Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I hardly even noticed it.
There’s something funny that happens with Valentine’s Day when you’re with a person who is so full of love, your heart fills up and spills over with all of the joy it can handle every single day.
For those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning, you know it’s been a wild ride for the last handful of years. If you know me in real life, you probably have heard me say cynical things (or maybe just strictly realistic things?) about the likelihood that I would never find someone to be close to because I just can’t trust people. It’s hard, you know? Remember that story about me calling all men liars? That absolute fear that hardened and broke my heart over and over again was more scary than pretty much any other emotion I’ve ever encountered. And I’ve felt them all. Sometimes all at once. But somehow this inability to trust people, the fear of being hurt, and the scars of being mistreated burned hotter on my skin than any other pain I’ve experienced.
And then something happened. First, therapy (thank God for therapy – everyone go to therapy) and second, the most fantastic and unexpected friend-date-turned-romantic-date.
Love is beautiful and scary and challenging and wonderful. Being known by someone is terrifying and exhilarating. I’ve never felt more known than I do right now, by this man, who loves me not despite my craziness (bless him for putting up with panic attacks and doubts), but because of them. Because they are all part of me. He’s taught me to be comfortable with myself in a way that makes me want to be the best and most real version of myself I can be.
And isn’t that what love should be? Love that sees the mess we are and says “yes, you’re a mess, but we’re all a mess, and I love you just the same.” It’s comforting and unsettling to let people in sometimes, (because if I’ve learned anything over the years of my life until my early 20s, it’s that letting people in means they’re going to get scared of you and leave), but it is just so worth it.
It’s not perfect. Because two messy people will still be messy. Days can be hard, and we aren’t always smiling as big as we are in these pictures. But when moods change and hearts hurt, having someone there to sit through it, encourage you, hold your hand, love you when your mind is racing, makes the pain seem a little more bearable.
As Taylor Swift says (did you think I’d get through this post without a TS reference?), “Even in my worst times, you could see the best in me. Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth in me.”
That’s how I think we’re supposed to love each other. Looking at this whole person, absolutely miraculous in everything that makes them who they are, and just loving them. Seeing through the defensive fronts they put up, and loving them. Everyone needs someone to see them, really see them. I know it’s scary (honestly, TRUST me, I’m still working on not being a psycho doubter), but I also know it is so worth it to just stand on the edge of that ledge and let yourself fall.
You might be surprised with where you end up falling to.
A few weeks ago, my friend Jenni-Kate of Raven and The Willow asked if she could shoot us just for fun while she was in LA. We said yes (shoutout to my sweet boyfriend who agreed to do this even though photoshoots aren’t typically his favorite thing in the world), and I am so glad we did. Here are some of my favorite shots from the shoot. Jenni-Kate is one of the best photographers I’ve worked with. The way she makes you feel comfortable and how she gives directions (they sound insane, but I swear they work) brings a vibrancy to her subjects that can be hard to find in a lot of pictures. These are all so alive.
She captures love the way it is: quirky, sweet, and insane.