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…
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).
Part 2 – Part 1
Getting this message in Tumblr a few months ago opened my eyes. Made me think about how stuck I was and how long it was taking me to heal. Shortly after replying to it I started to get my things in order and prepared to take a trip on the road to letting go.
I updated my social accounts and thought about leaving my LDR journey behind, after all, it was over. But after thinking about it for the longest time I realized that even if I don’t believe, I still care.
Healing takes time and part of healing is letting go of the anger. When I realized that I had to let go of the anger, the bad memories and the pain, it allowed me to move forward on my healing journey and even give some space to forgiveness. I said to myself : Giby, it is what it is and maybe it’s not meant to be.
The road to letting go is a long and winding road… so what did I packed for my trip?
- Patience: I knew it was a long journey. Healing takes time, getting back on track takes time so you will need lots of patience to adjust to the changes and the ups and downs life will throw at you.
- Friends/family: everything is better with friends so why not take them with you? Having someone to support you is really important and will help you along the way.
- Entertainment: now that you have more time on your hands, why not invest it on you? Go out, pick up some hobbies or do more of your favorite things.
Things are different now. In the beginning of my journey I stumbled upon PUBG and it helped me to keep my mind off things. Incredibly, it also brought my ex and I closer again in terms of friendship.
One last thing you will realize while on the road of letting go: not everyone is meant to stay, so you will end up letting go of more people than you thought you would. I had to give up on people who were just taking space in my life without giving me the chance of having a space in theirs.
For the longest time had a crush on someone who didn’t know what he wanted or couldn’t decide how and if to go after it. I guess it happens. One of those people who keeps you at arm’s length for their convenience but when they feel you are slowly slipping away, says the right words to bring you closer again.
In the end, you can’t help but think about how much that hurts. Maybe because when we were “together” I always gave everything and after a while, he always ended up leaving.
Having any kind of relationship with him is like eating candy when you know you have a toothache: bad for you, but you can’t help it. When we do try, our efforts turn into a time bomb. The only thing is we can’t really see the timer, we are just waiting for it to explode damaging everything we built at ground zero… Like a never ending loop where it all starts and end at the same place over and over again.
How many times can you survive a nuclear blast? How many times does it has to end before you can move on and “crush” someplace else.
Most fairy tales start with a damsel in distress and the knight in shining armor that comes to her rescue. This isn’t one of those stories. This story starts with my Sis, a warrior princess and her valiant prince who were not afraid to fight the war for love.
Their story is one filled with sacrifices, lost internet connections, sleepless nights because of time difference and of course, the most difficult trial of all, distance. Armed with patience, courage and determination and using love as their most valuable weapon and shield, I am proud to say that my Sis and her prince conquered the first battle: Marriage.
You see, my sister, the warrior princess is from the US and her boyfriend, the valiant prince is from Pakistan. They met online and had a long distance relationship for several years. All their sacrifices finally paid off when they were able to get all the paperwork done to marry in a third country on April 9th. I won’t lie here. It took time, planning and lots of money. This isn’t a battle for the faint of heart or the faithless, but what I want to do is to give others a little idea – using their experiences as reference – so they can know what to expect and how to prepare.
This are some of the documents needed:
- Passport – valid passport issued by your country’s government certifying identity and nationality primarily for international travel.
- Birth Certificate – documents certain circumstances of a person’s birth such as date, full name, place of birth, etc. Has to be recent.
- Single Status Affidavit – this is to certify that you are not married to another person.
- Divorce Decree – only if you were previously married and divorced. Recent certified copy of the original decree.
Keep in mind that these are only some of the documents required. The documents needed will depend mostly on the country you are getting married. Some countries will required your paperwork to be translated to some other language (English for example) and for them to be apostilled if the country is a member of the Hague Convention (Apostille Convention). That specific procedure allows your document to be certified for legal purposes internationally. Remember that there are other steps and fees that you may need to take/pay in the country. Always do your research by yourself or with the help of a professional, for example, a lawyer.
Those are key pieces of information that will help you in your journey for love, in your way to marriage and in the battle against distance. When we are in love we think we are an army of two. Sometimes it might even feel like it. Know you are not alone. There are others like my Sis who won the battle. Her story doesn’t end here. The warrior princess and her prince valiant are getting ready for their next battle together. Now they have to plan their next adventure and build their kingdom together. I can’t say “And they lived happily ever after”… at least not yet. But what I can say to you is this: The future may have many names… but for that person, the name is yours.