Love is like a swimming pool. You have options. And flotation devices available. You can dip your toe into the kiddy pool. Heck, you can walk in there with your floaties on and splash around a bit. You’ll get a little wet. It’ll be fun. Maybe even feel a little dangerous. But it’s cool, you are a buoyant human (as aided by various protective measures.) You will not sink.
But what about the deep end?
I have swallowed a lot of water. I have sat at the bottom of the pool and looked up and not known how I was ever going to break the surface and breathe again. That’s what love feels like for me a lot of the time. Like I have to swim and I’m not quite sure how.
That isn’t to say that love should be hard for hards sake. That it should feel like you’re drowning. But it should feel like you might. It should feel like you aren’t just dicking around in the shallow end.
I get it. I don’t particularly like the sensation of water in my lungs either. And rejection and drowning seem to have a lot of sensations in common.
Am I actually going to drown here? I think about that a lot on the other side of a heartbreak. Because it feels like that. Having to do the dirty work of reestablishing the fact that I am lovable always feels like drowning. Floaties would be easier.
But, if we never take the chance to love in a way that is vulnerable and scary and really kind of hard, we will stay safe, we will not drown, but we will never love or be loved in a way that makes us buoyant all on our own. We will never realize we can swim.
That is why we need the deep end. Why we need to love in the deep end. Because that is the shit that matters. Because that is how you realize you can swim.