Originally published on Valentine’s Day 2011, this is one of my all-time favorites. It felt appropriate to bring it out again for another Valentine’s Day, in which I’m celebrating a month and a half being married to Miracle Man. Enjoy! xo,Melissa
I’m staying close to home on this one, sharing something rather personal. Something I’m a little shy about revealing. But it’s what’s been on my mind, and what popped into my head when I got Jasmine’s invitation, so it’s what I’m sharing today. Hope you enjoy it.
I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a brilliant ploy by the flower, card and candy industries rather than any truly meaningful moment in annual time.
This year, though, is a little different.
One year ago I had just been unceremoniously dumped, 2 days before Valentine’s Day, in what felt like a particularly shocking betrayal.
Little did I know it at the time, but my ex’s departure would clear the way for the entry, on Valentine’s Day itself, of new love into my life.
Though it took me almost a year to figure that out.
Because love, I’ve discovered, is not that weak-in-the-knees, sweaty palms, dry mouth, can-barely-speak-because-you’re-so-nervous-to-be-around-them feeling.
Nor is it that surely-we-knew-each-other-in-a-past-life feeling.
Or the oh-my-god-that-was-so-amazing-I-feel-like-I-just-touched-the-face-of-the-divine feeling.
Or the surely-I-will-die-without-you feeling.
I submit, in fact, that the feeling of being madly in love is actually a form of mental illness. May I point out to you that the phrase is, after all, “madly in love.” Witness, too, the term “crazy about you.”
Nonetheless, yes, I’ve experienced all of the above feelings, and they’re wonderful. I freely confess that I love being in love.
But as your mom may have told you, being in love is not the same as truly loving or as being truly loved.
Here’s a secret: every person I’ve ever fallen madly in love with has not, in the end, been a good match for me.
This is contrary to everything I ever learned about love, from fairy tales, from movies, from books and poetry and art. Even from my parents’ 50+ year marriage. (The lucky [expletive deleted]’s met when they were 19, fell in love, and are still happy to be with each other.)
Though falling is the more quoted mode of entry, I’ve discovered that it’s quite possible to gradually wander into love.
(Which makes me wonder how many people I might have wandered into love with, had I only given them more time.)
I’ve learned from experience that regardless of what other kinds of love you’re swimming in – infinite variations of filial, friendly, brotherly, spiritual, erotic, romantic, etc. etc. (English has a sad dearth of words to describe the vast number of types of love) – the being in love feeling is transitory. Often when it starts off strongest, it goes away fastest.
But sometimes it also comes back.
(Which makes figuring out when to end a relationship challenging indeed.)
Thankfully, the wisdom of experience whispered in my ear that if the being in love feeling can come back after leaving, perhaps it can show up where it had never been before…
Give someone enough time to show you who they really are, and you might be surprised at how your heart swells and opens.
A good match, it turns out, may have less to do with how crazy-wild-with-love you feel, than with how your life goes when the person in question is in it.
(Single people, take note.)
On Valentine’s Day one year ago I grieved the loss of an untrustworthy love, one that spoke a good line, but was perched on flimsy values. Rotten roots that disintegrated at the first sign of challenge.
Today I celebrate a steadfast love. One that kept coming back rather than running away. One that not only doesn’t flinch at challenges, but in every way possible makes my life go better.
I wish the same for everyone this Valentine’s Day.
Which is now – rather ironically, given my scorn for the holiday – my anniversary day.
Here’s to hearts and roses.