It wasn’t until I met her that I could finally see myself.
There was never a script, a map—no list of rules and guidelines for how to love her. Although, I thought there would be.
I courted her like every other woman I loved. I showered her with pretty music and lovely poems. I shared my favorite things. I cooked her eggs in the morning after nights of holding her body as if I knew how to love her.
But I wasn’t prepared for her. A wild one. An untamable, unapologetic, chaotic force of a human.
It wasn’t her job to teach me anything about life or love or who I was, but through two years of having my young understanding of the world questioned, of having my foundation shaken and my strength tested, I learned things.
I was given an intense education of how to shut up and listen, because I didn’t know much and what I did know wasn’t serving me. I learned how to not just exist, but how to show up in the world with all my parts, all my baggage, all my light and shadows.
I learned how to love someone that kicked me off my rails time and time again, not because she wanted me to fail, but because she wouldn’t accept anything less than my best.
She wouldn’t let me hide.
She wouldn’t let me run.
She wouldn’t let me live a mediocre, seemingly easy life.
My wild one had a lifetime of struggles, wearing each one like a badge of honor. She wouldn’t let me forget about pain and grief and their importance. She was obsessed with movement. Enamored with evolution. She fought stagnation until her knuckles bled and the soles of her feet were raw.
Her anger scared me. Her joy elated me. When I saw the passion behind who she was and what she wanted, my instinct was to sink into a dark hole or consume her. She was magnificent and terrifying. She was everything at once.
I didn’t know if I should be loving her. I was looking at us through the lens of other people and thinking that we looked messy, unstable, wrong. While those things were absolutely true, what I didn’t see was that we were learning how to love each other through our disagreements, our scarred hearts, all the parts that didn’t fit perfectly.
We were never going to fit perfectly.
Loving someone who holds a mirror up to your dark parts—who knows their own dark parts well and isn’t afraid of them, who demands that you keep growing, keep moving, keep digging long after you think you’ve done enough—doesn’t look or feel perfect.
It hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It pushes you to a point of exhaustion of which most people are unfamiliar.
Then there’s that moment when you get to look with confidence into someone’s eyes and speak with an honesty you’ve never experienced, speak from a place of strength and not desperation, speak and know that your words are your truth.
In that moment you might come to say those three little words—I, love and you— and you might discover that they have a new power.
Loving a wild one means you see everything in them—everything they’ve ever done for selfless or self-righteous reasons, everything they want to become and everything that they’ll fail to be, every mark they’ve ever made on another person’s heart and every little scrape or knotty gash that marks theirs.
You see everything you are and everything they are, and you love them because of it. The wild ones won’t have it any other way.
The wild ones don’t exist to serve us. They are put here to work their magic, to highlight the deep, dark parts of the universe, to tap into something most people will never know about. And while they’re having all this fun, making all this ruckus, changing all the rules, you can learn how to be wild too.
Author: Anne Hindes
Apprentice Editor: Roseann Pascale / Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Nadja Tatar