First, love confuses us. We can look it right in the face and not recognize it. Love can be hidden by disagreements and bad taste in music. Love doesn’t always smack us in the face, but it does sneak up on us. It likes to show up when we least expect it and when we really aren’t ready for it.
Then, love excites us. The tingly feelings in our stomachs never go away. We develop new ways of thinking in which nearly all thoughts lead to love, to those we share it with. Love takes us by the hand and skips around in a little circle, our hearts aflutter and eyelids batting rapidly.
Next, usually, love scares us. We offer our hearts to people and trust them to care for our hearts despite their lonely, tattered state. “How will this ever work?” we think. The scars we bring with us have changed us. They have shaped us into who we are and to have that shaken up again…unthinkable.
Soon we’re convinced that we can really, truly trust our beaten down hearts in the hands of another. We learn to throw caution to the wind and allow ourselves the freedom to breathe in the presence of our love, even though the air had once escaped that sacred space.
Love satisfies us for just a short while, after we’ve settled down and yet before we’ve really settled down.
Love bores us. We learn to identify our needs as the needs of our loved ones and vice-versa. We lose sight of whom we were prior to love and we start to nest. We start to dig a hole of self-pity and bury ourselves beneath the soil of bitterness. “How did everything get so monotonous?” we ask ourselves. Things used to be exciting. We used to be infatuated and now, here we are, watching television on the couch and peeing with the door open.
Love centers us. We see the changes we’ve made within ourselves and realize just that: we’ve done this to ourselves. We could have chosen anyone to love and still transformed into a better human being over time. Love holds a mirror to our faces and forces us to own our integrity and our shortcomings. Love plants our feet on the ground and tells us, “You do you.”
Love sometimes fails us. Sometimes love is not enough to push through the challenges that the world places at our feet. Love cannot actually thaw the stoniest frost. However, it can warm the chilliest heart, and it can teach a woman that a small waist and pin straight hair are not what beauty looks like. Beauty is the ability to love others in the way we love ourselves: wholeheartedly.