If you’re going to fall in love with me, don’t fall in love with my Sunday best . . .
Fall in love with my body, the way it widens quite a lot around my hips and how I will never have the perfect figure and how I honestly don’t really care.
Fall in love with my impatience, my jealous moods and the times that I don’t feel anything at all and fall in love with how sometimes I act like a child whilst other times I can be the most mature.
Fall in love with my scars, my marks, and all the things that make me far less than perfect–and fall in love with all that I consider flawed.
Fall in love with me as a whole.
Or don’t fall in love with me at all.
I wish I could tell you who wrote these words. I’ve seen them several times on the Internet, but never with attribution. They make me think of what I want to tell those who would fall in love with me—those who have fallen in love with me.
And yet, before I do that, I find my demons rise.
I am editing those demons right now. The pictures of faces I have in my head. People from work I’d rather not have reading these words. The gossips around town. Fill in your own demons here. We all have them. When we write, we have to write from the soul. And that is hard to do while picturing what our demons do with what we write. They use it to pretend to themselves and others that they know us. That they see our weaknesses and our strengths. We bare our souls while they hide quietly in their closets, behind well-manicured hands or a pompous exterior. They judge in us what they won’t admit in themselves. And they feel they know the nooks and crannies of our being.
Writer Dani Shapiro illustrated it thus in her book “Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life”: “When faced with the exposure question, I bring to mind a conversation I once witnessed between the memoirist Frank McCourt and a woman he’d just met at a dinner party. Her: I feel like I know everything about you. Him (not even blinking): Oh darlin’. It’s just a book.”
It’s just a blog, folks.
I do bare pieces of my soul because writing really only provides connection if you do. Y’all can tell if I’m faking it. And as I bare my flaws, you will show me who you are. Either someone who sees our similarities in the basic human condition or someone who feels triumphant in differences you feel make you superior.
The former are welcome here. The latter? I cannot prevent them from reading. But the energy they bring to the reading and their conclusions will come back to them tenfold. That I know.
Enough with the caveats. Time to bare my soul.
This poem came to mind today as I looked at photos of a friend who has found what appears to be a wonderful relationship. She glowed with the light of someone who is loved, flaws and all. As did the gentleman she has been dating.
Granted, their romance is still in its salad days but this is not a first rodeo for either of them. I like to think life experience shortens your learning curve. That with age comes wisdom. I’m rooting for them.
And I wonder, as I open my heart, how to allow myself to be loved despite my flaws (perhaps because of my flaws). My mother was not a fan of the flawed. She felt it was her job to coach perfection. With that resolve came a harshness. Unfortunately, I still work to exorcise that voice from my being. I am hard on myself. When someone else is delighted or entranced by me, I am thrilled but also somewhat stymied at times. I’m sure I am not alone in this—and I work very hard to keep this kind of critical voice from my kids. No need for that to be visited upon another generation.
But for now, it is what it is. The gentle, kind voice of my soul becomes stronger with every day that passes.
I own my creativity, my need to go into my cave so it is quiet for long enough that I can hear my soul. My writing comes from that. You will have to love me but not smother me. Not be offended when I want alone time. Most creative mavens lived alone or had tumultuous relationships. I prefer neither of these options but don’t pretend to have the foggiest clue as to how to cohabitate when I need to just be.
I own my impatience. I do not suffer fools lightly. My mind needs time to percolate. And then moves lightning fast. You will have to match this pace or lead me along at your own clip. I’m done leading someone else. Done. I want an equal here.
I own my shape. My curvy body is settling into middle age. I am working on that but no—I will not run marathons with you, train for triathlons and participate in the myriad other rather extreme methods of staving off aging and conquering my body. I don’t feel my body is to be conquered. I feel it’s to be respected and loved. I am ok with my age. I wish our culture was. That said, I’m plugging away at barre exercises for all I’m worth, next to much younger, more sculpted bodies. Being ok with my age does not mean I’m ok when I look in the mirror. Unfortunately.
I own my penchant for lipstick (do not count the tubes in my purse) and shoes, my Pavlovian proofreading of menus in any restaurant and my tendency to hog the covers in bed.
And if you really want an owned laundry list–I can be a bitch, yes. I can also be far too nice.
When I wake up, my naturally curly hair can give me the look of Medusa. And that put-together look I can pull off on a Friday night? Not the same look I sport at home. Comfort rules. Deal with it. Yoga pants abound in my house.
I have a sharp tongue and do not hesitate to use it on those who cannot respect my boundaries. I will be your best cheerleader but if I feel you are ignoring a problem and burying your head in the sand, my criticism has a bite.
Need I go on?
I could go on, of course. I could give you a laundry list of other items I own that you may not appreciate. A list that may cause possible bumps in the road, snafus, major setbacks on the road to a relationship.
But I won’t. Because if you do fall in love with me, these things will not scare you. You will not shy away from them. You will embrace the package. At least I’d like to believe that. None of us is flawless. And I think the magic happens when two flawed people find flaws in each other that they can live with–sometimes even celebrate.
Glowing with the light of someone who is capable of being truly loved, flawed though I am, I really want to believe that.