“We accept the love we think we deserve.” -Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
My parents ended their marriage the day before Valentine’s day and all I got was a card, selfish tendencies and swelling intimacy issues. I was twelve and up until then the household was either tumultuous or gravely silent. Divorce was a bittersweet decision, even then, I understood the necessity.
I spent my childhood and onward examining various relationships. I sought out examples of what love should and shouldn’t look like and a diverse sampling emerged. Whether it was infidelity, incompatibility or the ever quoted, “irreconcilable differences,” I took note. Even the so-called goal relationships were flawed and I would find discomfort. Love was a puppy that you strangled.
That got dark, let me explain. Love became a line in a song, specifically, Something Corporate’s “Me and The Moon.”
“You marry a role and you give up your soul, til you break down.”
It’s funny the way life can change in a year. For this purging of ink, I can narrow it down to two separate years. I was nineteen and love was a snowball, gathering mass and speed, careening downhill. By the following Valentine’s Day I would be seven months pregnant, sleeping on the couch with my engagement ring hidden in a drawer. Love was a melting snowball.
When thirty happened, I was enveloped in new relationship bliss, my first relationship in a decade. I spent time picking out the perfect gift and opening a vein onto his card. A short time later and I could feel the snowball accelerating. How do you tell someone you love that you need them to not love you back? How do you tell them that being loved back is such a foreign concept. Being loved feels like strangulating the sense of self.
Nevertheless, the world continued to spin and here we are approaching another February 14th. Who knows what another year could bring. I’d love to get to a place between love is an uncontrolled avalanche and love is a death wish.
You might miss my optimism (its there), it lies underneath a steely pragmatic surface. When I was sixteen my boss gave me offhanded advice that continues to resonate as the years pass. I’m pretty sure I had either just marveled at the longevity of her marriage or made a bad crack about beating my father’s marriage record (six). My boss in her effortless manor told me that people need to grow, the goal was to find someone that would grow along with you.
When you slowly roll out of bed one morning, whose dentures do you want to see next to yours?