Love despite Entropy: Letters from Under the Skin.
In this third letter on love and lessons and life still in progress, an anonymous reader speaks to the feeling of having to make her own choices when faced with a soulmate not ready to commit. Read aloud for Podcast listening by our founder Madison, we hope this moves you, softens you, empowers you to be brave.
Oddly enough, I feel okay about all of this. I feel at peace. It's a pity, I think, for us to waste our precious energy and time on squeezing not-for-us people into uncertain moulds, asking them to hold the hands of incomplete people, full of thoughts more exploratory than sure.
We don't know what we want yet, the both of us. He could be it. But at all of 23, fresh out of grad school, a timid frog seeking a lily pad to land on...perhaps it's just meant that I land in the water for now.
I have a hard time holding hate in my heart. Perhaps I should start doing a better job of it, perhaps I should learn to play the games everyone talks of; smiling with less teeth, less passion. I believe that, when you meet a person whose round and jagged edges compliment yours like a puzzle, and whose squishy insides lend a kind of light to your life, you tell them. You say:
"You feel different. You feel good, and I don't know if I'm alone here, but I like you and I don't want to keep going without you knowing that."
And then, like mature-ish adults, you talk. One of you will probably fall in love slower, one of you may have lots of baggage, one of you may not know how to love at all. Maybe you live hundreds of thousands of miles apart and doing anything at all feels like being trapped in a museum after dark with all of those flesh-searing lines hovering around you. Maybe you say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing, a lot. Maybe even most of the time! But, if you know - deep beneath the flesh of convention, taxes and time - that this chance encounter of bodies and buoyant, blip-in-the-universe humanity is yours, together, to slip into for a good while longer...you talk. Maybe that talking leads to not talking for a long time. Maybe that talking leads to talking to other people. Maybe those other people make you feel a little bit better about not talking to the person who, once, made you feel a lot, all-the-way, I-can-do-anything kind of better. Maybe that's wrong. But maybe, that's life.
So then, you learn. And talk. And just maybe, it all falls into place again.
It’s why when, I came across a photo of my all-the-way-better person standing with his arms around another woman, a woman who had no idea I existed, my heart sank. It’s why when I saw him kiss her lips, mine drew inward...tucked under my teeth, scared. It’s why when, I saw them wearing each other’s clothes, meeting each other’s family and holding each other’s hearts, I stopped talking, for a while. But I didn’t let it break me. At first, I didn’t even cry.
Because, sometimes, like funny stars, we spin away from orbit. We retrograde, plodding our scared bodies backwards to look in other directions, to distract ourselves from a struggle that we know we must face. We want, like the great explorers of our time, to see the other side of the moon - the what-ifs, the Instagram goggles. We want a taste of the metallic, we want to be bad. We want, at least, to lock lips with the frozen goalpost of truly fucked up shit, because without it, how do we know who we are not? How do we know anything?
I cannot ever pretend I own the life, the path, the heart, of another person. Even if they want me to believe it, even if they stand before me, heart in hand, begging for me to accept it as my own, I will not say yes.
At most, a beautiful love is comprised of two distinct people living in a sometimes shared space. In true love, the lens is like a viewfinder that looks a lot like a venn diagram; sometimes shared, sometimes so distant that it feels like you live on two different planets and that your eyebrows will never unfurrow themselves.
So, my youthful, uncertain, still-growing advice - keep going.
We do not know what all of this is, just yet. We do not all slip into love flawlessly and we do not find our happy spot without a lot of fucking scratches, first. Do not look to Instagram for a template on how to live. Do not believe your parents just met and got married and didn’t see some shit. Do not believe that life, down to the true core of it, is a game.