Sunday, Rallying Words Vol. 7
The piano leads the dance on Taylor Swift's "New Year's Day" as you waltz yourself to the line, "don't read the last page, but I stay, when you're lost, and I'm scared, and you're turning away."
I was sitting with a friend who was talking to me about dating when I commiserated with her that the dating game is hard. There aren't enough days between me and dating to have erased the memories of failed first dates, disappointing third dates, street corners in New York City that had felt my tears and utter exhaustion of another finance bro who slipped into the Murray Hill cliches all too well.
I admit that I'm further west in the city now. 10th Avenue saw me fall in love with my boy, but it has also seen its own string of missteps, tears, and words that struggled to get out for the sake of us both. It's why I followed my statement of how hard dating can be with how hard being in a relationship is. As my friend stared in awe that I had just said that relationships are hard, I realized that too many essays are about how exhausting dating can be, but not enough words are dedicated to how committing to a relationship calls for energy exerted by both parties.
Falling in love with someone is learning to dance with a partner in a world that's so often encouraged you to dance on your own. At times, it's pushing against the wind, at others it's being at peace standing your ground, even if you're standing alone. It's learning to love someone well by trial and error, some days by lots of error. There are beautiful moments, like when he leaves a room but comes back to kiss my forehead or when he sits at his computer and doesn't take a breath when explaining the nature of an edit to me. His movements are smooth, his words are purposeful, his presence is a reminder that for all the ways he is his own, he's also mine.
But those moments aren't born from sitting around and waiting for the relationship we want to just knock on our door. He's fought for me, I've fought for him. He's held my hand in the darkest moments when trusting a future that was bright and happy was too hard for me to imagine. He learned to project our future onto walls so that standing in my own way was no longer my only option. There was also the option of a home with him. On those nights when he comes off incredible highs and the adrenaline from his life is still pumping in his veins and the quiet is too hard to handle, I've had to learn to fill silences purposefully and with a brand of love that fits him.
We've both had to learn to step outside of our own experiences, to learn to be a team.
Relationships are hard, whether you're investing in a relationship with yourself or into one with someone else. Don't let someone else discredit that the hard, the fight, the staying when it's scary and unknown, is in any way indicative of a relationship you need to give up on. It isn't. You'll know the signs of when lines are crossed into the unhealthy, but there is such a thing as a healthy fight - it's called love. It's called giving yourself enough room to learn to love well by giving yourself permission to not always get it right. It's accepting that intentionally walking on the path of trying to get it right is oftentimes the best place to be.