How many times have you fallen in love? Is it always better than the last time?
Love is supposedly getting wrapped up in someone else, but it’s really tripping into a labyrinth of yourself. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to step into a room that brings you joy and kindness and strength with indoor waterfalls and couches like clouds, to find the switch that lights up every corner in the house. Sometimes you explore long, twisted hallways with compelling arches that lead you deeper and deeper into yourself ‘til you’ve lost your way and all you can do is run your hands along the wall hoping to find a door to let you out. Some people find the light switch first. Some people never do. But when we step into someone else, we inevitably get lost in a part of ourselves we never have before.
It’s the lessons you take from each trip that can make the following better, or worse. There are parts of the house I don’t care to see again and parts I never would have found without getting lost with someone else. Insecurities that needed to be aired out. Passions that needed to be opened. Our relationships with people are what help us build and discover our home. And I am happy to live in the house I’ve made forever, but I dream of the rooms someone else might unlock, that someone still could.
But it’s still your house. And the quality of the life you build in it is determined by how well you take care of it, by the effort you put into it.
Every time I’ve fallen in love, it’s not that the love has been better, it’s that I have been better able to love. It’s that I’ve torn down walls and lit up dark hallways and aired out old shame and cleaned out old losses. It’s that I’ve made space for someone and I’ve made it beautiful and I’ve made this house a home that I love and I cherish.
The hardest part for me is when I love the way the light comes in and the way floorboards creak and the way the kitchen is just a little too small and then I let someone in who says, “this house is so wonderful, this house is so perfect, though the light comes in early, and the floorboards are loud, and that kitchen is really too small.” Because then the things that I love turn from quirks into flaws and I find myself tweaking the things I found charming because someone thought the rest was good enough to stay.
This is your home to live in forever and by god, you better make it good. But make it good for you and when buyer after buyer says it’ll do, so no thanks, because you’re looking for someone who thinks it’s beautiful too.
That’s how love gets better. When you love yourself better.
“I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.”—Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye (via quotes-shape-us)