To Exhale

The media has sold us on this idea of the made-just-for-you person who will love you for exactly who you are right now, flaws and all. We’ve been taught to wait for this person – to hold out for the magic. Butterflies, incoherent speech, and irregular heart rhythms are all indicators of this person’s arrival. Once you’ve found each other, you’ll live happily ever after.

I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking.

I’m a hopeless romantic, yet I do not believe in “the one”. I’ve found that believing in “the one” tends to make a person lazy. There’s no motivation to grow, to evolve, to change, to blossom. Because we are fed this idea that someday a man will find all the unrefined parts of us beautiful, we tend to fold our hands – instead of leaning into the discomfort when people point out the distasteful parts of our character, we write them off. Though I’m well aware that no one will ever reach perfection while clothed in a body of flesh, I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor to become the best version of yourself you could possibly be. It is far healthier to become a well-rounded person who is compatible with many different people, instead of a person who shuns growth under the guise of awaiting the “right person” to love all of her flaws. And life seems much fuller when you aren’t living like you’re waiting for someone, but embracing all that’s given to you in the present.

Despite that view, I find that I still believe in the idea of soul mates. And in that, I believe in the multiplicity of soul mates. At various points in my journey through life, I’ve come across a person who feels like a giant exhale, my lungs collapsing with the release of breath they weren’t aware they were holding. It’s the immediate knowing that this person will be important to you for a while. It’s the instant trust, the unspoken, “There you are. I didn’t know I’d been looking for you until you were right here in front of me.” 

I’ve found two of my soul mates already, lucky me. And they both – almost instantly – became two of my best friends. I don’t believe that soul mates are reserved solely for the romantic world. In believing in the multiplicity of soul mates, I believe that they can be lovers, or good friends, or siblings, or whatever else. They are the ones your heart instantly chooses with or without your consent. And they might only be in your life for a season, but the length of their stay does nothing to change the level of their importance to you.

I’m fascinated with the idea that I can be deeply known by not just one person, but a handful of precious souls in whose presence my heart slows its pace and swells with love. Maybe someday, one of my giant exhales will be with a beautiful soul encased in the body of a gloriously flawed man. Until then, I’m breathing easy in the company of my soul mates, and leaning into the discomfort that will make me a better person for the man I choose to love someday.

“We were never strangers. Our souls were well acquainted with each other far before our eyes became acquainted with one another.”

I Love You For Free

I fear that the truth of love has been lost on my generation. Love has become more of a security blanket and less like a wild adventure. Love has become all about me and what I can get and how good someone can make me feel.

If love is to be selfless, then can we call this constant preoccupation with ourselves in the company of another “love”? It’s about whether they’ll love us back, or how vulnerable we’re willing to be without getting hurt or losing our fierce independence and pride. Isn’t love supposed to be reckless? Shouldn’t we love because we have love to give, not simply to ensure that we are loved in return? Shouldn’t love be free – no strings attached? Shouldn’t a selfless love leave room for the loved one to walk away, to choose someone else, to not reciprocate without it diminishing the affections of the lover? Isn’t that how He loves us?

Oh, for the courage to love fearlessly and find ultimate satisfaction in the act of loving alone. Oh, for the reciprocation of love to be a blessing, and not a requirement. Oh, for love to once again be selfless.

Nostalgic for the Future

I’m a twenty-three-year-old woman who’s never had a real boyfriend. Whose hands have never been held in the hands of a lover while on a leisurely stroll. Whose lips are supple, soft, and un-kissed. Whose heart is large, intricately beautiful, and unclaimed.

Most days, that’s just fine. Life’s fullness isn’t narrowed down to belonging to a significant other – there are many, many things that expand my heart and bring me joy. I belong to people – to friends who are more like sisters, to the One my heart adores, to a family of impossibly difficult people, to this place right now.

But then there are nights like tonight when I can’t distract my heart from missing him. Him whom I’m yet to meet. Him who will hold my hand, and kiss my lips, and claim my heart.

It used to be a bitter thing, wondering where he was and why he was taking so long. Or more precisely, wondering what was wrong with me. It’s not a bitter thing anymore. And while I wouldn’t have chosen this story for myself, I’m glad that all I’ve been able to do for two decades is miss him. It’s given me plenty of time to learn to ferociously love the person I am without him. And it’s shown me how important it is to me that he’s extraordinary. That we are extraordinary. I want to change the world with this man. I want to love hard and live free. I want to raise the most beautiful, selfless, confidently humble children with him. I want to learn generosity, kindness, patience, and joyfulness with him.

I don’t plan to live an ordinary life. Therefore, I’m not settling for an ordinary love. Tonight, I’m eagerly anticipating falling in love with a man who will change the world and make history with me.