Do Not Enter
“I don’t claim to know much. Except soon as you start to make room for the parts that aren’t you, it gets harder to bloom…” – Sara Bareilles
“This is so odd to me. Every Libra I know but you is like “OMG. I love love.” – My friend JG in reference to me.
So here’s a confession: I actually like love. I bawl at weddings and at the ends of most romantic comedies. Catch me watching Sons of Anarchy and I cheer fanatically for the main character Jax and his love interest Tara Knowles. Two of my favorite all-time movies are Love Jones and Love, Actually. I adore love songs. Not the subtle kind but sweeping 80s pop ballads (Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do?” Oh my God. Don’t get me started.) and just about every “I’ll swallow rusty nails for you” Monica song. I swoon for a small handful of celebrity couples. There’s of course Jay/Bey and Dwyane/Gabby. Additionally, there is the music journalism tandem that is Elliot Wilson and Danyel Smith, and Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and his wife and lead actress on the show, Katey Segal.
I love my friends in love. The best day of 2012 hands down was when I had the honor of serving as bridesmaid in my girl Shay’s wedding. I quietly hope for the day either CT or Tisha grants me the privilege of giving a heartfelt Maid of Honor toast at one of their wedding receptions. A few weeks ago, I lost all my thug when my homegirl JG sent me the link to her wedding website.
Love on its own? Awesome. Me, in love? Not so much.
Some people fall in love. I disappear in it.
I’ve exchanged “I love yous” twice in my 20s. The first time with someone who was completely unavailable (I take like 75% of the blame for that train wreck). The second with CJ. In each instance I recall standing outside of myself watching as I voluntarily checked everything I loved about myself at the door. Though neither of these men were perfect, or even “good,” by conventional standards, I want to stress that neither of them required this of me. In fact, they both grew to find it pretty unattractive. The cool, confident, spunky me that men fall for loses to clingy, melodramatic, accommodating-to-the-point-of-doormat me whenever love enters the mix. I held on to both of these sinking ships for dear life, my salvation only coming when Life intervened and tossed me, unwillingly onto safe, dry land. You’d think I’d be grateful for this, but no. It took quite sometime for me to accept that sunshine and oxygen were better than the stormy rivers and lakes I was used to.
Then came the fun part where I stood in the mirror, scalpel in hand, trying to determine which surviving pieces were mine and which were theirs. Then the surgical removal of their parts. Then the months spent in post-op recovery.
I realized after CJ that I don’t wear love well. Love wears me out, leaving me unrecognizable to myself long after it’s gone. I told myself that if adulthood was indeed about hard compromises, I would choose to be alone, with myself over in love, without myself every time.
I’m not foolish enough to believe I can outrun love forever. Listening to “Big Pimpin’” anytime after 2002 was and is a constant reminder that anyone can fall. But if love wants me it will have to catch me in the streets and knock me out from behind.
Because that bitch is not welcome in my house.