“George, it’s not that it was hard to believe, I wasn’t ready to believe. Nothing I had met in that world had prepared me for your possibility”- Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
Sometimes life surprises you, Zoe. Actually, often life surprises you. Just when you think that it’s spring, you get a doozy of a snowfall in April (here’s looking at you-know-who-you-are who changed his snow tires already!). Just when you think Gilmore Girls will never be back on tv, Netflix announces 4 extra special Stars Hollow-filled movie length episodes. Just when you think your wee girl will love bacon (who doesn’t?!), she passes it over for olives and goat cheese (actually not so surprising at all).
But those surprises are easy to handle: pull out the winter boots (that you don’t ever officially put away until at least June); hunker down on the couch with a cozy blanket and your favourite GG for a Gilmore Girl-fest; and stock up on goat cheese (hold the bacon) at the farmer’s market.
But some surprises? Some surprises throw you for a complete loop, because they’re just so far out of the realm of possibility that not only do you not have the extra goat cheese, but you don’t even know where the closest farmer’s market is located to pick some up.
And sometimes, life tosses you a curve ball in the form of perfectly imperfect genuine heartfelt love, and it is so outside your own personal realm of possibility that you might not know what to do. It is so far from what you’ve been expecting in your life that you’re left scratching your head as you laugh until your belly aches while dancing all over the crumbs on your kitchen floor with the one who has cracked your heart wide open.
Will it be scary at times? Absolutely, 100% without a doubt. Will it be perfect? Nope. Life isn’t perfect and neither is love. It will be messy, guaranteed. How could it not, because the beauty of life and love is found knee-deep in the muck. Will you be ready? Who knows…but I do know that we’re often more ready than we feel we are, and maybe less ready than we think we are. I also know that “being ready” or “not being ready” do not seem to matter with important things like love…because love creeps in when it is ready for you.
Almost two summers ago, I wrote to you about love. About how you are the star of your own love story. About how supporting players will come (and maybe go); about how there will always be another supporting character who will come along and join in your love, but there is only one You.
What I didn’t write about, Zoe, is how to know if the person who comes dancing along into your life is worthy of a supporting role.
First of all, are they dancing? And do they come equipped with rubber boots for wading through (and hopefully later splashing in) the rain?
Do they listen to what you have to say without judgment, even and especially if your words make you or them feel vulnerable or afraid? Do they trust you to listen to what they have to say, too, holding it close to your heart?
Do they respect the things you cherish, even if they don’t fully understand why (for example, your kitchen chairs that you painted kelly green and the glitter-dipped feathers that you hung on your wall)?
Do they pass the friends/family test: do you want to introduce them to your nearest and dearest and do you want to meet theirs?
Do they give you space to be yourself, loving you simply because you are you, never asking you to change but holding your hand if (when) you do experience growing pains (which inevitably happen when you are in a solid, substantial and loving relationship, be it with yourself or with another)?
Do you laugh, often and lots, until your belly aches and your cheeks hold permanent smile creases, reminders of the last words they said that made you smile?
I could go on and on and on, dearest girl, but I hope you will notice what’s missing from this list: the fancy cars or big houses or classic good looks or impressive profession or stereotypically attractive body or influential friends in high places. Flash is all well and good for Hollywood, but you want substance, through and through.
The long and short of it, my dear girl, is do you trust them with your heart? Do you want to hold their heart, too?
You will know, deep in your bones, when you’ve met your perfect (for you) match, at that moment, in that space and time. And just because it’s completely outside the realm of anything you could have ever imagined–because maybe love hasn’t been in your world ever before or maybe it has appeared already and you thought that you only had one chance at love–doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible, either for the first time or again and again. Nor does it mean that you don’t deserve it. On the contrary: we all do, just because we’re here, on this planet. So believe in it. And be sure to stock up on extra goat cheese and maybe some bacon, just in case (*and they may not like olives…but that just means more for you).