“It’s one thing to fall in love. It’s another to feel someone else fall in love with you, and to feel a responsibility toward that love.”
— Every Day by David Levithan
Falling in love is both simple and mysterious. But it is, when it comes down to it, quite easy to actually…do. Compared with gaining a master’s degree or solving world peace.
Falling in love is something anyone can do and most of us do, though not always in a romantic context. Some of us crave it more than others, but it can happen to us all, at any time. Sometimes it happens without us even realizing. Oh, we may strain and throw everything we have towards gaining love, but the, perhaps painful, truth is that no matter how much we try for love– it happens often without cause or explanation. And sometimes it never does.
Love is beautiful, fascinating, captivating. It’s something that comes almost as naturally as breathing to some of us. For others, it takes more time. Staying in love is another matter.
The hardest part of love is what happens afterwards.
…nobody in the history of time said love had no consequences.
Someday, you’ll fall in love with a person and you’ll find— they fall in love with you, too. Suddenly, the stakes are real. Suddenly, it’s not just me playing with my own heart— but me playing with theirs. That moment of vulnerability, the moment you justify that vulnerability by accepting their love.
Could I leave? Physically, yes. Mentally, I’m abandoning them. They put their trust in me, their everything— and I just leave them like none of it meant anything?
That love has a weight to it. I can feel it. Some might call it a burden. I don’t believe it is that, but it does feel like a heaviness that takes up a part of my heart. Fills it that little bit more. Takes up a piece of me that is now theirs, and I cannot give it to anyone else.
Somedays I’m scared and want to run away.
Other days I’m grateful. Always, I’m drawn to them, like a magnet. I am sure I could, but I cannot imagine the amount of effort it would take to get me to leave my loved ones (and people have tried to scare me away, and it hasn’t worked, so don’t you even try, because the last person who did was far more terrifying than you will ever be).
That daily responsibility to the one you love is no light task. It will drain you, some days, in ways that make you feel you have nothing left to give— and then you’ll squeeze blood from a stone to give them what they need to survive. Knowing they will pour their blood and sweat back into you, not as their way of saying thanks, but because they feel the same weight and obligation towards you. Giving to you even on days they might resent and hate you. On days they feel tired and irritated.
One can slip into love without realizing– and only afterward the weight of that responsibility is felt.
I have so much love in my life. Some days I think I might float away, or perhaps eventually settle back to the earth in some unknown country. But the love from my tribe keeps me tethered to my home. It is both reassuring and heavy.
Some days you’ll remember both the highs and the lows, and that will help keep you steady. Knowing that you can do this, the next day and the next. That you are all in this together. The grass may be greener on the other side, but you are too preoccupied with your own lawn to pay much attention to the neighbor’s grass.
That is what love means.
Love is a beauty and also a burden. It is both sides of the coin. It is nothing and it is everything. It is priceless and it is common. The most common element in the universe, perhaps. And yet it can fill one’s whole heart, metaphorically speaking of course. It can be the thing that keeps one going in hard times and that keeps one’s mind and soul fed.
Be careful with whom you share your heart, or, even more dangerous, to whom you give a piece. I don’t give away my whole heart. My “heart” is something that I give away in pieces. I reserve a small part of it for myself, alone. And the rest I share or give to others.
But oh so carefully! After all, it is my heart, and it is precious. I don’t wish to let it be freely abused or neglected.
Love freely, love deeply—but remember that it is a person’s heart with whom you are playing. Being loved is the hardest thing in the world.