Caught Up, Swept Away, Crushed, Whole Again

At the beginning it’s easy to get caught up.

Caught up in the rush of the crush. In the glorious spin of possibilities. In the wild imaginings of what most certainly will be. Our hearts and minds soar, our heads spin, our toes barely touch the ground.

Sure there is fear and worry, but they propel us. The make the highs higher and keep us reaching. The need to know–to make real those fantasies–is what pushes us out of our warm crush and into the harsh chance of reality.

More than half the time, it all ends right there. With very little of our imaginings existing in the real world. Another quarter of the time, we hold on to the fantasy–some times in a very destructive way–until we have no choice but to, dejectedly, let it go and move on.

But then there are those times when something does click. When some measure of our wildest dreams find purchase in the light of day. Then we’re swept away by the wonderfulness of it all. The novelty of a new romance. The adventure of exploring who the other person actually is–and who you are when you’re with her.

If things go well, you compliment one another, building on one another’s strengths, supporting one another’s weaknesses. The feedback loop is positive and, on balance, times are more often happy than not. You grow together, learn together and love together. Wonderful and terrible things happen, but they happen to you both as a unit. Connections grow deep and strong. Something lasting grows.

Or, alternately, the romance burns hot and fast, destroying much in its wake (but, damn, it’s a fun ride at times). The burn-out may beĀ  slower–taking months or years–and the still glowing embers inspire deep, wishful memories of the excitement from the initial crush, from the beginning of the romance. Still, things grow cold as distance inserts itself between you and your other. Things change, rarely in the way you want.

Make no mistake, the bulk of the romantic relationships you get into will end. Many of them will end poorly if both you and your partner aren’t well-versed in being grown up about it all. The experience, no matter how bad it may be at times, is always something that can be learned from.

But when it ends, oh! how all that time dedicated to it seems wasted. All that energy and emotion, all that work… gone! We are exhausted, frustrated, confused, angry and upset–all at once and at everything. Crushed! Crushed flat. That same buoyant force that floated our initial fantasy crush high above everything we ever dreamed evaporates and lets reality come crashing down upon us, crushing us as surely as a rock does a bug.

That despair may linger longer than the warmth of the Love that was (or the imagining of the Love that could have been). Sometimes we get stuck there, settling into the inertia, into the rut of self-pity and loathing. We go from licking our wounds (which is natural and good) to inflicting new ones on yourself–knowingly or unknowingly–just to preserve our new, miserable comfort zone.

Overcoming that inertia, though, we find something new. Amid the ruins of our fantasies and the shattered pieces of our recent reality, we find all those pieces of our selves we thought were filled only by another person. Sifting through the debris of failed romance and shattered fantasies, enduring the pain and remembering fondly the joy, we become whole.

Whole–perhaps for the first time in our lives, perhaps remembering that we were at that place before.

Our crushes, our romances, our perceived failures and wild realities… they are all part of that whole. To embrace them all is to grow into ourselves.

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