I used to think that love was easy. You love someone and they love you back and lookie here, we love each other. Elementary dear Watson.
I'm noticing lately (it's only taken me 32 years...) that love isn't quite that naive. Love is really fucking complicated. I'm noticing lately how enigmatic each and every single, solitary relationship is.
Let's start with friendships. It's an inherent human trait for people to fuck up. Sometimes, royally fuck up. We make mistakes. We tell each others secrets. We fight. We argue and bitch and moan and pity ourselves. We let ourselves forget about the fun. We make up reasons not to call. We walk out without saying Goodbye and we forget to say I love you. We get busy in our lives, with our jobs, with our families, with our own fun. We get high and mighty. We let tension bubble beneath the surface wondering how to squash it, but not taking the effort to just talk about it. We walk on eggshells instead.
Why do we do this?
Because building and maintaining relationships is by far the most labor-intensive mission we can engage in. Anyone can fix a car, or cook a meal, or plant a garden - given the right instruction and preparation. But it takes mindfulness, diligence and perseverance to maintain a healthy relationship. Friendships are the tenderest, most vulnerable of all. I've thought about this. I have to have a relationship with my family; they are after all - MY FAMILY. My husband and I must work things out - we have a marriage to consider and kids to nurture. But friends - well they come and go... Right? Not exactly. True friends, in my experience, are hard to come by. Trusting someone completely and allowing myself to be a trusted source is hard work.
The relationship I have with my best friend is without a doubt an exception to the rule of casual acquaintances. We've known each other our entire lives. We've loved each other longer than we've had boobs. She broke my toes pumping me on the back of her bike. I ate her cooking before it could be considered food. She stole my boyfriends and then gave them back. Despite our history, our relationship is still really, really fucking complicated. We walk on eggshells. We tell each others secrets. We make mistakes and in general just fuck stuff up. On the other hand, we are both 100% committed to each other. No matter what happens, we can't fathom the thought of not being friends anymore; and trust me, there have been some tense, awkward, curse-word-filled moments in our 28 years of loving one another.
Family relationships are only slightly different. No matter how much our family members hurt us, desert us, crush our dreams, make us sad, mad, looney tunes - we love each other because we just do. Because when I was a 10 year old girl my younger brother beat someone up to protect me. Because my Daddy bought me a gold bracelet for Christmas - just from him. Because my Mom saw the hickeys on my virginal 15-year old throat and didn't berate me, but instead talked to me about my body and my own sexuality and the power that lay within. My family relationships are sometimes the hardest to maintain for this very reason. They know it all.
It seems lately that I'm constantly balancing a fine line of utter contentment and absolute upheaval in my relationships. Not the I'm-Never-Talking-To-You-Again-EVER kind, but more of the Don't-Call-Me-I'll-Call-You state of peril. How do we constantly arrive at this state of woe? How do we forget about our issues and arguments in the amount of time it takes to hear bad news? How do we run to comfort the ones who make us the angriest?
Because relationships and love in general is complicated.
But, it's so very worth it. I wouldn't trade the emotions and feelings that I share with those I love for anything in the world.
Yep, I just figured this out...