|At a wedding this weekend.|
At 17, I found my high school sweetheart and loved him as desperately as I knew how. I gave him everything I thought I had and I really wanted to. Really wanted to love him, keep him, keep the fairy tale love story I was so lucky to chance upon, the love story that had to have been fated all along. The fairy tale love story I grew up on in cartoons, movies, songs, and books. The fairy tale love story of boy meets girl, boy chases girl, boy and girl fall in love and live forever after in a fiery blaze of excitement, romance, and perpetual courtship.
Somewhere in this whirlwind cocktail of red flowers and rose-colored glasses, however, is a thin but uncompromising thread of deception. I cried that night with Daniel, some four years after my first love experience, because I have been deceived by the fairy tales of our society and culture. And he has been, too. Perhaps we have all been deceived so I cried that night when a burst of untapped or misplaced energy revealed to me what I have feared true the whole time: The fairy tale love story is dead.
“But,” I tell Daniel, “There is still a story and there is still love—everlasting love—out there for all of us. It is just not what we think it is.” Just like that, I was released from my jaded trance of white knights and white picket fences and for the first time, lying on the dirty green carpet of Daniel’s apartment, I felt fully exposed, my mind, body, and spirit completely naked to the world.
I don’t know what it was, the absurdly late hour we were up or the hypnotic throb of Led Zepplin’s music playing on the laptop, but that was the night the fleshed-out truth of human relationships stared me in the face so hard I just could no longer deny how I have always pursued the impossible love story. And I looked at Daniel, my dear guy friend who has never quite been the boyfriend, and confessed with great relief, “I have never been in love before.”
|If we would just wear our hair the same way, Carly and I could still be twins.|
“I know,” he comforts me. “Here, take this pen. I got it at my Bar Mitzvah and it is a very special pen to me. I want you to use it to write down everything you know and feel about love right now.” He hands me his sacred pen, its ink cylinder encased in alternating slivers of red and green wood, and tells me to keep it for as long as it takes for me to write my story.
In what I could only describe as a mystical and magic moment, my soul connected with Daniel’s and I felt closer to him than I have ever in the seven years I have known him. Not in a sexual or even friendship sort of way but as if we were two orbs of light stripped of every physical attribute that make us human. Looking at our reflection in the mirror, these glowing embers densely composed with stories of the past, present, and all the possibilities and hopes of the future, I discovered in us this universal desire for companionship, understanding, and love.
The love story between two souls is so much deeper, richer, and complex than any fairy romance has us believing and it is our individual destiny to be able to find and keep the partner we will share the rest of our lives with on this earth. Our consumption with love, our never-ending quest to capture those fleeting moments of lust, desire, and intimacy, blinds us to what it truly means to have a relationship with someone. Because sometimes when we want something really badly, we lose sight of what it is. A forgiving and compromising relationship that inspires, soothes, and builds us up as people, not a romantic situation that has us love sick like drug trip gone wrong.
I went to visit Daniel in San Diego from my place in Los Angeles because at the young age of 21, I was already terribly heaving and hung over from my misadventures in love. Because like everyone else, I too craved all the buzz from a good love fix without any understanding or clarity on what it is I am honestly after. I went to visit an old friend because—yet again—I found myself caught in a tight spot between several men, leaving me part broken-hearted, part confused, and 100% jaded. How is it that I have so quickly turned from a bight-eyed and hopeless romantic into a fallen warrior in the battle of love over the course of a few short years?
I needed a good drink and even better answers, and that night with Daniel, I got both. In brief but powerful moments where I literally felt like I had slipped into another realm that gave me the eyes to see myself from a third-party perspective, I saw this victim in the myth of the fairy tale love story and desperately wanted to tell her, “True love is out there, but it is not quite what you have made it out to be in your head.” Sensing my state of revelation and wanting to capitalize on the moment, Daniel bestowed his special pen to me and told me to start putting on paper everything I was spewing out of my mouth, my urgency in sharing my story hot within me like a blistering burn.
By daylight, I had come up with the bones of a book in five messy pages: What is true love, why we are all chasing love, and what is and should be what we are really after. But my spontaneous exploration of the inner workings of the human heart and soul read like an angsty teenage diary so after typing it all out on my computer, I simply saved the document and didn’t look at it again for another two years.
Until this morning.
A lot has changed since then...in some ways the fairy tale is even more dead for me now but with the love story I have with Patrick and King, maybe this once upon a time of finding love in the real world is even better.