So something you should know about me is that I am a sucker for romance. I really am. It may not seem like it in public, and the display of affection might not be plastered all over signs and posters, but alas, I am in love with love.
As a little girl growing up, I would watch Sleeping Beauty. Over, and over, and over again. You see, I’m not going to place all the blame on the beloved “true love’s kiss” for setting the bar so high for my idea of love, but it definitely plays a part. As I watched the infamous Disney princess movies, of the prince charming, saving the damsel in distress, I started to notice a pattern that existed between the girl and guy.
The pattern goes a little something like this:
Man and woman meet. Man courts woman using the utmost chivalry in his bones to test the waters. Woman then decides her feelings about the man. Man asks to see woman. Again, then again. They see each other close to everyday at this point. Great. Man finds himself alone with woman, where he gently gazes into her eyes, grabs her, and kisses her. Things are definitely heating up now. We have now escaped the friend zone at this point. Man and woman then find they enjoy this kissing thing they do. Man and woman now kiss all the days of the week. Twice to three times a day. Lots of kissing. They enjoy kissing so much, that they decide they want to do it for the rest of their lives. Man asks woman to marry him. She says “yes!” without hesitation. Man and woman soon have approximately 2.5 children to satisfy the planet’s scarcity/growing population/etc. Man and woman live happily ever after. The end!
Quite the pattern huh? This pattern has been formulated over many years of observing relationships. I’m no doctor, but that’s how it goes for the most part, does it not? I mean come on, I definitely did not have the brain capacity as a toddler to understand any of it. But does the pattern actually exemplify an accurate depiction of “true love?” What is true love? How do I get it? How do I know I have it?
The questions rolled through my head. Throughout middle school, and parts of high school, I was insecure to the fact that just maybe, I would never find love. Mom said, “we love you, Shannon and that’s all that matters.” Now Mom was soooo right about that (love you Kathleen). Having family love is a kind of love that goes deeper than your own being. I’m not going to say you’re born into it, but I will say your family can’t, for a lack of better words “unlove” you. I had a couple of boyfriends, who were very good guys, who came from great families, who treated me well, who I had tons of fun with, but who had never made me feel something different. These relationships eventually ended, with no harm done, but that’s how I knew it was not love that I felt for these people in the first place. This saddened me. I had this fixed pattern etched in my brain. I wanted it to happen to me. Why couldn’t I awaken from my innocent naivety with “true loves” kiss?
I’ve figured, that with more years lived, with more people observed, the answer to my questions had nothing to do with the pattern at all.
It came down to self-awareness. Throughout my young adult life, I have learned, it is so important to stay true to who you are. To know what you’re about. To be aware of your insecurities and strengths alike. I say this because if you don’t know who you are as an individual, how are you going to be comfortable loving, let alone knowing someone else? How are they going to be able to accurately assess who you are, if you don’t know yourself? It’s confusing. For everyone. It happens to be the underlying issue of today’s generation. We are constantly told what we should do. How we should do it. Who we should do it like. It takes away our individuality. Our spunk of finding ourselves and learning through our own experiences. The reality is, there is no possible, or 100% accurate comparison that can be made among individuals of the world. It’s simply because everyone is different.
Which brings me back to this so-called “pattern” I have formulated in my head about love. The pattern is, for the most part, accurate. But since every human being is different, we cannot pin point exactly what love should feel like. It’s a personal experience. No love is the same. I hate to sound like a broken record, but social media, and any type of media for that matter, glorifies a certain image of love. The way it should sound; the way it should look. Truth be told, we search for what love should look like. Or to quote the film, Perks of Being A Wallflower, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” We formulate a plan of how to achieve that type of love. But that’s just not natural, now is it?
Love shouldn’t be forced. If two people enjoy each other, for whatever reason or reasons that may be, that’s a starting point. But love is so much more than that. It’s intimate. It’s intense. It’s individual, but together.
I encourage you, to love naturally. I’m not going to go on a huge rant of how love should be or not be. But the most important part that I will tell you– you don’t have to do the searching. It should find you. Love takes no template. It just is, and when you find it, it’s truly glorious.