I heard a song in the car the other morning on my drive to work and was surprised at how strongly I reacted to it. I recently discovered, thanks to my awesome roommate, that there is a not-so-local country station that manages to come in fairly clear in our area. I was elated and, needless to say, hae been listening to this station ever since.
So the other morning a new love song came on; new to me, that is. I’m still playing catch up with the new country since I haven’t had local country radio for some time now.
The chorus is what really shook me.
“This life would kill me If I didn’t have you
I couldn’t live without you baby
I wouldn’t want to
If you didn’t love me so much
I’d never make it through
‘Cause this life would kill me
This life would kill me if I didn’t have you.”
My reaction also stands out to me: I will never feel that way again.
I didn’t say this to myself in a melancholy, “Le sigh…I won’t even have the opportunity to feel that away again way.” Rather it was more along the lines of, “I refuse to ever feel that way again.”
It was a defiant, “I’ve been through too much to ever feel that way again.” It was thought with certainty. I sort of did a double take at myself, a little “boing” bug-eyed what the heck thing with myself. I was shocked that I, ordinarily so girlie and a hopeless romantic, would have such a reaction. I was shocked that I wouldn’t want to feel that way again.
Disclaimer: I love Thompson Square. I love that they’re such a sweet, in love, talented duo. I love their music.
I find this whole situation to be less about wanting, and more about capability. I’m simply not capable of desiring, or even believing in, that right now. I grew so much through the heartbreak of my last relationship, one in which I was disgustingly co-dependant and needy, that I could never be the kind of person ever again to be “completed” by another person. My mom said to me, “Your partner should compliment you, not complete you,” when I was with my ex. I understood but didn’t feel that way. I felt like he completed me; like without him I was only a half, not a whole.
Gross. I will never feel that way again.
Maybe I won’t always be grossed out by what society has made into such a romantic notion, but I certainly doubt I’ll ever feel it again. I am becoming more and more of an independent woman as the days pass. While I look forward to a wonderful man someday coming into my life and complimenting it, I can’t help but wonder – have I grown too protective, dare I even utter the word “cynical,” for a balance of love and independence?
My answer right off the bat is no. No of course not. I haven’t a cynical bone in my body by nature, but I definitely am getting a taste of cynicism with these feelings I have right now.
It’s the lyrics resonating with me based on my [recent] experience that have provoked this essay. My ‘tude in response to the beautiful song tell me this: I am not ready for, interested in, or capable of a relationship at this space in my life. I am not even responding to ooey gooey romance right now! What the what?! I am a romantic, to the core, and I get the “flutteries” when I see precious couples out in the world, on the day-to-day; but I am feeling a bit distrusting of the whole “till death do us part.” I know, I know. The romantic inside me cringes as I type.
I am a child of divorced parents, albeit the cleanest most respectful divorce in the history of divorces (I’ve said to my parents that I think they truly kept their vows…supporting, loving and helping one another through thick and thin). I know people whose marriages are falling apart currently. I know people who are happily married, couples I could never fathom getting divorced; who could never fathom themselves getting divorced.
Is marriage really reasonable for every person? I’ve heard countless people say monogamy is unrealistic. It makes my stomach turn hearing that. I want to get married. I want to be loved unconditionally forever, for the rest of my life, by a man who compliments me perfectly and who brings such light to my life that I couldn’t imagine him not in it. I want that, someday. But I see so few people lasting “forever” on that beautiful journey. Both sets of my grandparents were married till one of them passed away. One set was married 70 years and the other 50. I think it says something about the generation, the dedication to a commitment and a vow that now lacks amongst my peers. I think it also says it is possible. More than anything, though, it says to me choose wisely.
I dream of getting married and having it last forever. But how can it not be scary when I have friends whose marriages are on the rocks, or ending, and who are facing the situation as one would any break-up. I mean, what else are they supposed to do? I’m just still unmarried, probably quite naive, and romantic to a fault, so I can’t exactly comprehend. I expect such a tragedy to be faced with the distress of someone who believes this person is their other half, that they can’t live without them, that “this life would kill them if they didn’t have _____.” I find myself surprised that people are able to still breathe and exist despite something so harrowing occurring in their lives. I say all this with utmost non-judgement, as I have literally NO way of placing myself in anyone else’s shoes, much less in a marital situation.
I think it’s movies and song lyrics that have me convinced that marriage ending is as bad as death. I’m sure some people face divorce this way; but is that a good thing? I don’t think so. Is it proof of true love to not be capable of disentangling one’s life from the life of one’s spouse or partner? I don’t think so.
I have friends, who I adore and respect, attributing marital problems and infidelity to things like their wife’s body not recovering quickly or well from childbirth and things not being quite the same after that, the two of them starting to view one another differently within in their spousal roles, so on and so forth. Retold events that, while I totally remain non-judging and loving in my role as a listening friend, I can’t help but be terrified by. I can’t help but hear it and think to myself, Oh dear God this could happen with my own future husband…I don’t know if I could face such uncertainty…
I don’t know if I could face such uncertainty.
I just said that. But how could that be? Isn’t all of life uncertain? I can stomach my distaste for codependence and “I can’t breathe or live without you” love, but I can’t stomach fear of uncertainty. LIFE IS UNCERTAIN! That, too, scares the bejeezus out of me. It does. Uncertainty, unpredictability, risk…my great foe. Aha, I’ve finally unlocked the mystery…
Uncertainty is my kryptonite.
But I want marriage, I want to fall in love, I want adventure and surprise and intrigue in my life. I want to love with all my heart. I just never want to be so reliant on a love that, if God forbid it ended, I weren’t left a whole person. Devastated, yes, but whole. Standing on two feet. Able to see through the clouds. I think being rooted in one’s own identity and only feeling reliant on one’s own Self love to “make it through” is the ultimate protection, an ultimate achievement of Self. I by no means mean protection in the sense of entering a marriage halfheartedly with one’s guard up; no, not at all. I mean as an act of Self preservation in life. Because, ultimately, we don’t have control over what happens. We have some control in our lives but the rest just happens, and it is our responsibility to make ourselves into the most stable, secure, cared for beings we can.
Uncertainty is my kryptonite. But it won’t always be. Of that I am certain. In my quest to become my most stable, secured, cared for Self, my discomfort with uncertainty will have to be faced. Conquered. It will have to be faced and conquered before I enter a serious relationship. In the meantime, fortifying that relationship with myself is what I have been doing and is what I will continue to do.
It’s a relief to get this all worked out, and perhaps you’ve even identified a kryptonite of your own in the process of reading this. I know that I will continue to turn up the volume of my country radio, sing along, and now bask in the clarity of my feelings and reactions towards certain lyrics.
Ironically, just before publishing this essay, I came across a Huff Post piece that moved me to tears. A love so pure and strong, the friendship that bred such a love, a husband’s photo essay of his wife’s battle with breast cancer.
Life is uncertain. It is uncertain as hell. But it can be so damn beautiful if we step away from fear. Uncertainty will be there, always; it will be looming in the corner, or overhead if we let it, and it could gobble us up whole if we let it do that, too.
Have faith. Faith is uncertainty’s kryptonite.
Have faith that life is beautiful and that it will continue to be beautiful. Have faith that life will be quirky and hilarious and terrifying and uncertain. Accept the uncertainty and douse it with faith. Have faith that, no matter who may come and go in your life, you will always love yourself enough to make it through.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”