Friday, February 6, 2015

This Belongs to You, and Always Will

When you fall in love, you don’t do it with an expiration date in mind. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, you just begin to build a life around another person. Pretty soon months and years go by and you’ve created a pretty remarkable thing and you look over to find a person that knows you better than anyone. A person you trust enough to guard the deepest most vulnerable pieces of your heart. He's the last person you see before you close your eyes, and the first when you wake. Not too long after falling in love, hardly a memory is made that is void of him and life fails to take on a definition independent of this, the most significant person in it.

Breaking up with someone you love is all sorts of agony. After so many years of living a life and contemplating a future together, it feels like being an accomplice in some great crime committed against yourself, your life, and the person you care most about in the world. Managing to actually make the decision to end the relationship in the first place is enough to drive a person to the deepest depths of despair. It is a special sort of cruelty that this decision, supposedly made for the happiness of the two people you care most about, feels so incredibly horrible. And scary- boy is it scary. You wonder how the hell you will manage to survive without your best friend, your rock, your everything- by your side.

After making that courageous and difficult decision, there is no solace or comfort to be found. The pain doesn’t stop. Intense loneliness follows immediately after saying goodbye. In a single painful moment, after years of togetherness, you lose the one person you most want to be with when you are in pain. All around you are the remnants of a life you built together. A blanket he made that says “I love you.” Photos and souvenirs from trips and memories together. The wallpaper on your phone (I just barely changed it). Even the songs on the radio remind you of the life you had. You struggle to fall asleep alone. You wake to no “good mornings.” And all you want to do is text him to see how his day went or hear his voice because you know just the sound of it will make you feel less lonely. It seems so justifiable given the pain, but you know that once the conversation is over, you will find yourself alone, re-living the break up again.

In the immediate aftermath of the break up, I wrote a post about how I felt like I was leaving behind so much good. The problem is, I don’t want to give all that up (Let's be real, I couldn’t even bring myself to change the wallpaper on my phone!). Lately though, I’m coming around to this idea that actually, I don’t need to leave behind anything at all. I can keep all that was good and still change the wallpaper.

I’ve always loved the story of Peter Pan. It has always felt significant to me ever since I was young. There is a scene in Peter Pan where Wendy has decided she needs to leave Neverland and grow up. Peter is absolutely devastated by grief. We witness his denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimate acceptance of his loss. It doesn’t help that his family of lost boys leaves with his Wendy.

At the climax of the film, when complete and utter doom seems unavoidable, and death is soon upon them all, Wendy has a chance to say her goodbye to Peter. She gets close to Peter’s ear and whispers, “This belongs to you, and always will.” She then takes his face in her hands and kisses him. This act completely changes their fate and they defeat Hook and fly to the stars for their proper goodbye. But Wendy still goes home, and Peter still returns to Neverland and they go on to live out their lives without the other. Before Peter leaves, Wendy asks, “you won’t forget me, will you?” to which Peter responds, “Me? Forget? Never.” And away he goes.

I’ve often thought about that kiss and how it might be representative of love. Peter and Wendy had their “awfully big adventure.” Falling in love is just that. Adventures don’t always go as planned. There is always risk and uncertainty involved. I risked falling in love with Sean, and it was an awfully big adventure- one I will never forget.

I don't believe love is a limited resource of the heart. I don’t need to burry it or “leave it behind.” In, The Fault in Our Stars, there is a discussion about how there are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There is 0 and 0.0001 and 0.00011 and so on and so forth forever. There is an infinity even between two small numbers. Sean and I shared 3 1/2 years. Our life together was a little infinity. I am beginning to see that even though our big adventure together came to an end, our little infinity and the love I shared with Sean belongs to him, and always will. And that’s okay.


  1. Mileage on the odometer. For some ways we journey alone. For some ways we journey with others (what a gift.) For some ways we journey with less or more. Those miles are filled with joy and goodness, some tragedy and disappointment. It is so important to marvel at the places filled with joy and goodness and all that made it. The comfort of those moments is an irreplaceable treasure. That's why it's called intimacy. That you chose in that moment to be with that person. No transition that involves loss will be painless, especially a table for two. No spring can come without a fall and winter. Oh but when spring comes. Be comforted by the goodness in your past, let it into your present, let it go with you in all the future.

    1. It's true. The different seasons of my life have also come with different people that I built relationships with and cared about. I will always have those connections regardless of where I am.

  2. I recently found your videos which lead me to your reading them. I am from MI but, ironically am in Baltimore this weekend! You are amazing. Sorry to hear about your break up...I have not far enough back to see if you address why.

    1. Hi Scott! I actually haven't been to Baltimore yet. I should definitely make a trip out there though. It isn't too far away.

  3. This is tragically beautiful. I actually teared up reading the first half. You describe love the way I imagine and yearn for it to be. The heartache of separation is a hard pill to swallow but I am in awe of your growth and strength. The ability to keep the memories, though painful at first, and then turn them into treasures to keep, is beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing this with me. It has taught me a lot.