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You know what time it is. It's everywhere and you have been constantly, if not relentlessly, reminded for months now. It's Valentines Day. Whether we admit it or not, we all feel the pressure; pressure to find a lover to share this special Hallmark holiday with, pressure to make the day perfectly awesome and memorable with our significant other... pressure... to meet some ridiculous expectation that really holds no value or merit to the kind of person we are or the relationship we are in. It only validates or crushes our desire to feel loved and have that love reciprocated.

I remember this time last year, my boyfriend Nick and I had only been dating for a few months so my mind was a flurry of all these ideas of what I wanted our first Valentines Day to be... What's more, Nick and I had yet to say "I love you" and I was definitely feeling the emotional pressure. To be honest, the only reason I hadn't told Nick I loved him yet was because I was waiting for him to say it first.

So I waited...

I bit my lip, held my tongue and kept myself awake at night because of a social standard that taught me that's what I was supposed to do. That was the normal way to do things in a normal heterosexual relationship... Plus, I mean, what would happen if I let it slip? He might not say it back, that would suck. He might say it but I might feel like I forced him to, that would be uncomfortable. Or maybe he feels the same way but hasn't found the right opportunity to release the doves and make my romance novel dreams come true? Possibly. I had to let go of the idea that my relationship was meant to play out like a cheesy movie and get honest about how I was feeling because I was also running out of excuses for why I kept getting all weepy on Sunday nights. I just really care about you a lot and it's making me feel really vulnerable... 

I waited much longer than I should have and it was so silly because what ended up happening was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

It was the wrong place, wrong time, and I was in the wrong disposition when I finally told Nick that I was falling in love with him. We had been at the park with our friends all day before we went to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner (Betelnut on Union St.). Nick has this incredible talent for reading my emotions even when I think I'm holding it together. He could tell something was on my mind and was more persistent than ever trying to figure out what was going on. The truth was, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to tell him that I love him and how ridiculous I felt not having said it yet. I sent a group text to my best girlfriends: "SOS I THINK I'M FINALLY GOING TO SAY IT HELP!" Then I admitted to Nick that I had something I wanted to talk about, but not until we got back to my apartment.

I started to feel shaky and nervous as we walked together. I had committed myself to telling him, but I knew it wasn't going to be the hair-in-the-wind-perfect-lighting-on-my-face-beach-sunset-dreamlike vision I had been trying to manifest for so long.

It was sloppy. I got all choked up, it felt like my heart was falling out of my butt and I'm pretty sure I was sweating but I also couldn't really see or hear anything when I finally stumbled through my words and said, "The thing is, uh, ahh, you know... I just like, uh... *face in palm* ITHINKI'MFALLINGINLOVEWITHYOU!" then I immediately plunged my face into a pillow and started crying.

So dreamy.

Nick couldn't help but laugh at my dramatics as he told me he loves me too and asked why I had waited for so long to say it; "I think its crazy how girls think that guys have to say it first," he said with his confident smile...

Right. He was so right and I felt so ridiculous for allowing so much pressure to build. As I wiped my face and blew my nose I finally realized that I could have saved so much time and anxiety if I had just told him when I wanted to the first time. I ended up saying it first anyway and it was as messy as could be!

A lot of the pressure we put on ourselves really just comes from the fact that we are trying to meet some unrealistic expectation that society has taught us to strive for. But if we allow each moment to be what it is and stop trying to force it to be something else—something more—that is where we can find true happiness.

That is what it means to choose faith over fear; to have faith that the truth of the moment is enough to be excited about and celebrated.

Telling Nick that I was falling in love with him was messy, but now it simply exists as our chaotic, imperfect moment in history together and part of our story forever... Our story. Just because it wasn't the same Kodak-moment fairytale that other couples may have achieved, that doesn't mean I am any less proud of it. Life... love... it's all messy. That doesn't mean its not worth celebrating.

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Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!

How have you told someone that you love them for the very first time? How have you stepped out of the norm in your own romantic and interpersonal relationships? Please share your story, leave a comment and check out my SoulCycle schedule in San Francisco this week!

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