Published on Elite Daily: No One Said Love Was Easy, But Here’s Why it’s Worth All the Trouble
I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. I’ve found that they tend to be really simple at the core, but we complicate things when we’re in them. We’ve all had the experience where we’ve had friends tell us complicated stories about things that are not right in their relationships, but in the same breath, tell us how devastatingly in love they are with the other person. In the next breath, they tell us that they’re not sure that they’re meant to be together forever. They tell us that they love the person so much, but that they worry sometimes. They question their feelings. They tell us story after story – one after another – a few that leave us believing that they’re meant to be, and a few that have us questioning why they ever got together in the first place.
When we recount these stories, we tend to think that they’re simple. We tell others that they met at the wrong time, or that they’re just not right for each other at this very moment. That perhaps, some day in the future, they’ll become the right people for one another. Just not now. We tell people that they’re just too different, and from our perspectives, this seems to be very clear. We can see where things unravel and why their fights last until the dawn breaks and why each person is just too tired to keep things going. Despite this perceived clarity, we watch them try. We see them struggle – fight after fight, each tearful night seemingly a painful reminder of another. The lyrics of one of Billie Holiday’s most famous songs offers an explanation that many have come to accept: “All who love are blind…smoke gets in your eyes.” But is the intensity of love really creating a smoke of emotion that clouds our perception of the truth?
We think the truth is there – it’s there each time we have that same fight we’ve had countless times, and it’s there each time we cry those tears of hopelessness. It’s there each time we go to sleep angry, knowing that we don’t know if we’ll ever really find a resolution. Our feelings for the other person and the good times that we can’t get out of our heads complicate the situation. These memories become the gel that keeps us glued to the person we’ve fought so hard to keep. Time after time, we think we see the truth – that we weren’t meant to be – and it eats at us. Like drowning sailors desperate to stay afloat, we cast line after line, hoping that one of them will finally catch. We’re in love. We’ve never felt this way before – about anyone. When push comes to shove and the relationship comes to a breaking point, we miss the other person with an intensity of emotion we never thought existed. We are desperate and we are lost. Pain like this shouldn’t be experienced, we think to ourselves. Pain like this is unreal. In the words of Jeannette Winterson, “Why is the measure of love loss?”
What I think we don’t realize is what the truth really is, and what it has been this entire time. The truth is that the world has never been perfect, and it never will be. The truth is that although we think things will always work out the way we want – if we just try hard enough – well, the reality is that this simply isn’t true. The world can be inexplicably brutal at times, and without reason. A simple fact of life that I think many idealistic minds were raised to believe is that if you do your very best, the world will treat you fairly. Our struggle to maintain that belief is what keeps us in this constant struggle for perfection. With that constant struggle and that belief comes inevitable disappointment and frustration. Much of our pain and disillusionment comes from that very expectation. Two unique, beautiful and intelligent people who have very different ideals and ideas about how their lives are going to turn out will have a very small chance of agreeing on everything in life.
I think what we don’t spend enough time thinking about is what a miracle it is when you find someone to love. It is a greater miracle indeed, when the person that your heart desires wants you back just as fervently. I recall how difficult it was to find someone who made me feel like I finally found the person I’d been searching for. When that person fell in love with me, I remember thinking about how lucky I was to be with the one that I dreamed about at night. The probability of one person’s affections being matched by another was, in my opinion, infinitesimal, and I genuinely felt like the stars had suddenly aligned. I was damned lucky, I thought, and I wasn’t about to let that luck get away from me. You know that feeling you get when you wake up on a Sunday morning next to the love of your life, and you smile simply because you’re so happy that they’re next to you? That feeling you get when you’re dancing with them in your living room and you feel like you could die in their arms the happiest person on the planet? That doesn’t come around very often. In fact, I’d venture to say that it might only happen (to the extent that you feel it now) once (or twice) in a lifetime.
I’ve found that many tend to take love for granted. One too many disagreements, and they tell themselves that they’ll just hop back on OkCupid and find another love of their life. What I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about is the fact that our life on this earth is very short. Life will never be perfect, and it won’t always play out in the ways that we expect. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can make the best of what we’re given. And in this imperfect world, the greatest thing we can do is live a life that may not be perfect, but that is lived passionately. When you find a love that feels like the best thing you’ve ever had, that makes your life feel like a perpetual romantic movie with an indie soundtrack – a love that makes you pinch yourself because you can’t believe your luck – hold onto it with everything inside you. I know that when I leave this earth, I would rather have died trying, living my life as a beautiful mess, rather than simply as an acceptable expectation.
“Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.”