I wasn’t meant for an average life, although I tried my best to have one.
I followed life’s unwritten rule book as if it had been carved in stone. I had blinders on, my eyes fixed to the pages. Get a job when I was old enough. Check. Graduate high school. Check. Go to college. Check.
Go to graduate school, all while still working. Check. Get a boyfriend, who becomes a long-term relationship—who becomes a fiance, who becomes a husband. Check to all of these. Have kids. Check. Buy a home. Get a car payment. Yes, all of this, yes. More and more boxes checked as my life assembled itself into what I thought I was supposed to have and supposed to do.
And my soul? Where was my soul in this? It was wrapped up in finding experiences and small adventures to make my life feel that it had meaning. It was trying to hold on to relationships that had out served their purpose in my life, because I was so hungry for connection that I couldn’t bear to let go.
My soul was starving and dying and screaming at me to listen. Haven’t we all experienced that moment? The one in which we’re on the wrong path—and we know it—but we just keep pushing ahead?
And then, I did listen.
I didn’t wake up one morning and just know that the life I had built wasn’t the one for me. No, it was more gradual. But, there was a day when I couldn’t go forward any more in this ordinary life in which I had followed all the rules, but saw my soul starving in the midst of it.
Cut to the upturning of my life. The papers filed to end a union. The flurry of items thrown in boxes, those boxes becoming a tower that surrounded me on all sides. Boxes being packed away and moved to a new home where I unpacked myself and two babies and started over. No job. No idea how I would pay the next month’s rent, much less next week’s groceries. But, I could breathe again. I started over.
I did it again—inventing and reinventing myself. Cobbling together a life formed from my intuition—and not of what I thought I should do. And, I pulled out an old dream from where it was stored and gently brushed the dust off of it. I took it out and held it close, and it smelled like childhood and happiness and the future.
While I created a life that was something other than ordinary, I still found myself settling. You see, I wasn’t meant for an average love either—and yet, I was still just taking what I could get, hugging crumbs to my heart. I didn’t know that there was more out there, though I suspected.
And then, it came to me in the aftermath of starting over again—we just weren’t meant for an average love. Not those of us whose souls long for connection. Not those of us whose hearts beat in poetry and whose blood sings through our veins in song—those who hear the pulse of life beneath the sound of traffic and whole worlds opening up in conversation. No, we need more than just the little bit that’s been thrown our way.
We need chemistry and connection. We need honesty and loyalty. We need a love that’s as strong as we are, and we are fierce. We need more than the leftover attention of someone with a wandering eye. We need more than a love who doesn’t show up for us when we need it. We need more than a love who will take from us until we’re depleted, and then come back to take more. We weren’t meant for an average love that simply looks good on paper, but does nothing for our souls—or worse, drains our energy and slowly chips away at the things we love most about ourselves.
No, we were meant for something more.
So, here’s to never settling for less than what our souls long for, even if that leaves us alone. Here’s to realizing that our own company is better than a chair filled by a person whose presence in our life only creates an absence in our souls—a yawning void that cannot be filled no matter how much we try.
Here’s to believing that we are, in fact, enough. That we do deserve better than a love that doesn’t feel as much like love, but more like a convenience, or familiarity, or the right thing to do. Here’s to believing that there’s a right love out there, just waiting for us to stop holding on to the wrong one.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Flickr/Jeremy Cai
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Travis May