hurt. Even if you’re dating Mister Rogers of the neatly folded sweaters and soothing carmel-coated voice. You still might trip over his well-placed black dress shoes. He still might tell you he’s feeling conflicted and unsure about the depths of his love for his ex; the utter opposite of you on the human scale. He might decide that your lack of sheep’s clothing, abundance of tattoos, and devil may care attitude aren’t for him. The fact that you jump in rain puddles might freak him out. Your adventurous spirit in bed might send him running to a shower of holy water and bended knees at the altar.
Connections may not mean to him what they mean to you. You may see the magic and wonder in your meeting. You may be floored by the way you’re already finishing each other’s sentences and have the exact same favorite food and how you orgasm at the exact same nanosecond. You may feel the tingly bits of electricity when you touch, you may marvel at this soul that feels like a comfortable, worn-in pair of Converse that you’ve walked in for a thousand years. Honoring that connection and being fully present in the gifts of connection may be totally lost on the other person. Or, they make recognize it and give a voice to it but, let me tell you, it takes a certain size of balls and ovaries to give yourself over to that connection - to ride it out. Taking the comfortable road of known paths, free of briars and brambles, with a topological map may feel more safe for him. The fact that you’re wearing your purple galoshes and a blue peacoat, standing on the edge of a precipice so you can jump when you hear the call of the wind doesn’t mean he’s willing to do the same.
All relationships will end in hurt. Forget the connection, forget the love, forget the feelings. Let’s even say you reside in the relationship for fifty-plus years. Eventually one of you will die. It could happen tomorrow. There are no guarantees. There’s no “100% organic, certified safe” stamp on a relationship. Whether it lasts ten days or ten years or ten decades it’s going to end in hurt. If you’re trying to protect your gonads with a dixie cup you’re gonna fail. If you’re trying to play it safe in case it doesn’t end well, it’s still going to hurt. As Mirabelle Buttersfield says in “Shopgirl” it’s a simple choice, “Hurt now or hurt later.”
Once the connection is severed and the relationship has inevitably ended in hurt and pain there are a few things that are vastly helpful in getting over it.
- Now that you’ve let go and are out of the haze o’ love think about all the reasons you’re not right for each other. Suddenly remember how utterly perfect the Universe is – how it brings people into your life as a mirror. Stare hard at the reflection. Note the water spots. Learn. Grow like a stink weed. Be grateful that this person who didn’t work out, didn’t work out. Sappy, yes, but everything happens for a reason. As Lissa Rankin says, “You may be asking the Universe for a Pinto when the Universe is trying to give you a Rolls Royce.” Aren’t you glad the Universe didn’t let you keep that Pinto? That shit blows up when you hit the backend even slightly. You don’t want someone who can’t handle a bit o’ rear end action. You don’t want to end up with someone who crumbles at the slightest ping of life. Right? Of course, right.
- Thank him for breaking you open. Thank him for knocking on that mother-fucking door because the fact that you opened it means you’re ready. It means you’re not dead, cold, and entering the beginning stages of rigor mortis. It means that love is still out there for you. It means that despite the reruns of Frasier, buttered noodles and asparagus you can still feel deeply. You’ve been shaken loose. Be grateful. Be YOU at the expense of loss. Get clear on what you want and then embody that. Attract someone with the hugest set of balls you’ve ever seen. Find someone who honors connection.
- Listen to music, particularly Sade. Cry over love songs. Revel in the feelings of heartache. Read Rumi. Watch sappy romances. Fantasize about Johnny Depp. Join a trapeze class. Wake up. Love YOU more than you loved that other person. Hold yourself tight and drink in the gorgeous soul that is you with your unique traits and attributes that someone else will someday truly appreciate. But… you don’t need that. Appreciate you yourself. Fall in love again. With YOU.
Whatever you do, keep those tools handy, you never know when love'll come a-knockin' again.
With a crowbar,
Melanie Bates is the creator of Femme Tales - Truth with Humor