There was a time when I made a habit of wanting things that weren’t mine. I would perceive what I thought was a challenge, and accept it. I thought overcoming obstacles was winning. Was happiness. Was love. But I was a child. I loved with my eyes, and my ego. Real love starts with knowing who you are, and accepting who you are. It proceeds with choosing carefully those few people you can truly share your life with. Close friends. Partners. There are many people you can share a day with or an adventure with, and I embrace each new experience, but there are few people you can share your soul with.
My heart, for so many years, was an open door that I didn’t always know when to shut. I was so sensitive to the way that others treated me – the way that men I desired treated me, more specifically – that I feared hurting anyone who expressed affection for me. Again, I was a child. Real love is honesty. Integrity.
There are people who I let waste my time. There are people who let me waste theirs… We must have had our reasons, but at the base of it I believe it is only fear that keeps any (good) person from being honest.
I sit here today knowing that the beauty of age is experience — knowing what I truly want and what I truly don’t. Knowing, too, that those who are not mine to love are worthy of loving, just as I am worthy of loving. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all stopped perceiving honesty as rejection? I have been guilty, too, at times. But every person’s actions are a reflection of who that person is on the inside, much more than it is a reflection of me or anyone else around them. So I have starting accepting people’s choices. I don’t take it personally. I don’t fight for what isn’t mine. I also don’t try to change my identity on a moment’s notice to please others.
I met someone recently that I got terribly excited about. In one evening of long conversation I believe we both concluded that we had everything in common. Writers. World travelers. Bright-eyed romantics… It was a lovely evening. Then the following day, over another long conversation, I came to see our many differences. Differences of practicalities more than anything, but differences just the same. At first, I felt inclined to ignore them… attraction being a powerful thing. Then ultimately, I realized I was never going to fit this person’s lifestyle, nor was he going to fit mine. At the time, I did a poor job of expressing that without hurting some feelings. I think he also struggled to find the right words. But we do the best we can in the moment.
Today I saw that he posted an anonymous letter, reflecting on this experience. It inspired me to do the same. While we are different in our pursuits, we are similar in our hopes and sensitivities. (I especially agree with his observation that “love is hallucinatory” ;). Indeed, it can be… I do hope that one day, the ‘floating leaf’ will find the current that washes him home. Because home, for all of us, is where the love is…
Thank you, E, for your letter.