Thursday, August 29, 2013

me & you

Photos via: Katie Stoops | Paperless Post //Kate Spade

i want more now

Photo via: Buenaventura Marco

I’m a hopeless romantic. Always been – I suppose. I was the little girl watching Disney movies alone – wishing, wondering, if there was a prince charming out there for me. An Eric to my Ariel. A Tarzan to my Jane. A Philip to my Aurora. An Aladdin to my Jasmine. A prince to my princess.

I fell in love with everything when I was young. Every boy with curly hair and a genuine smile. Every boy who said hi to me or even took a second glance. I even fell in love with a girl once. I loved everything - especially boys. The way they were faster and stronger than me. The way they teased me and laughed with their entire stomachs. The way they always tried to brave and the few times they were vulnerable.

I can’t recall my first love, or the boy who took my heart first, because I gave it away to every boy I ever met. Monogamy wasn’t something I understood, nor saving and protecting yourself. I just wanted to love, and for their laughs to be because of me. I had my first heartbreak when I was ten. I asked a boy if he wanted to be my boyfriend. The first boy I ever wanted to be mine. He didn’t want to. He said, “I just wanna hang out, you know, not kiss and stuff.” I was gutted. He was the first boy I thought I actually wanted to give all my love to. I got over it after a week.

Then I grew up a bit, hit puberty and all that juicy stuff, and I started to become shy towards boys. I still admired and loved them from a far, but the times when I could just hang out with them were over. I kissed tons of boys though. I can’t recall my first kiss but I kissed a new one every night. I realized that I almost love kissing as much as I love boys - but they sort of go hand in hand I guess.

Then I turned 16 and met a boy who was four years older than me. We loved each other so much. I gave my entire heart to just one person, and that was something new to me. It ended after two years, and it took my almost 6 months to get my heart back in place. I started kissing more boys, doing even more than kissing.

Now I’m twenty – I’ve kissed more boys than I can remember. I’ve loved more boys than I can recall. I want more now. I want what I wanted when I was little. The one true love. The boy who will make me love only him. I want a man – a prince.

Monday, August 26, 2013

where to from here...

Photo via: shuttermaki

We met in my first year of university. His third year. At first it was nothing but a casual bar hookup. We never spoke other than in a drunk party setting. I never thought anything of it and never imagined we would end up where we are now. He was that guy I always came back to, for some reason. I didn't think I liked him but something kept bringing me back, and I was completely oblivious to it at the time.

Summertime approached and being from separate cities, we didn't speak all summer. I didn't care, I didn't like him.

My second year began and this is where things started to change. I still didn't have feelings for this guy but even after a summer of not speaking, we fell right back into the same old habit of ours. No words spoken aside from the casual chat at the bar and maybe the next morning. But over time I noticed a change. I started to feel that little glow in my heart every time we talked or embraced or held hands. It was like this secret love affair we were having with each other because I know he felt it too, but we wouldn't admit it to ourselves.

Still the year went on and these feelings got stronger, I started caring. I had never really cared before and it was a scary thing. I didn't know how to react, I had no ties on this guy, he was only my bar hookup, but something unexplainable always brought us together. We always had so much fun together and we grew to be great friends. Being two of the biggest introverts I know, neither of us ever broke down our walls to talk about it with each other, let alone our friends. We hid the feelings because I don't think either of us really understood what we were feeling.

Finally the year came to an end and again, we were in separate cities for the summer. Back to the usual routine of not talking because we were distracted by friends, family and fun activities.

Enter my third year of university, and again, it was like this energy that exists between the two of us, like two magnets, pulling us together. This is when I knew I really cared and had accepted the feelings but was still too scared to admit them to him. I had never let myself be vulnerable, I'm honestly so afraid of getting hurt, so I went on for so long not giving in. Eating myself up inside with millions of thoughts swirling around my head. All I wanted was to tell him how I felt but I let fear get the best of me until the last semester of the year… his final semester before graduation.

I finally came to my senses, realizing I was running out of time and let my feelings escape. He felt the same way. I was relieved and happier than I have ever been. We fell into this kind of love I can't even explain. It's like we had loved each other for so long before admitting it that it took no time at all for us to get as close as ever. It was easy and comfortable, we fit so well together, he was perfect for me and I perfect for him.

Third year ended, he graduated and we were lucky enough to finally be living in the same city, working for the summertime. It was all so perfect except for the fact that he was planning on jetting off to the the UK for school come September. I knew this going into the summer, but I took the risk. I knew that spending the summer with him would make our love that much stronger, I knew I would be so deeply in love and that it was going to come to an end, and I'm happy I took the risk, because after living my life fearful of feeling emotion for so long, I finally learned that its not worth it to hide from it. Give in, because you honestly only have so much time to experience it all, life's too short.

So after what was probably the most amazing summer of my life, it is finally coming to an end. We part ways in a weeks time and our goodbye is getting closer and closer.

I think the hardest part is realizing that our love is coming to an end not because we feel any differently, but because it simply won't work with the distance. He is going off to explore the world and I am going back to my final year of university. We are in two completely different places in life and that is what is pulling us apart.

How do you prepare yourself for the worst heartbreak ever? I'm sitting here counting down the days until my heart rips in two. I know I did this to myself, by living in the same city as him and letting myself fall deeper and deeper into love, but its still going to be the hardest, most impossible thing to get over him.

The issue is I don't want to get over him, I don't want to be with anyone else, but who knows when we will ever be in the same city again. I'm trying to be realistic and accept the fact that it simply won't work, but at the same time I think to myself, if it was worth it to take the risk this summer, why the hell wouldn't it be worth it to fight for what we have. I'm at this crossroads and I don't know where to go from here. Our time together is quickly coming to and end and I have no idea what to do.

I guess only time will tell, but that's the worst part of it all, not knowing, and letting the pieces fall where they may.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

let him in or leave

Photo via: Jackson Warner Lewis

I’ve never been the type to fall in love, not even the type to care about anyone other than myself. I have been hurt so many times that my only defense is to keep my heart guarded, tucked away where no one can merely even touch it, let alone steal it.

These past couple months the loneliness of living in a new city have slowly crept around me, bringing me to this place of almost desperation to feel something, anything, and this is when I met him.

I work in a little café on my college campus. My friends make fun of me that I should just live at work because I am always there, but honestly it’s probably the best decision since I basically spend every waking moment there. There was this boy who would come in every day to eat. At first I just disregarded it because we are the only place on campus that serves real food, I see the same faces daily, but his always stuck out to me. It was months of seeing this boy morning and afternoon that I finally got the courage to talk to him. After a couple conversations he asked for my number.

Our first date was planned to drink wine on the beach, but when he picked me up it was cold and we both agreed that maybe we should skip that so instead we headed back to his place. I sat on his couch surrounded by his roommates talking about life, while drinking wine. Intrigued by his stories… so distracted by his jawline, I found myself staring at him while his roommates were talking to me, embarrassed by this I would quickly turn and look to them, feeling my face slowly become flushed. I explained to them my fear of the ocean, and my vegan diet. After our conversations began to end in awkward silences, he asked if I would like to take a walk. We walked around his apartment complex, the sexual tension increasing between us both. I remember the wind feeling crisp against my face but his warmth was radiating through my body. We finally made it back to his apartment, the wine beginning to hit me. He told his roommates that we were going to be watching a movie, and without a word I followed him through the hallway and into his bedroom. We laid down in his bed and started the movie on monsters of the deep sea (he thought he was funny, yet I was completely terrified). About 5 minutes in he turned my face toward him and I knew that this is what the rest of the night would consist of. He kissed me like no one ever had before, with a sense of passion and grace. Two hours of making out with this stranger of a boy and I realized that It was time for me to go home. I grabbed his face and told him that I don’t date, and he responded with, “I know that, but how about a second one with me.” Feeling uneasy about the whole situation I kissed him goodbye and walked myself home.

I don’t know why he makes me so uneasy, when he kisses me, he kisses me like he has known me his whole life, he kisses me as he is in love with me. When I was laying in his bed he never let go of me, just held me, like I was his to keep.

My usual response would be to run, but this boy is different... and I'm actually scared to find out why. Should I let him in, or should I leave while I am still ahead.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

that's love

Photo via: Toma EvsuVdo // Everything's magic)

Love isn't the wispy, now-I-love-you-now-I-don't that everyone seems to think.

I have been in love. I still am. He has the bluest eyes you have ever seen and he kisses my forehead and tells me he loves me and I can never get enough of curling up with him in the mornings when we wake up. I hate going an entire day without talking to him. Our lunches together, when we both come home from work, are the highlight of my afternoon. I love watching him move, and the way he asks how I am, to check that I'm really okay.

Oh, yeah. Also we've been married for two years and I'm pregnant with our first baby.

Love doesn't always look like two people drifting in and out of one another's lives. It doesn't look like fuckbuddies and hookups and friend-zones and continual heartbreak. Actually, I don't really think that's love.

Love is absolutely intentional.

I fell head-over-heels for the man who married me. Our parents were friends way back in the day, and he struck up conversation over FB. We had a long-distance relationship for two years of beautifully innocent friendship before we decided that he should visit, to see if this was going anywhere.

In April he visited for four glorious days. He was a perfect gentleman, and asked my parents for permission to court me. He even asked my permission to kiss me, he was being so careful - it was charming and archaic and showed just how much he cared about respecting me and I loved it. When he took my hand in the car my heart melted, because I had just been wishing that he would. Just before he got on the plane, he kissed me for the first time. I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day, the imprint of his light beard on my lips, wishing the feeling of his hand on the small of my back pulling me close would never fade.

Four days after he left, I finally got up the courage to tell him I loved him over text message. He said he knew before he left that I did, and sent me a video response telling me that he loved me, too. I have long since lost track of how many times I have watched that video.

When the 4th of July came around we finally arranged for another visit. He had to work, but he flew in over the weekend, to ask my parents for permission to marry me, and to propose. The proposal was a surprise - he had shipped the ring to my house ahead of time to make sure he had it.

He proposed halfway up a cliff on a rocky beach, no one in sight. If you have never been in love, I can never describe to you the feeling of your heart in your throat and the rock in your stomach: it is the most intense joy, the most amazing discomfort, and you can't stop from kissing him, because nothing else matters but this huge love you feel between you, and it's like a gift from God that he loves you back.

After I graduated with my degree, it was my turn to visit him and meet his parents. I visited for two sunny, warm, beautiful weeks, and met his friends, and made out with him on the couch in the evenings... it was bliss. I boarded the plane back and couldn't figure out why I was going back.

We were married one month later. It was a stunning wedding. We honeymooned for a week on the Oregon coast, then he took me back with him halfway across the country to the cute little one-bedroom apartment he had rented for us.

It was during our honeymoon, and shortly afterwards, that I realized just how much I didn't actually know him.

Our long-distance relationship, paired with his short in-person visits, didn't allow for me to experience his moods, his facial expressions, his highs and lows and food preferences and insecurities and frustrations. It all came as a total shock, on top of culture shock (moving from the north to the south is a huge difference in culture) and the loneliness of no friends and no family and suddenly realizing you are in love, and have just married, a stranger.

There were several long nights of misery, of loneliness, of having to learn one another entirely anew and understand how to live together, of learning what the other person needed. It broke me, too many times and for too long.

I chose to love him anyway. Just as he chose to love me. There were lots of personality changes, lots of unmet expectations, lots of surprises about one another, in those first six months. There was even, "No, I had no idea when I married you that you were like this".

But we didn't let that change anything. We chose to keep loving one another, to keep returning to the table, refusing to give up or to let the other person go. We were in it for the long haul. I know lots of people who would have thrown in their cards and walked away.

What we have now is so much stronger for all of that. I love him more than ever, and he is still my best friend. We still have our fights, and after two years it's become "We always fight about this... so what is it that's still not working?" and we keep pursuing the answers.

That's love.

That's why I read some love letters, some breakup letters, some forlorn and "poetic" accounts between lovers of their heartbreak and misery and I think, "What makes you think that's all love is?"

What if love is far more than that? What if it's not just physical attraction, or sex, or strength of emotion, or a really nice guy that makes you feel not-lonely?

What if love is a lifestyle?

What if "love" is a fight to be patient, a choice to remain kind, a refusal to hold grudges or get so easily angered? What if it isn't about pride, but about compassion? What if love can't stand for anything but truth, even when it hurts, and despite the hurt, insists on continuing?

What if love doesn't fade, because you believe that love is so much more than the emotions you feel?

My husband and I have tattooed our wedding rings. Love is not an option, and marriage is a sacrifice to hold it. We are in this together, and, by the grace of God, we will grow old together.

That's love.