If anyone had told me that this would be my life when I was 12 years old, I wouldn’t have believed them.
Very little has turned out the way that I planned. Back then, as a staunch Mormon, I made a list of all the qualities I wanted in an eternal companion—the most important goal in my religious life. There are not enough eye rolls in the world to share how I feel about that list now.
Especially when eternity isn’t something I can even grasp anymore.
Because eternity is right now—in this very moment. It is in a child’s laugh, the touch of a hand, the heart swelling connection of a song, my feet caressed by the waves as I plunge into the ocean, and staring into the eyes of someone I love without speaking words. This is why I write. This is why I’m sharing myself now.
This is how I love.
I used to live for tomorrow—for that eternity—hoping I was good enough, doing enough, trying hard enough. And I was missing all of the right nows.
I’ve recently discovered that as human beings, the labels and words we use to explain who we are don’t always match up with what we do. And it is when our actions align with what we say that we are truly being who we are. But this is scary, because sometimes our image of ourselves is not accurate.
I have believed myself to be an open, honest person—desiring authenticity from those I love while sometimes holding back when the same has been asked of me. This is one of my deepest regrets. Vulnerability is frightening; there is so much to risk and lose. We can be rejected for all that we are by those we hold dear. And in my becoming, in my sharing of who I am, I have lost dearly: an entire community that I was born into, many friends, my marriage, and my dream of a forever family.
Fear tells me to run the f*ck away, usually. And I am good at running away. My heart tells me to lean in and be open and honest—to be who I say that I am.
For we all desire to love and be loved—to matter. And to have the freedom to love and be loved as we truly are. Maybe in sharing who we are, we will become the manuals we so desperately needed when we were younger. We will be able to match what we say with what we do.
It’s surreal how someone we love can be here one minute and gone the next; it changes our existence, forever. And it is for this reason, and because we don’t know what comes after this life, that we only have this one moment—this right now.
So we should lean in more to that heart-thundering fear and desire to be vulnerable so we eventually grow into who we say we are.
This is becoming. This is life. This is love.
For love does not expect or accuse.
Does not shame or fear.
Does not hold back or hide.
Does not force agreements.
Does not make excuses.
Is connecting and lifting,
being curious and discovering,
expanding and embracing,
opening and freeing,
sharing and receiving,
For love is not a contract
or a license to own.
Love does not let fear build a cage
around our hearts.
Love does not bind us to anyone,
but allows us to embrace acceptance
of our most authentic selves.
For love has wings,
that we may be free.