What Love Isn’t

Frances Ha
Frances Ha

Love isn’t the answer. It isn’t going to barrel into your life carrying the antidote to all your past fuckups and lingering insecurities, like a balm to all your wounds. It’s not going to reach out and take away all your problems, carefully aligning them in the proper and precise order and showing you how to deal with them. The world isn’t going to suddenly center itself, everything now perfectly in sync. Love provides a support beam, a way to hold yourself up when the fight gets tough, but it isn’t going to win the battle for you.

Love isn’t the end of the story. You aren’t going to share a beautiful, perfect kiss as the sun sets behind you while the screen fades to black and the credits roll. The world carries on and now Cinderella and Prince Charming have to learn to live together. She grinds her teeth and he snores. She drinks too much and he spends too much money. He wants three kids and she’s not sure she wants any. Love doesn’t take two separate people and turn them into the same person. Love takes two people and asks them to try and live in tandem, together but separate. Two very different parts that create something more, something fragile and insubstantial but precious.

Love isn’t going to fix you. It isn’t going to make you a better person. It isn’t going to undo all the wrongs of your past, it isn’t going to make the scars dull and the pain fade. Your life doesn’t restart when love steps in. You might think it does, but it doesn’t. When the glitter and stars fade and dim so that you can see again, reality will be right there waiting for you. Just as ugly and persistent as before. Love just tells you that some things are worth trying for, worth getting up in the morning for and pushing forward for even when you’re thinking maybe it’s not going to be enough. Love lets you fall down but gives you that nudge you need to get back on your feet. Love loves you in spite of yourself, because of yourself, while still showing you that maybe you could be better, more.

Love isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to take care of itself. It will wither and die just as quickly as that houseplant your mother bought you for your birthday that you never watered. It isn’t infinite and tireless and it can’t withstand every abuse and indifference. Love takes work, it takes compromise. It takes a willingness to be wrong, to be hurt, to be torn apart and put back together again. It take vulnerability and weakness; the strength to let yourself been seen, every uncomfortable little piece of yourself laid bare. Love breaks you down to the root of who you are and asks if that’s who you really want to be.

Love isn’t always pretty. It isn’t picnics on bright sunny days and beautiful ballads sung by your window at night. Love, the kind that’s real anyway, isn’t perfect makeup and smooth lines, blurred out until everything’s cast into a rose colored haze. It isn’t always agreeing on where to eat, or when to fuck or how much to spend on a new couch set. Love is bad breath and loud chewing. Love is frustration and wondering what the hell you were thinking, but doing it anyway. Love isn’t a music video with synchronized dancers, it’s a hastily thrown together ballet and neither of you know the steps. Love is dancing anyway. It’s forgiving the bumps and rolls and marks and sick days and bad days and every day that makes you think how nice it was to be alone sometimes. Love is sometimes ugly, but the honesty of those moments is a different kind of beauty.

Love isn’t always enough. It isn’t going to make up for poor timing, for persistent emptiness and a missing sense of self. It doesn’t overcome all cruelties, every punch and blow, it doesn’t always last forever and it isn’t indestructible. Love is the start. It’s the burst of light at the beginning of the universe before the stars have fully formed. Love is what you shape and mold and build, and if it doesn’t have a strong foundation, it isn’t going to last for long.

Love isn’t the answer, it’s the question. TC mark

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