Falling Out of Love Explained

I wish I knew how to start this one. I wish I had some smart catchphrase or witty joke, but today, I can’t find the exact words. The topic at hand is something that I find pretty hard to tackle and that is probably because it’s all too familiar. It’s the art of falling out of love.

Now, this is for the broken-hearted. Not just those who are coming out of romantic relationships, but friendships as well. Because, let’s face it… love is a powerful component that makes any relationship what it is. So after all the great memories and loving each other until your heart feels like it will explode, you’re hit by an unexpected emotion that leaves you almost paralyzed. You look at the person you love and the unthinkable comes to mind: you don’t feel the same way as before. You don’t love them anymore. It’s like a solid snowball to the face during a snowball fight. It will hurt. It’s cold. You will feel numb. And for a good ten minutes, you just want to curl up in a warm corner and cry.

While reading Zora Neale Hurtson’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I wanted to hug Janie and eat tubs of ice-cream with her (Vanilla ice-cream, to be specific. With loads of fudge and whipped cream) as Sam Smith plays in the background. She goes into these relationships thinking it would be for the best. In the beginning, it would always seem to feel right; and at a point I did see Janie love the men she was with. Maybe not the extravagant, “till death do us part” kind of love, but a love that was worth something. Even if the first two husbands were good-for-nothings in my book, Janie chose to stay for as long as she could. But then, she had that falling out of love phase, especially with her second husband Joe Starks. The man she married was not the same man who she fell for in the early stage of the relationship. The snowball had hit her pretty hard in the face.

Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them. (Chapter 6)

How heartbreaking was it to read that? Now, imagine experiencing it.

We tend to put the people we love on a pedestal, well at least that’s what I and Janie did. There’s this picture-perfect image of them inside us that we are completely connected to, but then when the snowball comes flying towards you, expect that image to shatter. Whether it was something they said, something they did, or often times, something they didn’t do or say, your love for them shifts. You start to reevaluate the relationship, look for answers that are impossible to find, and try to trace back to the starting line that’s miles away.

But when you’re falling out of love, you don’t push the re-play button. It doesn’t exit. Instead you have to look past the shattered pieces and accept that the picture will never be the same. It wasn’t the photograph you envisioned. You realize the love you were experiencing was a one-way street. And relationships are never supposed to be a one-way street. You are supposed to grow, express yourself, and learn to accept another person as a part of you; not as a separate component.

When your ‘insides and outsides’ don’t mix, you fall out of love.

Sometimes, it just has to happen. It’s the only time you learn to fall in love with yourself and feel how great it is.

Once you’ve finished crying over the pain of a frozen snowball to the face, you’ll see that you’re still alive. You can pick up a patch of snow for yourself, form it into a ball with no one else’s help, and throw like a pro.

You learn a lot by being hurt, but grow by being smart enough to know that you have to dust off your skirt and move forward. Falling out of love sucks, but you can’t fall forever.

A Grandmother’s Love Explained

Family is everything to me.

My parents were my first teachers and my brother was my first best friend (besides my teddy bear named… Teddy). But my grandma was different. She’s my rock. I told myself that if ever she leaves our home, I was to move in with her. Can’t nobody take my grandmama away from me! I could go on forever about the sacrifices, love, and care that she has exerted throughout her life, but my words wouldn’t do her justice. If there is one thing you should know about my grandma, it’s that she takes so much pride in her grandchildren (all nine of us).  As her first granddaughter, she doesn’t shy away from talking about relationships and who she believes I should be with; especially now that I am older.

Here are some qualities my dear grandmother expects from my future husband:

  • He has to have a good job. Or as she likes to repeat, “Marry a doctor or a lawyer.” 
  • He has to come from a good family.
  • Loves me unconditionally.
  • He needs to be a man of faith.
  • He must be respectful.
  • HANDSOME (oh, grandma).

This list doesn’t even sound that bad. Actually, I like it. But to put a man through such a list can be a task, because it sounds pretty much perfect. And perfect just doesn’t exist. However, I ask myself why she is so worked up about me having this ideal man. Her answer to me once went a little something like this, “because my granddaughter is worth it.” Of course I wanted to flip my hair and smile in agreement… and I did. But thinking about it now causes my heart to break a little. My worth stands next to a man with a law degree, whose family name is on the Forbes 100, and has a body hot enough to kick Adam Levine off of the “Sexiest Man Alive” throne? My worth is reflected on a person other than myself? I don’t think so.

In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s grandmother (Nanny) has given her a similar list as mine. Nanny wants her granddaughter to marry quick, to a man who is of quality, but Jeanie was confused. She was still so young and saw marriage as a love-relationship, not something that is produced out of a mere list. So when Jeanie did marry she said this, “Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant” (Chapter 3). Despite rushing into her relationship with Logan and doubting her feelings for him, she believed that a marriage built on love can be learned. Marriage ideals take the couple out of the situation and views it as only institutional, perhaps just necessity. It is often seen that women are expected to be housewives and mothers. That because they are given such roles, their companions must also be a certain way. I think that Nanny was aware that these gender roles are inescapable, but what could make it better is having a good partner. Then the goal of getting into a marriage is not for love, but a title.

However, let’s try not to criticize our grandmothers too much. I know they mean well.

My grandmother wants me to be my own person. She wants me to grow. She wants me to grab every opportunity thrown at me. She wants to see me succeed in life. She wants me to be happy. I think her main purpose in giving me her list of expectations is to teach me to aim high. It was never about the ideals, but the reason why we form them. As long as I don’t settle for someone who can pass as a good guy and be with someone who actually is, I know she can live with that. So, she won’t disown me if I marry a writer than a doctor. 

Grandmothers have this wisdom that us grandkids can’t always understand, but need to trust that it’s fruitful. Sometimes they go about expressing themselves to us wrongly, but it is all because they are one of the few people on this planet that have our best interest in mind. We are their successors, whether you feel like you are obligated or not. It’s a component in being family. My grandmother has taught me so many life lessons, that I am forever thankful. But the best gift she gave me is her love. It overflows. Like Nanny, her soul is strong. Because she has been through so much, she wants her grandchild to know that the world will give you choices. It’s about weeding out the bad and picking the one that suits you.