All of my life, I have yearned to be loved. A kind of love that sweeps you off your feet and envelopes you and a warmth that fills you from head to toe. I have been obsessed with romantic comedies as I lived vicariously through the characters and their quest for undying love. These movies gave me hope that I would be so lucky to find my soulmate one day, someone who would love me deeply, passionately, and just as I am. These movies painted this incredible picture of enduring and true love, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
As I lived my life through my teens and 20s, these romantic comedies fueled my romantic pursuits. Time and time again, I convinced myself that the guy who wasn’t treating me well would come around and fall madly in love with me if I just gave it time. It was like Groundhog Day over and over again, just different leading men each time, never finding “the one” and eventually settling for “good enough.”
“Good enough” ended up being destructive and leaving me in a deep dark hole to climb out with two young children. At that moment, I decided I was better off on my own, and I convinced myself that I would be happy living the rest of my life alone. After several years of living this way, I concluded that this isn’t how I want to spend my life, and reluctantly I ventured out into the dating world.
I am so grateful that I was brave, and I stepped into that arena. It is here that I have begun to learn what love truly is. Yes, there are moments of romance and times of being swept off your feet. The touch of a hand on the small of your back that sends ripples through your body or kisses on your neck that evoke a heat in your body that you aren’t sure you can control. There are the knowing looks shared across a room full of “others” that make you feel that you are the only two in existence. These parts and pieces of the romantic comedies exist, but where they leave off and where love truly lives is something I never knew existed.
This love lives in the deepest, darkest places of people. It is the trust, the honesty, the vulnerability that people extend to each other in times of struggle, darkness, and when fear has firmly dug its claws in. This act of sharing and opening up to another during these times is one of the purest forms of love. When one stands emotionally naked in front of the other and says, “I am here, exactly as I am.” No airs, no masks, no armor to protect, just raw and honest.
Another purest form of love is when one wraps their arms around the vulnerable and naked person who stands before them and listens. Listens, not to argue, not to explain, not to judge, not to justify, but to hear. The act of hearing envelopes the other in love, light, and warmth. This seemingly effortless act is pervasive and alters the connection between the two people forever.
Deep and enduring love requires a continual commitment to one another and self. It is challenging, humbling, scary, and well worth it. To allow yourself to be seen and see someone in their purest, imperfect, scared, and fabulous human form is the greatest gift. That is love.