There’s no doubt that right now, times are about as uncertain as they’ve ever been. Who knows what comes next either professionally or personally for any of us. I, like many, thought 2019 had dealt me a big enough blow to last me straight through the next decade. When my engagement suddenly ended last summer, I was looking forward to spending much of the new year licking my wounds and meeting new people with no other intention than exchanging positive energy. To put it plainly, I was done with love, or even the potentiality of it, in the near future.
© Provided by Shutterstock Young african american couple happy to move into new home with pet and boxes, black family tenants celebrate relocation sitting on couch with dog, homeowners renters having fun unpacking in own house
But life had other plans.
I was e-introduced to someone in late January, and soon we were FaceTiming in 6-hour intervals on any given night like giddy teenagers first discovering the joys of finding a like-minded spirit on this earth. And despite my previous plan, I was making a conscious effort to let a person in, in a way that I’d solemnly sworn off.
He excited me and scared me all at once. There was something inside of me that vehemently agreed with something inside of him and I needed to know if it was real. So, we set about the business of planning to see one another in mid-March. With my job freedom as a freelancer, it was determined that I’d come to visit him for a short staycation in Maryland with two of our mutual friends. Even with the looming possibility that our trip could very well end up extended far beyond what either of us were signing up for initially, the ticket was bought, the plans were made and the anticipation had already begun kicking in. Then came the official stay-at-home order for most of the country as well as the possibility of a mandated self-quarantine that would keep us all indoors for the foreseeable future.
© Claudia Mcphee / EyeEm – Getty Images This is how one writer decided to ride out the pandemic with a budding romance.Surely, I wouldn’t still be willing to fly across the country and chance being stuck inside with someone I’d never even spent time with in real life and put my own health at risk to do so, right?
And I have no regrets.
See, for most of my life, I’ve played by every perceived rule possible — being careful to dot every “i” and cross every proverbial “t.” I was not spontaneous in love. Adventure was a cuss word when it came to my heart. I wanted surety. Stability. Guaranteed success. This usually meant holding onto the reins of control for dear life and, as a result, sapping the beauty out of the aspect of love that needs free will to blossom.
I’d never given myself the freedom to simply feel, to completely let go or to dive in heart first and swim against my own pride. I needed to take a risk. To prove to myself that the worst thing that could happen is that I’d end up with…me.
© bobmadbob – Getty Images Online dating.
And if losing love in a devastating way (being ghosted by my fiancé four months before our wedding that he called off via email) taught me nothing, it made me realize there are worse things than being alone – chief among them ruining good relationships by putting too much emphasis on being legitimized through them. If I enter new situations desperately seeking wholeness, I will never attract authentic intimacy, I will only receive people who need fixing. People who need my brokenness to feel whole themselves. I wanted something different. I wanted something new.
How much joy could I convince myself I was worthy of? How much love? How much goodness?
All of it, I’ve decided. Anything else would be a slap in the face to the brokenness I’ve survived, the coming back together I’ve done, and the forgiveness I’ve learned to give away without grievance.
I want a love that has no ceiling, so shattering the wall around my heart is vital. Not with reckless abandon, but with earnest vulnerability forged from the fires of my past.
At this point in our lives, we’ve all lived through things that make head-over-heels love and complete trust nearly impossible. But we show up anyway. On dating apps. On blind dates. On hookups that last a weekend or two past their intended expiration. So why not, I asked myself, show up for something that makes me feel the way I did when my first crush admitted to liking me back? Why not push past the “what-ifs” and worry about the end if it actually even comes.
The truth of the matter is, I thought I had to be completely healed from the shock of having the life I was planning ripped from under me — completely “perfect” again — to even entertain the idea of a deep connection with someone. My heart and its fear wanted to deny me of the one thing that makes us all feel alive in order to save myself. But I’ve learned that denying yourself love will not save you.
© Malte Mueller – Getty Images Hands sewing broken heart with needle and thread
Oh, it may feel safe, sure, but the saving comes in releasing fear and committing to staying in the discomfort of the unknown. Love is the only true savior.
The only balancing energy is loving energy and if you cut yourself off from it, the hurt is deeper than if something simply just doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to. I decided to dare myself to speak honestly, love with courage, and remember the generosity of the universe at all times.
When my heart is beating into my eardrums begging me to run in the opposite direction, I remind it that it deserves to be here; in the middle of something new and promising. I tell it that no matter what happens, it is strong and resilient. Whatever comes from this situation, we are both still lovable. I give both of us the permission to enjoy the moment with no thought of what comes next.
We both know that the only moment that matters is this one. This one where you’ve spent 50 days, 24 hours a day, with the same person and every day you wake up more interested than the day before. This one where you stay up until 8:00 am talking about things you’ve only shared with those closest to you. This one where you fall asleep on his chest with his dog at your feet and nothing, literally nothing, feels more right. This one that inspires you to write, again, about the blessing that love can be.