You know when you are pondering one thing, and it leads to another, and another, and suddenly, an epiphany? Or… maybe it’s something you have always known, but never quite put the same thought process behind it? That is what happened to me, and Eureka! Love has got to be the most powerful, and possibly the single most destructive thing on the planet. Boom. There it is! Are you sitting there agreeing with me? Love will quite literally drive one mad. Think of all the wars that have been fought over it and all the deaths that have occurred because of it. It has saved lives and destroyed them. It can seemingly take our breath away with happiness as if our heart may burst, or completely knock us off our feet in sadness as if our heart has been shattered. Love can put us on cloud 9 or drop us to our absolute lowest.
These revelations all brought me to this thought….How in the hell do we ever give any other being so much power?! It’s like a sickness. Maybe that’s why they say in the beginning one is “love sick” as they are falling in love. And it is just that…. like falling. Blissful, beautiful, stupid, as if you are one of those silly cartoons with hearts in your eyes. It can feel like someone has hit you over the head and now you are love struck. Suddenly you’d seemingly do anything for that person, even something in your “right” mind you’d never do. But the question I really have is…How do we get so wrapped up, that so often, just like a sickness, we lose ourselves completely? We don’t even see ourselves fading away until we are all but a glimmer of our former self. One day we just wake up, not in that same blissful, dizzying stupor of love, but unhappy, unfulfilled, and not even sure why, or how we got that way.
My marriage was certainly not without issues, but I stayed many years more than maybe I should have holding on almost desperately to the love I thought I had. Until one day I quite literally looked in the mirror and didn’t even see myself anymore. But where had I gone? I never even saw myself fading away. I couldn’t even tell myself or anyone else for that matter what brought me joy.
For example, I had loved sports my entire life, since I was a kid. I realized one day that I had almost completely and totally given up watching sports on TV because my ex-husband always wanted to turn the channel. Truthfully, I did not have much time to watch TV since I was too busy cooking, cleaning, and mothering small children while maintaining a full time job. I was completely oblivious to what was going on in the NFL, NBA, and NCAA throughout our 4 years of dating and 7 years of marriage unless I happened to overhear it or read about it. Something I had loved just became less and less until it just wasn’t important anymore. When I came to this realization, I was absolutely in shock, like I had been living under a rock. Was it just my ex or could I attribute this to “friends” I had who also could have cared less about sports, and definitely didn’t want to talk about them? One day before our birthday, my twin sister asked me this eye opener. What would bring me joy? After soul searching, I realized, I didn’t even know anymore. I had become so caught up in being a wife, a mother, a friend, and letting others influence me that I couldn’t even answer that simple question. Talk about feeling lost. I had to think back to practically being in my young teens to remember the things I loved, and the person I was.
I had a visit with an old friend today, and as we talked, I connected the same story through an entire web of people I know. I asked him about playing the piano. We’ve been friends about 9 years, and just before we met he was a traveling concert pianist. He told me how he never really played anymore. His wife always acted like he could be doing something more productive, and when he would sit down to play, she would instantly start in on him about doing other work. I knew this feeling EXACTLY. I said to him, “but, it is a release for you, something that brings you joy”. Then I remembered other musician friends of mine who had also said out of the course of their marriages they had a husband/wife that no longer wanted them to play, or perform, or devote time to it. As we spoke I sat there somewhat dumbfounded. I recalled several other friends who had given up hobbies/loves that once brought them joy because of the influences of others, especially those that they loved. It left me asking myself, WHY? Chances are, when you met that person you fell in love with, they knew you loved _________. Over time it becomes acceptable if they do not share that love of _________ with you, that not only do they not have to do it, but they can influence you not to do it, or like it, or what have you. Why do we fall into these relationships and expect people to change?
I have learned over this rocky road, you can’t change someone. If somehow you do, it’s only a matter of time before they usually resent you for it. People can change themselves for the better. If you try and manipulate something away from someone that brings them happiness, they will wake up, some much later than others, feeling lost, and unhappy, and probably resentful. When you love someone, shouldn’t you love ALL of them? When in a new relationship, we tend to FALL quickly and want to spend every moment with that other person. But in truth, time alone is good for EVERYONE. Time with your friends away from your new love is also healthy. Women need time to bond and be silly with their girlfriends and men need time with just their guy friends.
Take the time to really look in the mirror, do you still recognize yourself? If asked, can you actually name what still brings you joy? Chances are, you’ve been so wrapped up in everyday life, you haven’t done that in a while. Don’t forget to evaluate your relationships too! Try to remember all the things you loved about that person when you met. If either one or both of you have sacrificed something you loved, which in turn meant sacrificing part of yourselves, maybe you should consider rediscovering those old passions before it’s too late.