Let Love Surprise You

I have spent a long time absorbed in fantasies about meeting “the one.” Yes, I’m only twenty-four, but I’ve been a hopeless romantic from the beginning.

From the time I was a little kid, I’ve often lost myself in daydreams about that sort of Prince Charming I’ll someday meed. Prince Charming came in different forms. These days, he’s not riding a white horse, but driving an old Volvo station wagon, because that’s my impractical dream car. 

In my daydreams, I’d also be someone else. I’d have lost 50 pounds, I wouldn’t have a voice that could be mistaken for my 30-year-old brother on the phone. Prince Charming and I would have a regular meet-cute.

But, sometimes fantasy doesn’t match reality (in the best way possible).

I stumbled upon my first love while working at a summer camp. Needless to say, he did not have a white horse or an old Volvo station wagon. He did have one hell of a sense of humor. That’s how it began. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who made me laugh quite as much as he did. We’d joke about ridiculous things, he’d pull a Jim Carrey and spit cookies all over the floor. I’d laugh out loud like I never had before.

Because I wasn’t interested in him at first, I didn’t care at all how I looked. How could I? We were working in 100 degree heat. The odds were pretty much stacked against me. He was funny, he pushed me to explore my beliefs, and most of all, he liked me when I was most myself. It was a love that completely surprised me because I wasn’t pretending to be anyone but myself. I had no idea it was beginning when it did, and although it ended, it changed my ideal love story.

There were quite a few flaws in our relationship, but knowing that someone could like me in my as I naturally am made me realize that we don’t need to put on airs in order to fall in love. Even though the necessary end to that love story brought pain, that relationship has forever defined my desire for the relationship that is meant to last.

I had been telling myself  (and I still do, sometimes) that I had to act or be a certain way to convince someone to fall in love with me, when in fact, that’s not what my experience was at all with him. I didn’t have to try. I didn’t have to reel him in with a fancy outfit, the right lighting, or a well-placed joke. I was completely at ease and completely myself.

So the next time you and I start to fret over reeling in a special someone, remember to be yourself. Marriage is forever (or at least it should be). Daydreams are all well and good. Romance novels are fun to read on a day off. Expectations are good to have. But the real thing, when it really hits us, surpasses the fantasy that we’ve created for ourselves.

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