This year, I have fallen in love with you a thousand times.
I’ve fallen for the way your eyes reflect light when you smile and the nights we stayed up late and laughed out loud while cooking dinner, slowly sipping a glass of spicy red wine.
I have fallen out of love with you a thousand times, too. I have been angry. I have run away. I have talked sh*t about you to my friends.
We are not a perfect couple. We don’t fit together like all the stories say we should—and in many ways, we are opposites who don’t make sense.
We aren’t a fairy tale pressed together in the apricot glow of late afternoon sunshine. With us, it’s real. And sometimes, it’s difficult as heck, but so is life.
I’m spiritual. You’re religious. I’m messy and chaotic. You are quite structured. We disagree fiercely about politics.
But somehow, in those naked, pulsating moments when we peel it all away, all that other stuff doesn’t really matter.
We are both born of tenderness and seawater. We are are committed to feeling things deeply and living with a wide-open heart.
We have an enduring respect for one another that is as solid as concrete.
I like the way our love has died, withered, and come back to life.
I like the way our love has been tested.
I like the ways we’ve been scared, blinded by seeing our own sh*t in a new light—and I like that we could be brave enough to return to each other, humbled by stumbling in what it really means to love.
Because beyond our codependent and controlling tendencies—
Love is dynamic.
It is alive.
Love is anything but stagnant. Like everything in life, it moves. It bends. It evolves. And so do we.
The sand is always shifting beneath our feet.
Yes, that’s damn scary. But would we really want it any other way?
I don’t think we would. I think we adore the shaky wildness of this adventure more than we realize.
And yes, darlin,’ there were months I didn’t think we would make it through. I’m still not sure how our story will play out.
We’re seeing parts of ourselves that we did not want to see.
Relationships are reflective mirrors like that. Sometimes, we think we are looking at the other, but really, we’re meeting disowned parts of ourselves. We can project so much onto the people we love.
And so the tears pour.
But it’s all about what we do with it.
Because we’re pouring those tears back into the oceans of our hearts and getting to work diving in. We’re working on old, dusty patterns, blind spots, wounds, and shadows that just won’t quit. We’re taking responsibility for ourselves.
And in the process, we are learning to hold this love gently, like a course in self-knowledge.
We are learning not to hold onto it for dear life. Because when we do that, it becomes small; we become small.
We are learning to always be open to learning, because then, we can see each other (and ourselves) anew—with fresh eyes—a thousand times.
And that is the most inexplicable gift. To see you change. To watch me change, too.
In this past year, we have been foolish. We have been joyful.
We have f*cked up and we have been passionate and encouraging.
We have burdened each other with exhausting expectations that are impossible to live up to.
But we can return to this tender sea, the waves that crash upon the shores deep within us. We care so deeply. We feel so much.
I don’t have to hold back the gushing melodies of my sensitive heart from you, because you know it like your own. You understand the textured map of my intensity, for it corresponds to the grooves that live and breathe underneath your skin, too.
So, we keep being kind to each other. We keep getting to know each other. After all, getting to know a lover is a mystery—one that is never quite solved.
I like that.
I like that we talk about philosophy and get upset because we challenge each other.
And most of all, I like when you listen to me, for in the sweet space of those pauses as you nod, I feel so heard—my heart, she feels held.
And I realize I don’t want a fairy tale, for my destiny is not contained in the high-gloss sheen of my high expectations—it lies in the subtle art of transformation.
In learning what a privilege it is to love and be loved in return.
In learning who we are not.
In learning to be okay with not knowing.
In leaning in toward the truth.
And truth is messy and inconvenient, like the roaring ocean breeze tangling my hair.
But it’s so real. It’s luscious oxygen sent straight to the withered parts of us that have always thirsted for something more, something deeper, something soulful.
And it’s just plain damn exciting to get closer to the juicy core of who we really are. Without the masks.
It’s incredibly meaningful to do that dance together.
To see you change. To watch me change, too.
Our love has died and come back to life, just as we have, countless times.
It’s like a phoenix, forged of tender flames, and the reality that things are so often not what they seem.
Endings can be beginnings.
Fear can ooze into love.
Pain can be transformed.
Joy is not far out of reach.
We are not so limited by our fears. Possibilities lie plush and sun-ripened before us…
I like having a fellow adventurer to dive in with. I like that we keep returning to each other—with gentleness, with curiosity, with everlasting hunger for the deep, salty parts of this existence.
I like that we are learning how to be independent and connected at the same time. Who knew that was possible? Certainly not me.
So no, our love is not perfect. But it’s sweet growth. It’s good medicine.
It’s one hell of a beautiful ride.