Falling in love is like riding a bike. You do it once, and you simply never forget how it went. Motor memory. Engrained. You get on the bike, you pedal, and you propel forward. Predictable. Easy.
Until it’s not.
As predictable as motor memory may be, it’s as fragile as the rest of us. Those neural pathways can be disrupted. It can break.
Our ability to love can, too.
Sometimes we go so long on our own that we no longer remember quite what it’s like to put ourselves out there, to open up to another person and expose that vulnerability we so desperately shield.
Sometimes we simply stop seeking those needs from others. Those needs of love, comfort, and loyalty. Sometimes we decide we do not need them at all.
Eventually, we realize we’re wrong.
Eventually, we realize we’ve dug ourselves into a bit of a rut. How do I do this again? Do I want to do this again? I don’t recall it going swimmingly the first time around.
So we try. Awkwardly, cautiously, and anything but whole-heartedly. And we flail. Face-plant. Back out.
But we grow, too.
The thing with learning how to love again is that it’s a continuous process. Did you learn how to ride a bike on your very first try? Probably not. You probably started with training wheels. Cautious and afraid. Eventually you made the transition and the commitment to two-wheels and you fell – over and over and over. You scraped your knees, your elbows, and were undoubtedly tempted to give up. But then you got behind those handlebars one day and you pedaled and pedaled and you just kept going.
We decide we want to get back out there, or at least stop loathing the idea of dating, and we start with our little training wheels over our heart. We grow with time, with patience, and with practice. We hurt a few people in the process. And we hurt ourselves, too.
And there’s no saying you’ll ever ride that bike again. Maybe you don’t want to. Maybe it’s not time. Maybe it’s just not in the cards for you, no matter how many attempts you give. But you try.
They say everything comes with practice. I don’t know that I believe them, but I believe that practice makes growth. It pushes our boundaries and it strengthens our spirit. You don’t need to learn how to ride a bike. You don’t need to try to love, to date, to put yourself out there. There’s no requirements in this life. Simply opportunities.
Don’t let the fear of falling prevent you from taking that first pedal. We’re all a little broken. We’re all a little rusty. We’re all a little scared.
But we’re all a little human.
Love doesn’t always fall into place. It doesn’t always work itself out. Sometimes we have to work towards it. Baby steps. Broadening our own acceptance of love while working to emit it ourselves.
Life isn’t a fairytale. Life is a six year old kid on a bike making 12 mistakes before they get something right.
We all are a little broken. But we’re also all in it together.
Put on your training wheels. Try. Don’t try. It doesn’t matter. Just know that you’re not alone.