Today’s post is brought on by a long overdue dinner last night with my oldest best friend, and by reading two very different but apparently related books in the span of a week.
I go on and on (probably to the point of annoying some of you dear Readers) about my overwhelming passion for True Love. But let’s be frank once and for all – love is not an easy thing to experience and it is not all sunshine, daisies and brilliant rainbows. I alluded to this in one of my entries from last week, on #ThrowbackThursday no less, but I stumbled upon a few quotes this past week that come even closer to the heart (pun intended) of the point I was trying to make.
Love is a strange and terrifying thing…my best friend and I can both tell you that with certainty after our conversation last night. I have a serious boyfriend and my BFF is kind of single and kind of really not, but neither of us are any steps closer to knowing how to navigate the frightening, indecipherable domain that is romance. I’m happy, joyous, buoyant in my love for SS…except when I’m really not: when I’m bombarded by (totally irrational) feelings of jealousy, when I miss him like I’m never going to see him again even though we’re only spending a few days apart, when all I want is to hear some reassuring word from him but he’s at work or in class or somehow occupied. My BFF is about a million times better at controlling her emotions than I am (Sidenote: I know this for a fact, since we’ve actually both liked the same guy at different points in our lives…and, let me tell you, she handled the situation quite a bit more composedly and coolly than I did!), except when she really likes someone, which doesn’t happen often but which seems to take her by surprise and inspire this very vehement resistance from her. I would use a different L-word to describe what she’s feeling, but that usually freaks her out even more!
And why is that? Why is my BFF so jittery when that 4-letter word is mentioned…and why am I equally jumpy, even when I’m in the middle of experiencing it, in all its reciprocated glory?
It comes down to fear, no doubt about it. We are afraid to love, and maybe even to be loved, because that leaves us…what? Weak? Confused? Vulnerable. We are strong, twenty something women, and we aren’t so comfortable with leaving our hearts in the hands of others, with good reason considering our romantic pasts. And, this is an all too common emotion I’m finding, especially now that I’ve started reading another novel by Jojo Moyes. When I read what Jennifer Stirling said about love early in the book, I knew that there was something of myself and my BFF in her character:
“‘I’m afraid of what I feel for you. I’m afraid to love somebody this much.’” – The Last Letter from Your Lover, Jojo Moyes
I think any human would admit to being afraid of things that are stronger than him or herself. That’s a pretty standard anxiety to have. And I can say from experience that love can be the strongest force in the world, whether it is unrequited or returned. It can tear you apart, from the inside out, and the wounds can be lasting. I’ve held on to some of my own for over a decade.
But, I realized about a year and 5 months ago when I met my boyfriend, that no one ever gets anywhere by being scared and that emotions are meant to be felt, to be lived through and dealt with. I tried to impart some of that wisdom to my BFF last night, and I still try to remind myself of it every single day. Because I would rather feel deeply and unabashedly than live a life with no memories, no experiences, no risks or adventures. I would rather put my heart on the line every single time, in the hopes that one of those times it won’t get broken.
So, I leave you with this weekend’s second #JNGReads quote, and probably my favourite one from my Twitter catalogue so far:
“‘Feel, feel, I say – feel for all you’re worth, and even if it half kills you…’” – Henry James quoted in Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
With a Heart Filled with Love,
Girl with a Green Heart