I watched a video recently (attached below) about the fluidity of love. It’s a poem read aloud by a man and woman in which they talk about what love is like each time it appears, and how we should welcome it when it does and thank it for stopping by when it leaves. One part says something like “Sometimes love can stay. Sometimes it can’t. Maybe it shouldn’t.” It really pierced a crucial concept for me. That was the fact that love is bound to pop in and out of your life – on a multitude of faces, and sometimes even the same faces but years apart from when you first loved them. Love happens when it should. Love leaves when it needs to. This is extremely important in understanding the idea of letting go and moving on. You may be sad to let someone go, but clinging onto something that is no longer there will do no one any good. In seeing love as fluid, and allowing it to come and go as it pleases, you will save yourself the heartache of thinking there is something wrong with you or something more you should have done. Sometimes things need to end, so that they can begin again.
I’ve lived long enough to have cycles repeat themselves within my relationships. Sometimes these cycles are ones that live within a particular relationship, and they circle around and around like the reliable phases of the moon. Sometimes these cycles are ones I see within my own habits, or my choices of partners, or life events. They flood me and then completely vanish, like the temperamental tides. And other times it is more gradual. Other times relationships shoot by like a comet, allowing for brief joy and beauty as I delight in their fiery passion – gliding across my night sky before disappearing, only to show up again, periodically throughout my life, reminding me to appreciate the unexpected and never mourn the loss of something that is always in motion.
We can’t control people anymore than we can control the flow of time. Things grow, change, adapt, evolve – thus is the nature of everything on our planet. Change is the only constant. You cannot stop change. You cannot unlearn things you’ve learned, cannot unsee things you’ve seen, unhear things you’ve heard, unfeel things you’ve felt. Once there is a transition in the emotional state of a person, there is no turning back. That is not to say that once love starts to fade it cannot be refocused, but the love that comes back is never the exact same love that went away. There will always be a transformation, a metamorphosis of some kind, before it returns to you (if it returns). You cannot simply undo an emotional state – our feelings are not like drawing a picture on a computer where it is one click to go back and forth between adding or subtracting a line that has been drawn. No. Once you have drawn something, in order to retract it you must erase it, and erasing never leaves a completely clean slate (even if you’re able to get rid of the entire mark, there is a scar, an indent, whether to an extreme or slight degree, that will always be there). Reversely, once something has been erased it cannot be put back exactly as it was. It needs to be redrawn.
However, perhaps, in reality, there is no way to even erase in the first place. Perhaps you only have the ability to paint over your previous feelings, leaving layers. Or you can remold and reshape your clay, but the piece of clay stays the same. Everything that has ever happened to you. Every feeling you’ve ever felt, it is all still there. You can draw new lines on top of old lines and paint new colors across your page, but the canvas is ultimately the same canvas. You will never truly lose any bit of it. You are creating yourself, your life, by what you add to it. Even if someone leaves, they cannot take away your memories, your emotions. They cannot empty out a portion of your canvas, leaving blank space where there used to be chaotic disaster. The chaos is still in there. The disaster still looks up at you. But as time goes on, as feelings change, as relationships begin or evolve or end, you add line after line, color after color, until you’ve changed the way you see your canvas (and the way others see you). But deep down…deep down all parts of you still exist.
Another way to look at the evolution of the self is to view oneself much the same as a redwood tree. A redwood tree can grow very, very tall. Trees in general, as they grow, develop rings. You can tell how old a tree is by how many rings it has inside it. It’s actually quite fascinating. Each ring a symbol of new growth. However, the reason redwood trees are particularly interesting, is that they can withstand fire. Now, I’m not saying they are flame-retardant and fire has absolutely no effect on them – that would be utter nonsense. On the contrary, flame has a large impact on the way in which a tree grows. Flames can engulf a redwood, but the redwood will still be standing when the fire ends. The tree will be burned, but it will continue to stand strong and to grow in spite of the burn. Instead of fire destroying this magnificent tree, it simply adds character to its form. You can see yourself in the same light. Even after disaster strikes, and you’ve gone up in flames, you will continue to stand. You will walk out the other side transformed. Beautiful and strong. No relationship can ever completely destroy you, even if it is a disaster, even if you have been badly burned. You will continue to live, and continue to grow up towards the sky – tall and resistant, like the mighty redwood.
Love should never make people feel ashamed. Love should never leave people wanting. Love should never cripple us. Love can never destroy us. It is our choice to see love in a new perspective. Love is not the monogamous ideal we were taught when we were younger. Love does not stay by your side forever and always. How could it? Sometimes love needs a break. Sometimes you do. “Maybe love isn’t ready for you. Maybe you aren’t ready for love.” Love can come in many forms, all beautiful. A variety of horizons, a plethora of stars, a diverse sea of faces. Why limit yourself to one love? Why cling to one love like a life raft after that love has begun to sink? Will you continue to float, or will you drown trying to save what has already been lost? There will always be another form of love out there for you – whether family, friendship, or romance. Love is all around you, in many different ways, in an assortment of dialects, on a number of different frequencies – you only need to tune in to the right station.
Allow love to flow through you. Allow it to pour into you and spill out of you. Allow it to wrap around you and cuddle up inside you. Allow it to come off of you, like shedding skin. In and out, in and out, as easy as breathing air. The flow of love does not need to be painful. Love may transition, love may transform, love may change, just as you, yourself, change. No one state is forever. But that’s part of the beauty of life. If you allow it, love will come exactly when you need it, and leave exactly when it is time. Do not shut down. Do not close off. Do not trick yourself into thinking you are defined by one love and one love alone. Whether you are monogamous or polyamorous, love is fluid. Love will continue to be fluid. It will continue to flow, as it always has. It will continue to change, as it is supposed to. Sometimes love is there for everything. Sometimes love can’t stay. Maybe love shouldn’t.