“A relationship should not be measured in months or years. It’s the calibre of the memories that matter. Their impact, their permanence, and the degree to which they change you. I’ve had relationships lasting years I can now scarcely recollect, and hours with others that feel like infinities.” – Beau Taplin
One night, while sitting outside at the Grandview Hotel in Santorini, Greece, I watched silent lightning off in the distance over one of the volcanic islands, a rare sighting in September, and thought about how that lightning’s charges traveled from cloud to cloud, bouncing around, changing over the distance. It was the same thing it was before—lightning—but it was also slightly different in nature. The charges and ions weren’t the same as when they began. Something clicked then, and I felt relief and sadness and happiness all at once.
I looked around at the darkened hotel windows of people on the yoga retreat that I barely knew three days ago, but whom were now friends, people I had come to care about over three days. I was different because I cared for them.
That was the moment that I realized there is nothing wrong with falling in love too quickly or caring too much for people too soon. I realized that it’s okay to wear my heart on my sleeve, that it’s okay to pour myself—my heart and soul—into relationships, whether they are friendship or romantic, whether they fail or prosper. And I also realized that I am not my mistakes, which I had thought included falling too hard and too fast for people.
I used to think, My heart is too big and when I’m let down, the pain is just about unbearable. I used to cry myself to sleep. It exhausted me, wore me down. And the bigger ones depressed me. I constantly judged myself: What did I do wrong? What is wrong me with me? The answer was always a resounding: “Nothing.” I did nothing wrong. I knew that there was nothing wrong with giving your all to someone, but my heart just couldn’t face that answer. It always looked for a flaw in me.
Despite having had multiple conversations like this with myself over the years, despite feeling broken and let down time after time, I always seemed to be able to fall in love. Always easily. I fall in love quickly, without logical reason, without thinking of the consequences. Almost every day. I fall in love with someone’s laugh. I fall in love early in the morning, when someone’s eyes are too sleepy and they’re so completely themselves, without worry wrinkles or frown lines. When someone winks at me with inside jokes. I fall in love with the sadness in someone’s eyes when they talk about what or who they’ve lost. I fall in love with people’s stories, and the way their eyes crinkle when they try not to cry. Or the way they close one eye and squint with the other and look up as they try to recall details. I fall in love with the way someone talks, their isms, the words they string together and their favorite foods and movies and the way they walk. I fall in love with their passions. With the books they read. The shows they watch. The places they talk about most. I fall in love with the way people smile, the kind of smile that makes their eyes crease and shows a beautiful set of imperfect teeth. I fall in love with the freckles on their back, with the way I can see constellations and mentally draw the connecting lines. I fall in love with the way their hand gently touches my body, as if protecting me, even though I know that that hand belongs to someone who has inner demons I can imagine are similar to mine, whose mind can be dark and full of emotions they can’t speak aloud. And still I fall in love with them because that person needs it more than anyone else.
Perhaps the reason I fall in love so easily is because I always fall for the right person at the wrong time. Without fail. And despite all the love I’ve given to people who have never returned it, I’ve never run out of it.
I sometimes think that some people stockpile love because they’re afraid to give it away, they’re afraid of loving too easily or caring too much or too soon. Like I used to be. I feel that in today’s society people are stingy with their love. They shelter it and keep it locked inside, hoping for the perfect person to give it to. But there is no perfect person, there’s only imperfect people who make you happy.
One thing I know about myself, I may drive people crazy, I may push some buttons or become a bit ditzy on occasion (usually when I haven’t had my coffee), and I’m definitely emotional at times, especially when I’m mad or shocked, but I truly don’t believe I can ever stop caring for someone once I start.