[This article was originally published on Lelu’s blog]
I think I am destined to fall in love with every human I meet. And yes, one can also fall into platonic love. That first obvious dawning of brilliant light inside their soul, similar to yours but unique at the same time. Witnessing their love for those around them and feeling utter delight when they extend that same love to you. They are bright, shiny, full of contagious new life, it’s only been three months but you would be their emergency contact and more in a heartbeat if need be. You were unaware there was room in your life for the unknown yet here they are, feeding parts of your soul with astounding precision and a vibrancy that leaves you captivated with each interaction. You had no idea there was even free space in your soul to fill. But they knew because they saw your naked spot and started coloring. All of this can take place inside a conversation. And on the rare occasion, inside a moment of eye contact. I live for this first step in the process of human interaction. It is one of my favorite things about being human.
From the start my love was strong, constant, unyielding. I made my first friend at the tender young age of five and I remember wanting nothing more than to be her friend forever. And so it was with everyone who entered my life thereafter. The trials never mattered to me. We were born to water each other’s hearts the best way we knew how. We were good at this. We kept us alive. From an early age I was prepared for many things: my baby teeth falling out, the knowledge that my schoolwork became more challenging with every grade, my crimson wave. What I was not prepared for however was the idea that loved ones were often temporary. My first experience with letting go happened during my first year attending a real school in Gr.11. Re-occurring bouts of social drama ended a friendship I had treasured for most of my life. Meanwhile I was in the midst of a rebirth. Graduating high school. Exiting my teen years. Why couldn’t I take her with me? I secretly mourned her absence for the next three years, reaching out whenever I could, feebly grasping at substance I could no longer find. Losing a good friend feels like a death of sorts, and for years I felt embarrassed at the thought of voicing those feelings, so I pushed them away. I hail from a family of lone wolves. My parental vessels journeyed from two different parts of the globe to fall in love and birth me. The friends they kept were few but worthy. I hopefully looked forward to that part of my life, however I was still not well-versed in the art of letting go. And so I pushed those feelings far away in hopes they would never find me. But they returned, this time with lessons.
My life is knit from a painfully long series of rebirths that have opened the floodgates to new acquaintances, family and friends. From being home schooled until mid-high school, to attaining my music teacher certificate at 16 years old, to my first serious relationship, to a jarring few years at university, to emerging into the Toronto art scene as a visual artist, to becoming an active member of the city’s artist community via The Remix Project, to experiencing my father’s swift exit from this world and all it came with, to discovering and marrying my soul-mate, and to eventually landing a job position I was proud to claim, my rebirths have spanned the boundaries of time and space. I have prepared for many chapters and entered many doorways, each with the genuine but borderline naive hope that these would finally be the humans I would be allowed to take with me through this world and the next. Wishful thinking perhaps, but a very possible reality in my eyes. I loved earnestly and passionately, utilizing resilient effort during the high points if not more during the lows, but even when separations occurred a heads-up was rarely on the table. I have lived on this planet for almost a quarter of a century, and have only recently gained closure as to the why of all the comings and goings that once seemed so mysteriously alarming at times.
Here is a list of my personal findings regarding why ourselves and others may fall short of our human connections. I additionally combined these with some pointers that may guide those looking to expand their human connection skills.
- Love without expectation. This can be trying and painful to learn, but will save you mounds of heartache once mastered.
- Many humans are simply not capable of feeling deeply. Their life experiences up to this point may not have nurtured their ability to feel beyond the surface, and they are simply unaware of how necessary this trait is in the grand scheme of relationships. If you are a vulnerable soul, a natural softy, celebrate that fact and use it to your advantage. You have the ability to connect with everyone you touch in an intimate way that very few can.
- Before the age of 25, and sometimes after it, most humans are still learning themselves, therefore many friendships/relationships during these years can be temporary. Being an old soul, this one would’ve helped me immensely had I realized it. Don’t expect timeless love from age mates during these years. At this point in life, most humans are still shuffling their priorities through a balancing scale.
- Most humans are seasons. Someone you need in one season may not necessarily be who you need in your next season. If you look back on your life you may find that you were sent exactly who you needed for your various life phases. Isn’t it amazing how that works?
- You can feel the world for someone who does not understand your love language, and who may never care enough to learn your love language = not everyone who likes you will know how to love you. So it goes. Rid yourself of all emotional blinders and don’t expect an equal partnership, unless of course you encounter the rare occasion where they are willing to learn how to love you. Protect your heart.
- Not everyone who likes you will stay. This is okay. Most of the time this one will have nothing to do with you. Circumstances beyond your control may be fluctuating very differently in their life that cause them to drift and/or leave. My father’s death gave me my first real understanding of this concept.
- Some humans are simply not a good fit for you (anymore). Whether they no longer benefit your growth, or they repetitively exhibit destructive behavior patterns/personality handicaps that they refuse to acknowledge and work on, it may be time to lovingly sever the umbilical cord and keep stepping. These can be the most difficult type of humans to let go of because they’ve been around for a while and are usually unaware of all the heart trauma you’ve put up with on account of them.
- Coping mechanisms for letting go may include: keeping ex-loved ones at arm’s length in reality and on social media, listening to specific albums and songs that remind you what it’s like to be in their presence again (which can help to make you more comfortable with the fact that they’re gone), and venting to a highly trusted confidant about the fact that you’re not coping with letting go as well as you’d like to. Heal up buttercup, take your time. You can and will love again. The world needs you to.
- Some humans (ourselves included) need space to grow apart from you and the regular crowd. This is okay. Love them enough to let them go. They may return to you all the better for it.
- One of my absolute favorite quotes by the great Maya Angelou: Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. Love smart, love sensibly. Let the idea of love remain trustworthy.
- True love works for us, not against us. Let no confused spirit, no trifling simpleton, no wayward human tarnish this God-filled gift. True love is a gift to be given freely to all who thirst for it. Ask about it.
And there lies my personal account of a sensitive soul, letting go, and all the beautiful, melancholy mishmash that accompanies this glorious human connection we are constantly wound up in. It was vital that I arrive at a place of serenity and gratitude for everyone I’ve loved, lost, and found again in order to share the truths mentioned here. I eventually embraced my heart’s title of over-lover and pegged a tribe worthy of all the appreciation I shower them with. When newly acquired acquaintances are a darn near perfect fit for my heart it still gets attached (unbeknownst to me), except these days I never regret it and any lingering separation pain doesn’t ail me like it used to. I’m no longer afraid of change. I’m no longer afraid of letting go. I’m no longer afraid of the unknown. All the humans that accompanied the many seasons of my life helped shape the mind and soul of this letter you now read. And that concept, in and of itself, is a wondrous thing.
Dear Recovering Undercover Over-Lover,
We are our own kind.