Falling in love is so easy. So damn easy. It’s acknowledging it that’s difficult for me. I don’t want to admit to myself that by saying that I am in love, I would be willingly putting myself in a vulnerable position. But, you know what’s harder than falling in love? Being in love. That shit is hard. Being in love is work. I have been in a relationship now for eight years this coming September*. And I will be the first one to tell you that relationships are hard….AF. And please do not get this twisted that I am unhappy in my relationship, because that could not be further from the truth. This relationship has taught me some of the toughest lessons of my life…in the best way possible.
My love taught me compassion in the face of hate. This is not a cliché. I promise you that. When I say we had people trying to tear us apart from the moment we made our relationship official, I am not exaggerating that. People wanted us to fail from that first moment. There was always someone who wanted to step in and give their unsolicited opinion on our relationship. This ranged from a random passing through acquaintance to family members. The love I felt for her taught me to take those people and their ideology, and understand that their lack of understanding of “us” meant nothing. Reread that out loud if it didn’t stick, I meant to write that exactly how it is. They can’t touch us. We were and are stronger than them and their ignorance. It taught me to put myself in a space where I was able to hear the criticism, and start a conversation with those who did not accept us and help change ideas and conventions. If not THE world’s then MY world’s. My love taught me to have open conversations with those who I did not necessarily agree with and we managed to exist in the same space. That means something. Especially today in a world where everyone is ready to crucify someone over each other’s differences.
My love taught me patience. Each individual is different from any other human being that inhabits this world. As it so happens, each unique person has their own way of existing. We have our habits and those pesky little things that irk us. And when we put those irks and habits in the same room with someone who stands on the opposite sides of those same habits and irks, things get…. not so pleasant. It requires a lot of patience to accept that about the other person and work towards a middle ground. I still struggle with it from time to time. I’m probably as stubborn as people can come, so compromise is not one of the easiest qualities for me to come by. But, we do it.
Loyalty. I have always been a loyal person. Maybe to a fault. But, she taught me loyalty on a whole new plane. We are not perfect. We will be the first ones to call each other out for our stupidity. But, this person right here, nothing can touch this. We got together in high school. A few months into the relationship, we declared that we were engaged. When I look back at that, I can’t help but to get a kick out of it. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We were so young and naïve. As mentioned earlier, we had so many people just expecting us to fail and get over this phase. We talk about it from time to time how, because so many people were against the relationship, we very literally became, “Us against Them.” We told ourselves, no one is ending this. No one.
It almost became a question of pride. I feel sometimes when things would get bad between us, we would stick it out, because it felt like we had to prove something. I know how that sounds. I don’t care. I’m glad we did. That wasn’t the healthiest of times in our relationship, but we got through it. It taught me loyalty to a whole new degree. We’re not going to sit here and preach to you that we’ve been solely us two. There have been others on different levels for both of us. Like I said, we started this journey together when we were children. It’s insane of me to expect to her to never think about someone else or vice versa. But, through it all, I know who I came home to. I know who she wanted to come home to. We aren’t perfect. We very literally grew up together. No one can shake my loyalty to my woman. We grew past that. I say to her all the time, it’s just me and you, no one else. I can’t sit here and promise you I won’t find someone else attractive and I know sure as hell that there are way more attractive people than myself out there. And I know feelings happen. It’s natural. We will get through that too. We have our loyalty to each other and we have better communication bars than all the phone companies combined…even in dead zones.
Now we are in a space that is so different from our past. It’s us two against the world, but in the best way possible now. There is no one else. Something speaks to me as I write this. It feels very light and pure and untouchable. I feel it in my core. It tells me that there will be no one else in this way. It’s not about survival any more. It’s about growth and nurturing now. Love is hard. For us, it’s never been easy. At times, it was us making this difficult, at times it was the world, but through it all we survived and now we grow. This is a forever journey.
***For all the triggered people out there, who say that this is nothing compared to 10 years, 20 years, a lifetime together, well great. I’m looking forward to those milestones. Just because we’re young, doesn’t mean we don’t have our experiences. You got anything negative to share, there’s a comments section, go ham.