When I first read what the character Rose Walker said in The Sandman (by Neil Gaiman) I couldn’t believe that it was describing exactly what I’ve always felt about love. The truth is that I’ve always been scared of it. Maybe not scared about love… maybe what scares me is the possibility of it ending and dealing with what happens next.
Sounds funny because I went through it some time ago and the possibility of meeting someone and falling for them made me want to remind myself that I couldn’t do it all over again.
The problem most of the time is that while there are some of us who fall in love “for real”, there are others who only fall in love with the idea of it. This happens a lot when you meet someone “online” or “long distance”. You put a lot of effort into getting to know this person only to realize that your effort is not being reciprocated. Instead, they fall in love with the idea of having someone to send a few messages, call once a few days and say how much they “love” and “miss” the other person. After a while, when the person gets tired of “playing relationship” or doesn’t get what he/she wants, they leave breaking the other person’s heart in the process. They never worked to build something real.
But can we break our own heart with ideas and false expectations? the answer is yes, we can. We fall in love with potential, with what it could be, with what if… that’s when we give them a piece of ourselves, taking a piece of our souls when they leave us. Love does take hostages. We stop being ourselves; if we are not careful we start living for someone else. That’s when and why we hate love sometimes, yet we crave it.
In spite of all risks we choose to love. Someone once told me that the heart has reasons that the mind doesn’t know. We are afraid to be hurt yes but we build our defenses with windows so we can see what’s out there and give us one more chance. Always one more. We are afraid of having to explains our relationships and reasons to others, how we met and where. Afraid of what to do if it ends cause it’s like the song 50 Ways To Say Goodbye by Train, trying to explain why the other person is not with us anymore or why it didn’t work and we end up feeling not only broken but stupid about it. In my opinion, we have the wrong mindset. We should worry about building something real with a person who has more than just ideas. In the end, knowing the difference between what you wish it was, what you think you have and what really is will save you a lot of heartache.
This might come a bit late but I had a hard time deciding if I should write about my little Valentine’s Day project or leave as it was, a gift I sent directly to the one who has an apartment in the condo of my heart.
A week before Valentin’s Day, I decided that as a VDay gift I would show Ahmed how far love can travel. I used social media to ask people all around the world to help me by writing a little note on a piece of paper or card and taking a picture of it with a background of something or somewhere that represented the country they were in. i gave an example and two messages to choose from.
With a little help from some people in different parts of the globe, I was able to show Ahmed that the heart doesn’t know bout distance and that love can reach anywhere when we want to share it with someone special to us. Even when I didn’t expect it to be possible for him to take residence in my heart.
In the end, I decided to share it because it’s only fair that I give Ahmed the place he deserves in my life when his family and him has given me a space in theirs. It’s up to him if he wants to do the same…
The universe has approximately 8 planets, 169 countries, 807 islands, 10 billion people and the internet allows us to connect to almost every place in our planet. Social Media has enable us to reach out and meet people from different cities, countries and cultures and that’s how I met who my friends know as “soccer guy”.
I have no idea how we ended up having each other in a social app, all I know is that he sent a message and we connected… or so I thought. The messages he sent were in Arabic and I replied in English. Didn’t take that long to figure out that it was going to be very difficult trying to communicate and develop a friendship. To my surprise, neither of us gave up trying to get to know each other.
Now here comes the fun part: he is six hours ahead of me, so every time we talk, one of us is falling asleep. The language barrier itself is another funny thing. He speaks Arabic, like 10 words in English and maybe 5 in Spanish. I can speak Spanish, English and a few words in Arabic, most of them romantic or very basic. We can understand half of what the other is saying. We have to make up for the rest. He talks to me in Arabic and I love it but can’t understand 3/4 of what he says. The same with my English, he just looks at me and laughs.
You may be wondering how we are able to video call and have a conversation. Easier said than done… we use 2 phones, one to video call and the other to translate and show the other (or play the audio). In my opinion, Google Translate gets approximately 20% of translation wrong. It doesn’t help that he is Egyptian and his Arabic is a bit different. We try to get meaning from the other 80%.
He says our language should be Arabic but he will try to learn English or Spanish out of love. He is perfectly romantic (in his language) and he knows I only get half of what he says so he laughs and says “I love you so much” and while I know he doesn’t mean it, it sounds sweet and it’s too damn funny.
While we are lost in translation most of the time, we have fun. We congratulate the other on all the wrong dates (holidays) , we talk about our (yes ours) cat that I think is missing, the apartment he is saving money to buy because he doesn’t get that vacation means I will go there for like a week or two and the marriage that I think we both agreed to without realizing what we were saying yes to. Though we managed to clear all the misunderstandings, this is a funny guy I would love to meet.
Thankful for all the great people in my life and the part of the journey we shared… the ones that are still here with me and the ones who aren’t anymore, they left behind experiences that shaped my life in some way.
To the ones who decided to stay – friends and family by blood and bond – thank you for helping me write the story of my life, doesn’t matter if it was a page or a chapter. Last but not least… I’m thankful for the brave people who decided to love me: you know who you are.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a romantic story. So I’m sorry for the friend who complained about me writing about love… I promise I will tell you some other stories, just not this time.
This time, I will tell you about A and his friend J. I met A last summer, he was working a summer job through one of those youth government programs and was placed at my office (another government agency). Like any other teenager, A was involved with sports, friends, and social media. What really caught my attention was that the highlight of his summer was the visit of a longtime friend. For the time that he was working at my office, I heard a lot of things about J. His eyes would lit up every time he talked about her and I just wanted to know more as days passed because this was a real love story in the making.
A and J were best friends growing up together until J’s mother moved her to the U.S mainland. You would think that they would grow apart since they were not only physically apart, but both involved in normal teenager things. To my surprise when I asked A about it, he told me how they decided to keep their relationship long distance by calling each other, texting, video calling and of course, the help of social media, our ally in the battle against long distance.
I was clearly impressed by A and his commitment even when other teenagers didn’t seem to have his level of understanding and faith in a relationship like this. He is very mature in everything regarding his LDR and his future plans with his S/O. Now this here is something you don’t see every day – a guy with a plan! They have one more year of high school before they can start to close the distance and they are not taking any steps back. He is very sure j is not only her S/O but her soul mate… he was sure of this since they were younger.
I know a lot of people will think or say that they are too young. But let this be an example of dedication, effort, commitment…all key ingredients to build a lasting relationship. Let this be an example of what love can do if we learn to nurture it from a young age. Let this be an amazing love story (in the making).
The way they light up your heart… someone comes along and they share a bit of a flame from their hearts or they always have some extra spark so your heart can shine too. That gives us warmth in place so cold like this one.
Pay attention to that person who gives you some of their fire, to that person who is always looking for the way to light up your way to love.
Days are special because we give them meaning. We celebrate on different occasions and share those days with the ones close to us, the ones we love. Throughout the years we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day as a day to remember to be thankful for all we have (for life itself) for all we’ve accomplished and the family and friends we have. This year I have many things to be grateful for.
I’m thankful for life…after all we have been through here. For the family I have and the family I chose because they never cease to amaze me and support me in every decision I make (they know who they are). For an amazing job that allows me to help others, to spread a little kindness.
I’m thankful for Love… Four years ago (November 23, 2013) someone told me I was his girlfriend and I laughed at the joke. Today I celebrate one more year of shared jokes, many calls, countless text messages. Another year of learning to love across the distance, of walking through the storm together where he always takes my heart to safety.
There aren’t enough words to say how everyone touches your heart in their own way but their prints stay with you forever. For another year of shared memories… I’m thankful.