Why must you love someone enough to let them go?

Oh sweet, dear blog, how totally adorable of you to think that I MUST do anythibg. You see, Internet, I have learner over the last ten months that there is nothing that I must do other than provide for, and care for, my beloved family.

For this reason I deem your question false. Nothing dictates that I absolutely must let my loved ones goes. I suppose I have always taken the expression to be aggressive : one forcing ones loves ones out due to some intrinsic belief that they will eventually be better off.

Tonight I lay awake half insomniac, half anxiety ridden fiend, listening to my lovely husbands breathing. Over the last few weeks I would have been a mess without him and his support ; a complete mess. As a result of this I take offence that I would assumedly “let him go “. I hate to be contrary but there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keel this man beside me right now…

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What is the difference between falling in love and being in love?

Love is a difficult topic to write about. It’s hard because it’s nearly impossible to verbalize, and almost certainly different for every single person. Also, I personally feel that people that write about love as though they know what’s best sound conceited, self-important, and invariably detached from the reality of other people.

That being said, several questions on this list revolve around the topic of love, and so it is time to tackle the topic head on. And so I am writing with an obvious focus on what is true for my life, my marriage, and the limited knowledge that I have of other people’s relationships.

Falling in love, for me, is infuriatingly easy. I am a product of the 1990’s, of the Richard Curtis generation of Romantic Comedies, and the generation where paupers become princesses. I also grew up knowing a great deal of love: love from my family, love from my friends, and love from the community that I grew up in. Love was a constant in my life, I never felt the absence of it, nor the need to seek it out. I also saw many young girls in my high school getting pregnant, but never really talk about “love”. Sex was the appeal in my high school class, not romance, but I always felt connected with the notion of recreating some epic, literature-worthy affair of the heart. I easily found out that teenage boys are easy to create romance around, they are blank canvases that allow themselves to become pictures of whatever we girls want them to be.

It’s easy to love as a teenager, because falling in love is about hope, and need, and fear. As an eighteen year old setting off for college I was full of hope and full of fear, I was also in need of comfort and security – so I took my high school boyfriend with me and he was my transition, and I his. Once we settled into a “new life” we gave each other up amicably: there was never any question about ever trying to retain anything past the hope and fear and need.

Fast forward ten years and I’m married – just past our four year anniversary – and I think that I fell in love with my husband for the same reasons as that first boyfriend: I was in a period of huge change, and he represented all of the hope, he calmed all of the fears, and he fulfilled all of my needs . He was a constant. In fact, the period of change that I was going through lasted several years, through our courtship, engagement, and marriage. I believe that however much we protested we were already “an old married couple”, we were still falling in love past our first anniversary.

In fact, in the years we have been married there have been periods when I have felt that we have fallen even more in love – we are currently going through one of those periods – and they all hinge around a trying time, a moment when one of us is scared, hopeful, or in need. I think that falling in love doesn’t happen once, I think that it happens cyclically, and that being in love is the quiet and patience between the “falling”, and the trust and faith that the cycle will repeat.

Of course, I have explained this theory to my friends in the past, and I don’t know that anyone has ever 100% agreed with me. I think my theory scares people as it suggests that marriage is only made strong through challenges – I know a lot of people feel as though the best marriages are a calm and tideless sea. Like I said – love is such a personal thing, and I have no business speaking on behalf of other people or trying to counsel them to my way of thinking. But for me, and for my marriage, I think that this is how I would define the difference between falling in love and being in love.

What are you Uncertain About?

Uncertainty: the birthright of my generation. I could probably start a list of the things that I’m uncertain about, and never finish it because I’m forever adding things. I’m generation Y – as in “why does everybody seem so calm, can’t they see the sky is falling?”. We’re neurotic. I blame the fact we we raised watching 90’s TV shows where everything was colorful and everyone got along – I’m currently watching Ally McBeal on Netflix – and then we graduated into this “real world” and, frankly, it terrifies us. We’re delicate and unprepared: I mean, did anyone ever get murdered on friends? Now every time I turn on the TV there’s someone dead in a dumpster and some gravelly voiced woman muttering terrible philosophies on life.

I digress from my point. Another hazard of our generation. Digression, procrastination, and confusion. My actual subject matter today is about children, and whether or not I want children, and all of the complexities that go along with it. As most people have gathered from my blog, my “babies” are my two dogs – I don’t have any of hairless, squawking kind. But I challenge any 27 year old married woman to deny the fact that no matter how resolved you are in every aspect of your life, if you don’t have children there is an unspoken judgement from the rest of the world.

I can hear people laughing – mainly men – stop it! My husband thinks I’m crazy. That’s because when people meet him for the first time the most in depth their conversation gets is “so what car do you drive”, or on very rare and intimate moments “seen any bands lately”. When I meet someone for the first time I am immediately “scanned”. I have developed this term to define the process in which a woman views another woman. Imagine the full body scanner that caused so much panic earlier this year (FYI – been through it and it’s not a big deal, I expected them to shower me off with radioactive waste or something), only this body scanner is done with one long gaze. These women scan you for wedding rings (check), baby weight (I could be confusing in that area) and diaper bags. My small leather clutch is a ten foot billboard declaring my lack of offspring. And then come the questions, normally posed in the following way: “how long have you been married?” “Oh really, and you don’t have children yet?” (I can feel the smugness radiating from their Sherlock Holmes like deduction of my attire). And then they wait for my response.

I used to shy away from answering these questions, or at least squirm uncomfortably in my shoes. Now I say “Well, we have two dogs that are our babies, I don’t know if we’ll have children”. And I promise that the unanimous response to this question is: “well, if you have dogs then you’ll have children eventually”. Like it’s a fact. Even when I wail that I’ll probably be a terrible mother (I have actually dropped a baby in my life), my friends console me with “no you won’t, look at how much you love your dogs”.

Yes, I love my dogs. I really love my dogs. I love my dogs almost too much – last night I actually slept without my required three pillows because Batman had nested on top of them and I didn’t want to wake him. But that doesn’t mean I’m mother material. I have run out in front of traffic for my dogs, I have extracted things from their bottoms, I have cleaned up literally gallons of hound-emissions. My dogs ate my favorite pair of shoes, and when I replaced them they ate the replacements, and I wasn’t even that angry. Yes, I dress them up in sweaters when it’s cold, and there may be special halloween outfits in our closet; and, yes, I let them sleep in the bed with me; and, yes, I carry them around in my arms and tell them I love them ALL of the time. This makes a crazy dog person, it’s doesn’t mean I am practicing at parenthood.

I love my dogs because they are dogs. They aren’t going to grow up and call me names and say they wished they’d never been born, or get some pregnant by some guy with a lip ring and a fake phone number. They’re definitely not going to run up a credit card bill, or get arrested trying to buy alcohol underage. I’m not going to have to endure seeing them start their own lives without me. I admire anyone that has the courage to bring another life into this world, and is strong enough to go through the rollercoaster of crazy that having children brings into your life. I especially admire people that are so certain of their decision at such a young age – but that’s not me.

The “children” debate is one that has been on the table for a long time, and I’m still not sure of the answer to it. Truthfully, I wish I had more clarity on the situation, so that I least I could start working towards that end goal, but I don’t. Some of my friends have advised me to force the issue and make a decision and try and “grow into it”, but I think it should be an organic thing.

So, other than questioning my hair color, my favorite food, the maximum justifiable amount to spend on shoes, and whether or not to paint my dining room, I would say this is the biggest uncertainty in my life at the moment. But one thing I’m certain of is this: getting asked if you’re “next” when someone get’s pregnant is actually kind of creepy – stop it, people, I’m more than a uterus. I also have really good hair.

Would you break the law to save a loved one?

This question astounds me, simply because I struggle to conceive of an answer other than “of course”. Now, I’m not saying I would break EVERY law to save a loved one, or that I think it is right to break the law to save a loved one. I’m just saying I would do it. Just like jumping into a river to save a someone that is drowning – as a proficient swimmer I would know the risks associated, but every fibre of my body would throw me into that water. I couldn’t just sit and watch someone drown, I would honestly rather die trying to save them.

The idea of breaking the law to “save” a loved one is an interesting one. I’m assuming the questions is really designed around the concept of killing or hurting someone that is threatening a person that you care about, rather than, say, crossing a street illegally to tell a friend they are about to fall down a manhole. But then, acting in self defense isn’t actually a crime. So I think I’d need further clarification on exactly what thoughts – I’d be interested in other peoples opinon. What laws do you imagine having to break to save a loved one?

Beyond that, there isn’t really anything else I can say, except that I would do anything possible to save someone that I care about. I would also, I imagine, suffer from a terrible vengeful streak should the time arrive. I have no pretences of a Robin Hood style role for myself – I would probably turn myself over to the police if I were to do something like that. But if anyone did anything to take my family away from me, I would happily do the time in prison. My husband doesn’t think that I would actually think this way in that situation, but I’m pretty sure I would. He doesn’t have siblings, he doesn’t “get” it.

I think that, as a person, I would be so damaged if I stood by and watched something terrible happen without trying everything within my power to aid or resist it. The people that I love sustain who I am, and contribute to my sanity, peace of mind, and outlook on society. If someone takes that away from me, I’m a goner anyway.

Of course, I am saying all of this at a point in my life when I have no dependents (except the hubs, but I’m sure he could survive without me…. just). I know that those people fortunate enough to have children would probably approach this differently – that anything that risks jeopardising their life, freedom, or health would be an impossible option. Their choice is keeping the law to save and protect loved ones. It’s a similar responsibility.

I really am interested in other people’s responses to this question. Maybe it’s not so black and white to everyone else – I’ve been accused to incredible recklessness in my life, so maybe this choice is one that wouldn’t make sense to other people.

 

incidentally, adding tags to this post made me laugh my head off: Crime, Murder, Illegal, and Revenege were all added. I hope I’m not on some watch list now)

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?

Interesting question. I am going to interpret the question to mean something along the lines of: how old a life are you living?

As a society we are constantly looking at aging celebrities, college friends, family members and thinking “that person needs to grow up”. When I was a teenager I was often told I was “responsible”; I always knew exactly when and what time I would be meeting people, or which bus I would be on coming home. These were the pre-mobile-phone days, where definite plans needed to be made and adhered to. In college I kept a list of emergency numbers with me at all times, always completed my coursework at least 24 hours before the deadline, and, although I liked to go out and have a good time, rarely stayed out all night. I wasnot the type of person that needed to grow up, if anything, I needed to “grow down”.

When I got engaged at the tender age of 21 my mother said she wasn’t surprised that I’d gotten engaged so young. This fascinated me – the hubs and I had barely been dating six months, and I had always expressed the intention to not get married before thirty. But, looking back, I was always racing towards the idea of domestic bliss. I think I’ve always wanted to know exactly what the future looks like – I’m not spontaneous, and I’ve even been known to read the end of books first so as to know what I’m working towards. I feel comforted by knowing what the outcome is going to be. This is how I have been my entire life. I used to tell my friends that my ideal was “the four M’s – middle aged, married, post-menopausal, with a mortgage”. I remember how they would shriek in horror, professing that I must be crazy, and couldn’t imagine a life like that. Back then, I found that hard to believe – how did anyone not find that appealing on some level? the normality of it? the comfort.

However, now I am married and with a mortgage, approaching early middle age (twenty seven is my dreaded number, the age I’ve always feared, and it’s only a few weeks away), and with my biological clock firmly ticking (my doctor told me that “you just need to accept your body is slowing down” the other day). I think, on paper, most people would think the husband and I were in our late thirties. Walking round our home we have new furniture, carefully selected decor palettes, and all matching plates, mugs, and dishes. Last night we chose to stay home and eat soup rather than go out on the town!

How do I feel about it? Well, I alternate between loving it and thinking I’d trade it all in for the chance to backpack around the world. I think that everyone fears growing older once they’re actually doing it – especially as I’m doing it so much faster than my friends – because it doesn’t come with instructions. I don’t know how a person my age is “supposed” to act, or whether I’m doing a good job at it, but the only thing I can do is keep doing it and stay true to myself.

So today I am going to tackle the following questions in one response: Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? When you are 80 years old, what will matter most to you? And, when is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?

Well. I have been in the unique position of having to address all of these questions at one time on two separate occasions in my life. The first was making the decision to follow my heart and allow myself to be with the man that is now my husband, and the second occasion is my present day life.

The first time I had to weigh up these turmoils in my mind I had to wrestle the idea of having trans-atlantic relationship with a man I, realistically, didn’t know that well; leaving my family and my homeland; making myself employable and desirable in a foreign country; the impossible large idea (especially for a 20 year old) that this might be my biggest regret if I didn’t go for it, and maybe this person was the person for me. I was much more romantic back them, with my notions of soul mates and such. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good decision and I love the hubs, but nothing is ever as clear cut as a twenty-year-old literature lover can dream it to be.

And so now I’m on the flip side, faced with a familiar dilemma. I love Kansas City, I have friends here. I don’t love the crime, and I don’t love the distances between places, and I don’t love the work ethic. I don’t love the idea of raising children miles away from their only potential cousins, or in an environment where I’d have to hand them over to daycare at eight weeks. I’m not fortunate enough to afford the luxury of staying at home when the time comes. And, seven years later, I’ve never adjusted to being so far away from my home. So you see, dear internet, I’m in a predicament.

What do I do?

What I would like to do is pack up my husband and my hound and board a plane. Our friends have passports, they can travel. I don’t want to cause pain and upset to my inlaws my stealing their only son and, after all, these people have been my family for the last five years, I’d miss them too. But without them we have nothing here, and that’s the realization it has taken me years to reach.

I miss the sea. I don’t want to wake up at seventy years old and realise I’ve only seen the ocean a handful of times since I was in my twenties. I’m used to seeing it every day. I think it’s soulful – it’s a part of me.

I know all the arguments for staying, and all the arguments for going back to front and inside out. I know what my heart wants to do. Strangely, and probably something most people would doubt about me, I actuallywanted to come here and find it enough, and to be able to allow my husband to be the only thing that mattered to me. But I’m not a Victorian, my post-feminism, liberated backside has dreams and preferences and loves of it’s own, and signing them away with my marriage license didn’t happen.

And the hubs really isn’t set against moving; at least not most of the time. Really, he’s been very flexible in his opinions on subject, other than the occasional “Dammit, woman, I’m American and I need steak and beer every day” moment. His main fears are for his family.

This post isn’t really to seek answers to declare a resolution – I know that these questions are going to be conversations that we have for a LONG time – I just know it’s the only honest answer to these three questions, even if the answers aren’t really answers, but more questions.

What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

Sometimes it’s really hard to actually sit down and reflect upon all the things that I’ve done and achieved in my life. We live in a world where we always want more, always feel as though we should be more, or have more, or do more. It’s a race against ourselves, and normally a pursuit of pointless or meaningless things.

I am (nearly) 27 years old, and in my life I have been a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, an employee, a girlfriend, a fiancée, an immigrant, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a hound-momma, and a home owner.

In my life I have travelled the world, got a college degree, written a thesis, been published in a book, stayed close with my family and friends, bought my own home, married a fantastic man, planned a wedding, survived the immigration process, met several famous people, raised a bratty dog, got and kept a good job in a poor economy, learned how to style my impossibly curly hair, and read thousands of books.

In my life I have had the opportunity to do many wonderful things, meet many wonderful people, I have had the chance to own my own property, work for a living; I have had encouraging friends, a loving family, and good employers. I have 1400 square feet of Missouri to fill with things I bought new, and to allow my dog to run around in.

I have done, been, and had plenty of things in my life – it’s really hard for me to consider wanting more.