I write this post with a warning that I’m not in any way lonely or in any way sad or in any way upset at how things are. In this post, I’ll say things that I mean to be observations, but that may, admittedly, sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. But for the vitality of transparency, for the goal of presenting my heart in the most true and honest way to my beloved reader as possible, I leave this worded in just such a way. My intention is not to complain or seem down at all, but rather to show my honesty with myself, and display the overwhelming hope that comes from knowing I’m not all I’ll become yet. I’ve got a long way to go, this is my admission of both where and how. But I’m not upset about where I am now. I just am excited for where I’ll go, and for how I grew in my heart this morning a little bit as I wrote this. Please keep that in mind as you read.
“Unrealistic Expectations About Love”
I lay here. In the imperfect dark of my apartment, where light intrudes through the gaps in the blinds. I lay here in bed early on the morning of Christmas Eve, and a thought comes to mind.
Being familiar with social media and the variety of websites out there, I’ve come across many memes, usually posted by women, talking about how “Disney gave me unfairly high expectations about love.” Yet as I lay here in the early morning hours, I have a message for anyone who’s ever posted that:
…It wasn’t Disney movies that did it.
I say that because I, too, am overcome by a thought as I try to wrestle my mind back to sleep. At 1:30 today, I woke up for no apparent reason. I just couldn’t sleep. So I made some ramen soup and some tea and watched a couple of episodes of New Girl on Netflix. But as I lay back down, the question seeps into my brain and fills my head:
Do I expect too much of love?
I mean, besides the movie “UP” a few years ago, the last Disney movie I can remember watching falls to Pocahontas more than a decade ago when I was in my early youth. I haven’t had the influence of Disney that so many girls out there proclaim as why they believe lobe can be more.
Yet still I believe that it can, and in my darkest hours, when I’m home and the business of the day is done or has yet to start, I find myself questioning. A subtle tear rolls down my left cheek as I lie here in the darkness but I know not if it’s from what my body feels or what my soul feels.
The thought of somehow dreaming of living alone comes to mind, something I’ve never considered because I’ve always believed there’s a woman out there who will fulfill what I believe love is and what it can be, a woman who will be somehow even crazier about me than I am about her. A woman who’s heart won’t fight her when her mind asks it if I’m worth considering. A woman who’s mind I might have to convince but who’s heart will crave to be convinced, rather than the other way around as it usually seems to go with my recent relationships.
Normally, if I were being my historically under-confident self, I’d ask if that’s too much to ask, but even as I consider asking, a hidden and unrealized voice in my heart speaks up and says “No! Damn it! No! That’s not too much to ask, in fact you’ve been letting me down not requiring that before!”
Secretly, hidden from even my own awareness, is a stubbornness that suddenly makes me so confident in my belief system, that the idea of just being “old uncle Shelton” to my little brother’s kids, and “the guy who has a big but cozy house that he designed on his own and that he lives in alone,” doesn’t seem so bad. Out of nowhere, I realize that there’s tremendous truth to the words of the late great, Robin Williams, who said “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” And while I don’t feel “alone” at all, and I know I can call on any of a hundred people on a whim if I need to, I do feel that I haven’t given the complexity and true essence of love proper respect until this very morning.
I’m a hopeless romantic, and an idealist. A respected professor in English here at K-State told me that five years ago. I believe love exists and that it isn’t too much of us to expect it to be beyond our wildest dreams. I believe there really is more to it than just liking someone enough to stay with them for years. I believe true love transcends what the mind knows or what the eyes see, and comes from the heart. I believe a loving relationship goes beyond being great friends with someone and goes beyond being physically attracted to them, and I believe that is apparent earlier on in relationships than we as a society tend to look.
And above all, I believe love is worth waiting for. Attraction, ladies and gentlemen, can lead to heartbreak, but true love, all forgiving love, never does. The problem is, too often Attraction’s failures hurt us enough that we eventually give up or become less picky, less sturdy on what we know love needs to be. That, my friends, is where people run into problems.
Love is everything you expect it to be. If you believe any of these things, or all of these things or all of these things and additionally other things about love, then I tell you that you are absolutely correct, and I say this because your heart knows what love is.
We can blame it on Disney movies if we want to, we can blame it on our faith or how our moms taught us. We can blame how we define love on anything we want. But the truth is that it’s our heart knows, Disney movies just sometimes put words to it before our minds do. The heart, the essence of what we are that guides our feelings before we even know why we feel them, is the only part of you that knows exactly what love is, and it will tell you when you find it.
I lay here, thinking about all the things I need to improve about myself. One day, I’ll have my act together. Financially, I’ll be in rhythm. One day, I’ll dress nice and cause women to do a double take in their minds when I encounter them. Right now, I feel like too much of me (from my under confidence to the way I dress) stands in my own way of finding true love, keeping women from even considering me. And I’m okay with that, that isn’t a complaint in any way, so I pray my beloved reader won’t take it as that. It’s just an admission and to myself that maybe right now I’m not ready in some key ways.
But my heart knows it’s almost there. It’s started to believe in itself, slowly but surely, and 2015 might just be the year it finally stops worrying about what other people think.
And I know that, because of one thing and one thing only: the fact that this morning, for the first time in my life, my heart told me it will actually settle for being alone instead of loving just to love.
That’s a really important distinction to make.