I know that this is a doubt blog, so I just want to talk about one of the things I doubted the most; Love. I’ve always struggled with the idea of Love. What is it? Why do we have it?
As a hopeless romantic for most of my life, I not only wanted to figure out what love was, but I also longed to feel this thing and find it for myself. To me, love was defined by the excessive amount of Hallmark movies taking up 90% of my recordings. In Hallmark movies, love came unexpectedly; usually tall, handsome, and mysterious. He came when the girl needed him the most, and even when everything looked like it might end bad; it didn’t. People always laughed at me and rolled their eyes when they saw me watching those movies. My mom would occasionally sit down and watch them with me, but my dad usually never did, and now I understand why. However, back then I didn’t care if I knew what was going to happen, or even if they had the cheesiest lines and actors. This is because Hallmark made me believe that love would come and love would stay.
There came a time when I stopped watching Hallmark movies and I moved on into the big leagues. I started watching movies that society said were, “the best representation of love,” and while watching them I realized that I wanted this love. In those movies love was passionate. He came in the pouring rain. He came yelling and throwing dishes. He came with a deep voice, calloused hands, and scars from his past. His love was hesitant, confusing, and harsh, but somehow in the end… beautiful. Those movies made me believe that love would come cold and distant. It made me believe that love was supposed to have lots of passionate screaming and fights.
Eventually, I started to observe the relationships around me. My parents have the greatest love for each other. They were my first and greatest example of what I want in a relationship. Honestly, films should be making movies about them. They were and are always so joyous and just partners in everything. They encouraged me to find that same thing. My friends on the other hand made me afraid of love. I would watch them crying and yelling and I would get confused as to why they would want to be in a relationship that made them do that. One day I told my two best friends that I was scared of love, and they both replied,
“Sarah, it’s all worth it.”
I let them believe that it was worth it, but I was very set on never loving anyone. However, that quickly changed. Junior year, love finally came to me. He came unexpectedly, just like those Hallmark movies, but he was nothing like the movies. He caught me off guard, because I expected him to be like the guys in the movies I saw. I expected him to be distant and harsh. But he wasn’t. He came sweet and gentle. He came smart and funny and I wasn’t mature enough to realize that. As a hopeless romantic, I longed and maybe even got too infatuated with having the perfect love. That made me ignore the real love I had in front of me and it made me have unrealistic expectations for him and our love. And so, when love finally left, I realized what I had lost. But by then it was too late.
I wish I could say that the breakup made me realize that I needed self love and made me an amazing human being, but it didn’t. For a while I was just filled with such anger and bitterness; not only towards myself, but towards others as well. I became distant and spent my time sleeping. I started getting onto myself for everything I did. I stopped wanting to go out and I started thinking of guys as dogs. I started telling myself that I wasn’t enough, because if one person didn’t want me, why would anyone else? I eventually realized that I needed to snap out of it. So, I started to write more in my journal. I got painting supplies and started painting. I became obsessed with nature and being happy. But in the end I realized that I wasn’t doing this for me, I was doing it for everyone else. I wanted everyone else to see me and think that I was alright. I wanted them to know that Sarah Taylor was still doing okay, but I wasn’t.
The problem was that I kept telling myself that love left, but y’all love never left. I thought that love had to come in the form of a man. I thought that love had to be romantic and I completely forgot about all the different kinds of love. I was obsessed with my pain and feeling bad for myself, that I completely ignored everyone else around me that loved me. But slowly I started to see them. Love finally came in the form of my beautiful parents. It came in them continuously loving me through thick and thin. It came in their “thinking about you,” or “praying for you” texts. It came in dinner and watching my favorite shows with my mom on Wednesday.
I saw love in the form of my best friends. It came in their encouraging messages to me. It came in the “you go girl,” “you got this,” pep talks. It came in late night phone calls when they would calm my aching heart. And finally, love came in my college friends. It came in late night dance sessions, screaming songs at the top of our lungs, dying hair mistakes, road trips, unexpected ear piercings, and multiple trips to Walmart.
In his book, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis says,
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Love anything: friends, family, animals and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. That’s scary that loving anything is a risk, but it’s so beautiful and so worth it.
So, as silly as it might be, Hallmark taught me that love would stay and it took me a while before I realized that love did stay.