There is one prevailing love narrative that dominates this culture. We all know how it goes. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl date, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl marry, boy and girl become old and die holding hands in a retirement home (ok, you caught me, this may or may not be the plot of a Nicolas Sparks book). The stuff of Hallmark and Disney and “until death do us part” promises. The narrative that we are taught, and that we accept, and that advertising reinforces, because it is sweet and dedicated and delicate and beautiful.
This one prevailing love narrative is so woven into the very fiber of our culture, that we barely think to question it. Well… I would like to question it. I think we should. And by doing so, I mean no disrespect towards folks that function blissfully within its parameters. I wish I could. Truly, I do.
I would like to question this prevailing love narrative, because I may never experience it, due to a highly cynical nature and a roaming spirit. I would like to question it because it is entirely normative and exclusive (and honestly- pretty darn sexist). I would like to question it because I watched my family fall apart because it simply could not live up to the high and heavy pressures and standards set in place by the concept of “forever”.
I would like to question it because I had a shot at it and I went running for the hills. I would like to question it because I believe that love has the capacity to be recognized as something so much more expansive than this one particular narrative limits it to.
And by questioning it, I would like to take a minute to celebrate all the other narratives that get pushed under the rug, but are no less significant just because they do not conform to this status quo.
Here’s to nonconforming relationship styles that challenge the standard of monogamy. Here’s to love shared between folks that do not fit the gender binary. Here’s to love shared between same- sex partners, otherwise-abled partners, and any others who do not fit the greeting card ideal.
Here’s to the unspoken truths and stolen glances shared between two people who will never admit they love each other. Here’s to your first crush. Here’s to your first soul-destroying-knee-buckling-grade-seven-love. Here’s to the stranger you made eye contact with in the pasta section at the grocery store and knew you loved, in that fierce, tender moment you both reached for the marinara sauce. Here’s to that vacation fling that was made even more beautiful by the fact that it was fleeting. Here’s to that one night stand you still smile about from time to time, and wonder, “whatever happened to them?”
Here’s to all the lovers, past, present, and future that you may love, or did love, or almost loved, or yearn to love, but may never get the chance to.
This love is just as important.
If you are like me, and will probably never get married (due to choice or circumstance), please remember that, and promise me you will not succumb to the sadness that accompanies looking in on something you may never be a part of.
Please remember that there is also something ecstatically empowering about walking a path less trodden on. If you are living the prevailing narrative or plan to, please be respectful of those folks who do not see it as part of their life journey, as they do their best to be respectful toward you.
Love is love and love is beautiful, whether it conforms, or whether it joyfully defies. Now, get out there, and love some more.