“Maybe love is like this…” I think aloud, not finishing my sentence just yet, for my head falls into my lap—tears streaming down my cheeks, landing on my collarbone with a tiny splash.
I let ’em fall, for I sometimes think that with every tear we release, another layer is shed. I sometimes think that tears are like chisels, revealing the true diamonds of our beings.
So I dive in—sobbing, howling—a steady, salted rain falling from my eyes as my fingers clack to the steady rhythm of this familiar pain. And I become the only thing I can in moments like this—softer, more human, more vulnerable.
Maybe love is like this…I think, finding that wistful thread once again, but wincing, still unable to finish the sentence just yet. I simply hurt.
This is my current status—my heart: broken, again. Feeling lost and utterly alone again, but knowing I will be ultimately okay. Right now, though, the ache is fresh and raw.
Where did I go wrong? I wonder, unsure if I truly want to know the answer.
But as I drive home from town, my hands gripping the steering wheel, made hot from beams of golden sun, the car gently hugging the mountain curves—it comes to me.
Maybe love is like…catching fireflies. You know, the way we did when we were kids.
We fling open our doors and bolt outside on a summer evening, jars clanking in our hands, twilight giving way to a darkness that rolls out like a lush, star-studded carpet. The air is warm and the breeze is cool, caressing our cheeks as we run and play, our imaginations unstoppable, lit up like the moon.
We gasp with wonder as fireflies twinkle all around us, like a symphony of pure stardust. Our mouths hang open, as these glowing creatures embody everything that feels good. Everything ethereal, and pure, and innocent, and beautiful that exists in this world. The pristine, bouncing joy and simple beingness that often feels stolen from us, even if we can’t articulate it just yet.
As we see the fireflies twinkling, all we want is to capture that magic—to feel it on our palms, for it to be planted deep inside us. We want to keep it. We want it to belong to us.
So, we catch fireflies and place their phosphorescence beauty in a jar, hoping to hold onto them forever, feeling blissful as they illuminate the darkness of our rooms, like little night lights.
But fireflies cannot survive in jars.
They will wilt, and wither, and die.
Their lights will go out.
They are meant to fly—to explore the sky, and glow so brightly, and be free.
Maybe love is like this.
We meet someone special, sparks fly—just like those sweet fireflies—and we are elated. We laugh until we cry, staying up late, talking about everything—and that same magic seeps into our veins again. For the first time in what feels like forever, life just seems brighter. More fantastic. More vivid. It’s all the things that this world often isn’t—warm, and hopeful, and just plain sweet. Everything feels possible, expansive…
And it gives us permission to step into a flow that maybe we haven’t, since we were children—a wonder. An excitement. An effervescence. An openness.
Our hearts become our eyes. We breathe in the elixir of connection and intimacy, brought back to life by soft touches and hungry kisses. It’s like waking up from a death we didn’t know about—and suddenly we’re able to see the beauty all around us again. It’s that feeling of magic—magic not spoken, but felt, pulsing deep in our veins, as we shiver in sheer excitement.
And this magic ignites things deep inside us we had long forgotten about—desires, dreams, passions, what it is to throw caution to the wind and simply feel joy.
And we want to keep that magic. We want it to belong to us forever.
We want that initial spark—and what it ignites in us—to never, ever fade.
We want this person to always only ever be by our side.
Perhaps we would do anything to hold onto this feeling.
So we hold onto our love so tightly.
We hold on fearfully, with wide eyes.
Because if love leaves us, maybe life will go back to how it was before—dull, blah, black and white, devoid of color, motion, and the jeweled sweetness that drips down our chins.
Perhaps we fear that if we loosen our grip, our lover will slip through our fingertips like tiny grains of sand, and we will be abandoned, lost—alone again. Sad again. Empty again.
So, just like when we were kids, we desperately stuff the firefly—this magical, raw thing of our love—into a tiny glass jar, in our hearts.
But love can’t survive like that, trapped behind the thin veneer of glass.
It will suffocate, wither, and die. It will lie sad, unable to fly and fulfill its purpose.
But maybe love doesn’t need to be like that at all.
Maybe the only way love can actually work is if we are the magic. Our very own firefly. And we get really awesome at soaring—sweeping past tall pine trees, our light glowing fiercely. We dig into life, into what we’re here to do, falling in love with the nectar of existence itself.
And then, when the time is right—we meet another firefly, glowing just as brilliantly, flying just as joyously, living their purpose just as faithfully.
And then—then, the most beautiful thing happens—we can fly together.
Both of us lit up. Both of us filled with the pure euphoria of who we really are. Both cherishing what it is to soar in our own lives that we don’t even think of stopping the deliciousness of the flight to hold tightly onto the other.
We are free, independent, content, and wild—yet gently helping and supporting one another as we continue to rise.
Maybe this is the only way that love can actually work—and be joyous, and fantastic, and healthy, and sublime.
Maybe the biggest mistake we make is holding on too hard, coming from that shaky, scared place of desperation and lack.
We forget that we are the love. We are the magic.
It’s not something to search for, it’s something to be.
It is within us. Always.
We must cultivate our own blossoming—tending to the thirsty buds that glisten in our own hearts. We must nourish the sparkling embers of our own flames. And we must do this daily.
Because that magic we yearn for—we can have it anytime. We can be it anytime.
And when we attract another heart who is also whole and happy, lighting up the velvety night sky with all they’ve got—we will simply create more love. More beauty. More magic. More poetry.
For when a relationship is truly healthy, there is no drain. There is no sacrifice of our precious soul, or bleeding out of our energy. It is not toxic, or fearful, or co-dependent, or addictive.
It is simply abundant.
And we will feel the difference from the depths of our being.
By investing fully in our Selves—in our hearts, in our souls, in the burning passion that speaks to us in the most glorious whispers—there is no losing. We meet our own needs. We shine in our fullness. We become exactly who we are meant to be.
Because the more ignited, the more joyously, vividly ourselves we are—the more we will attract someone who can make our already awesome lives…a little sweeter.
And we will feel the difference.
And it will feel so good and tingly—our souls will smile broadly.
And it will be love, on our own terms.
Love, like never before.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Image: Flickr/i’ll be my apocalypse
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina