My Relationships are hard guest today is Sara Litchfield.
Resilience. Sara uses this word and it hit me how true it is. This post is a beautiful reminder that we aren’t perfect so we can’t expect relationships to be. We try and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail.
Sara, thank you! I needed this perspective and I am sure other readers will connect deeply with it as well.
I was Disney-Princess age the first time I fell in love. And it took about three days.
No one had wanted to be with me before. And fast-forward, I’m not sure the boys I’ve been with since have really wanted to be with me either. But we’ve entered into relationships, situations where our lives have twined around each others for a time – however layered and labeled with plausible deniability – because it’s hard to kick a puppy when it keeps bringing you things and loves you so much it doesn’t demand to be fed.
Chance and circumstance have ever played a part. Sometimes meeting someone feels like kismet and like it should be It. And then it’s not. But this isn’t a reason to despair. It’s not a disaster if you don’t get Disney, first time or any time. You just need to be a bit resilient. Enjoy a snatch of birdsong for what it is. A gift. And recognize that some things are only permanent if you work on them. And if it’s worth it, that’s what you do.
I wasn’t on the same page as my last couple of loves. I may even have been reading a completely different book. But I was always aware that picking up something meant for a different age group in a high-octane genre might not have the plot of a Mills & Boon. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth getting on the ride. You can have startling love affairs with books you would never have expected to enjoy and that others might have warned you off. And you wouldn’t necessarily want every book to be a never-ending story, even though I always have, at the time.
A wee while back now, in one case, my action-adventure romance cut off mid-sentence and I was left helplessly flicking back through the pages, trying to see what might have been, trying to come up with an alternative ending – even just a satisfactory epilogue that tied everything together. I couldn’t bear the relationship being abridged that way. But you can come to terms with it. Yes, an ending can ruin a good book. But once the wound isn’t so raw, you can leaf back and appreciate the beauty of individual passages, the parts that made and can still make you smile.
Not all stories can or should have a happy ending. And some don’t have a conclusion at all. People barrel into each other’s lives and collide with one another. And sometimes magic happens, but that magic isn’t always meant to last.
For a hopeless romantic, who loves weddings and seeing a friend settle down with their life’s love, my track record makes it look a little like self-sabotage. Why would I fling myself over the edge of waterfalls with so little hope of a happy landing? It’s because freefall has a magic all of its own. And I let myself get swept away by inviting tides.
It’s a choice though. A choice to believe that a relationship doesn’t have to be a fairytale in order not to be a failure.
Yes, I can be as poetic as I please – it doesn’t take the pain away from something ending when you don’t want it to. The pain of losing someone, or even never quite having them when they’re there. But I would rather have had these relationships in my life. If I can’t have the one book that makes everything make sense, I’ll take reading lots of them, learning from each, and being wiser for having shared a story with someone that was fun to read.
And so my love life is a patchwork quilt. And perhaps I could have been warm and comfortable in a coat of one color by now if I’d refused to compromise on a candy-eyed version of love. But there’s more than one type of magic, not all of it is eternal, and that’s ok. I’d rather there be color and magic in my life at all.
To those who met their match young, who have gone through their life having adventures as part of a team, facing peaks and troughs together – I salute you. Treasure what you have all the more for knowing it is rare.
Just, whether you’re hoping for Disney one day or not – don’t hold out for it. Let relationships into your life. Court disaster and dance with delight. You never know what could happen.
Sara is a summer writer excited to throw her fiction at the world and see where it sticks. She is the author of dystopian thriller The Night Butterflies and blogs on happiness and hope at www.rightinkonthewall.com, which is also home to her editing business and publishing division, RIW Press – all aim to make the right mark on the wall of the world.
Born in the English midlands, Sara earned a Masters in Theology at the University of Cambridge before becoming a reluctant big-four accountant in London. She is now recovering in the southern hemisphere where she devotes herself to all things words and wonderful from her base in Middle Earth (sometimes known as New Zealand).