When I was seventeen, I was crazy about this boy who was extremely unattainable, emotionally unavailable and all around the wrong person for me to focus my attention on. Every time my phone buzzed, I would become super giddy inside hoping it was him that was texting me and then cringe when it wasn’t, hating myself for even getting worked up about it.
After too many broken promises and disappointments, I finally put my big girl pants on and told myself, “Enough is enough. Time and efforts should not be wasted on some boy who doesn’t know who he is or where he is going.” In an effort to philosophize the cacophony of catastrophic events that were caused by endless weeks and months of playing this cat and mouse game, I decided that: it would be silly to waste the time trying to squeeze into a dress that is clearly two sizes too small, you couldn’t breathe in, let alone feel comfortable wearing for an entire night. So why waste the time trying to establish a relationship with someone who clearly isn’t cut from the same thread as you? You shouldn’t have to shrink yourself or move less freely in order to make it work. Only buy the dress that makes you feel like the best version of yourself, you can dance all night in and one that you are proud to wear.
With this in mind, I quickly began to search for something else to occupy my time and thoughts. Something that I could feel secure in my relationship with, could dictate when I was available and at the same time help me grow as a person. I could always take up the piano, I thought to myself, and quickly brushed off the idea once I began to print out sheet music. Okay, well I could start creating that clothing collection I’ve always wanted to – only in turn to have my room look like a disaster hours later and me, slumped on the floor next to my sewing machine that refused to work.
Feeling duller than dull, looking into the mirror one morning, an epiphany struck and I quickly grabbed the nearest lipstick on my counter and scribbled onto my bathroom mirror, “Fall in love with the world and let it fall in love with you.” That summer, the rouge words remained, staining my bathroom mirror, their hue ever-present through the steam of warm showers and the giggles of summer nights.
Seventeen year old me knew that there were much grander adventures to be had and so many more stories to be told. Little did I know, that several years later, those words that I scribbled upon the mirror, I’d soon be screaming at the top of my lungs from a forgotten rooftop in Paris, with a boy I barely knew.
“Fall in love with the world and let it fall in love with you.” Those words ringing clear as they echoed back to me, a huge grin springing to my face. My heart beating fast, like that of the beat of a drum and overwhelming excitement spreading from head to toe. I chanted this over and over again to myself, letting the words drip from my tongue and feeling them more and more with each breath that I took. I looked up at the sky and then around me, spinning slowly to to take in the sights – the midnight rain left the old church and cobblestone streets gleaming in the incandescent lights. Everything stood still as I took a momentary mental snapshot and saved the perfection of this moment; sometimes in the bleakest of nights, the uncomfortable darkness that is endured is necessary to see the light.
The catharsis of the early autumn morning paved the way for the most vibrant of days. Feeling renewed with a sense of urgency to share my realization with everyone, I began to fall in love every single day: with moments, with sounds, with feelings, with people’s energy, with their stories and laughter. The best way to fall in love is to recognize all the little details, listening and understanding them and then all at once – being consumed madly and deeply with emotions. Whether this is taking a stroll through the park and noticing how crisp the leaves are as you crunch over them with your feet or how the red and yellow hues in the trees complement each other to create the most vibrant orange. The birds crooning sweet songs overhead or maybe the fragrant smell of the nearby food vendor, filling the air with scents of waffle cones and candy. A moment like this in the park, another one for the books, another one to be thankful for and another one to fall in love with.
Or maybe it’s a night where you get utterly lost on your way to meet friends at the pub. The feeling, at first uncomfortable, but then once really looking around and taking in your surroundings, you realize that you were where you were supposed to be all along. You take in the chatter of the night, and gaze down the empty streets, a sense of sereneness floods over you as you relish in the night. You finally meet your friends and fall in love with their laughter, the community and overall wellbeing that you share together over drinks. You listen to their stories about the time they learned how to drive a stick-shift from the taxi driver or ride an elephant in Thailand. You listen intently and delight in hearing what makes them tick. You really taste the cinnamon in the sangria and admire the posters of the old speak-easy type bar. The booths and tables haven’t changed since the 20s and you can imagine what this place was like back then. A moment, a place, another feeling to fall in love with all over again.
As you begin to have these moments daily and learn to appreciate and adore each emotion, connection, place, whatever — you begin to feel it all. And just as you find the beauty in the world, the rest of the world will fall in love with you: your spirit, your gratitude, your ideas.
It’s all there, waiting for you to take it in. So what are you waiting for?
My dear friend, Kate // Sunrise at Sacré-Cœur
IMAGES by Gayle Dawn Photography & myself