Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Constant Death and Resurrection of Hope

After a couple post-divorce years of pretty much mocking the existence of love, I thought I fell in love twice in 2016. Yes, twice. And yeah, fuck you and your raised eyebrows. I'm not some love-starved fool wandering around searching - in the wake of divorce I have fully accepted the possibility of a future without a traditional relationship with a rare grace and equanimity that impresses even me - so I was as surprised as anyone that I allowed it to happen. I didn't even allow it, really. Before I recognized what was happening it had already gone down. Love is a sneaky bastard, it creeps up on you like that. I was shocked when I realized it had happened because, shit, I haven't just accepted the possibility of aloneness until death; eternal singleness often seems like the most appealing option to me. You divorced/unhappily coupled folk are nodding aggressively in agreement before looking around guiltily to make sure your significant other isn't watching.

You can look at someone's ability or willingness to fall in love a couple of ways: Maybe they're a desperate, hopeful fool or maybe they've just reached a fearless place in life, willing to take risks because why the hell not? Once you stop giving a fuck about all the bullshit you realize you should take all the risks because before you know it, you're dead. I'm not sure which kind of person I am; little of both, I reckon. A desperate, hopeful risk-taker.

In retrospect, the falling in love in 2016 was really only one time.

I think.

Love is weird like that, isn't it? You can think you're falling in love then shit goes down, everything cracks apart for one reason or another, time passes, and when you come up for air you look back at your infatuated, silly self all embarrassed-like. You fucking dumbass, you think. That wasn't love. You were just sad or scared or lonely or feeling old and fell for his brilliant way with words or his clever mind or the way he gently moved the hair from your eyes while staring deeply into them and telling you everything would be ok...

But you're only telling yourself it wasn't love because of the way it turned out. It coulda been love. Mighta been. All of the relationships we find ourselves in - including the best ones - begin somewhere, even from sadness or fear or loneliness; It's only the failure of the happening of the continued relationship and the clarity (or mental justification of the failure of the thing) the passage of time provides that allows you to boldly declare it wasn't love with such a mingling of authority and self-mockery. Admit it. At the time of the happening you totally thought it was love. If this thing and that thing had happened differently you might still be with that person right now so how can you mock with authority, even now? And is longevity of relationship even a requirement for love? The breaking apart of a thing doesn't negate what went down before it shattered. I've loved within weeks of knowing someone and I've spent significant time with people without feeling it.

A fickle fucking business, this love game. It's a melting pot of random factors, many of which we don't even control; mental connection and pheromones and timing, two people not only magically feeling all the feelings but willing and able to let it all go down without fucking it up somehow by freaking out or bailing or changing moods or minds or allowing any number of other interferences life inevitably tosses into the mix to ruin the magical thing you're feeling.

That said, I am still quietly mocking myself for the first time I thought I was in love. Silly girl. I shake my head and squirm and giggle uncomfortably. But the second time I thought I was in love... My god, it felt like the real deal there for a minute. But shit, who the hell can tell? Especially with the first scenario haunting me. Such is the mind fuckery of falling in love. Pile up some more days, let time do its thing, and who knows what my heart will tell me about the second time? It's only in hindsight that the revelations occur.


Maybe I'll unexpectedly run into him a few months down the road and, much like waiting for the triangle thingy to steady after shaking a Magic 8 Ball, I will impatiently wait for my heart to tell me how it feels... Holy shit he still makes my knees weak! Or: What the fuck were you thinking, you fool? That guy? Love? Pleeze.

That's the thing about falling in love. Do you stay in it and let yourself fall or do you stop and step outside of it for a moment to grasp for perspective at risk of your mind pulling you out of the falling?

Can someone just come hit me on the head with a hammer until I lose consciousness and stop thinking all the things for ten beautiful goddamn minutes?

One minute I am skeptically swearing off the possibility of love forever, the next minute I am open to everything, allowing my heart to wander down an unfamiliar alley, the end of which is hidden in shadows.

The constant death and resurrection of hope.

Reader Comments (11)

You're a great writer. Been through it myself, too much and sometimes thinking I must be an idiot,
others thinking I'm the purest lover there is. At least I'm doing something. Not religious at all but I worship at the altar of hope sometimes, but jury's still out on what kind of god she is.

September 10, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterhope

Been divorced twice. Your words capture the intangible beast that is love in a way that I very much relate to. Thank you for this.

September 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Wow. It's like I was reading a running transcript of my own thoughts. Thank you. And, if you feel alone - don't. You out words to the thoughts I have been struggling with.

September 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

I've been reading your blog for 7 years, and though I've never been divorced, I feel you. Dating sucks. I remember looking through eHarmony profiles like they were house listings. You'll find your guy. Not that you need one, but you know what I mean.

September 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCristin

We seem to be leading a parallel dating path here. You appear with a post that articulates my thoughts perfectly, at the exact times I need it. I feel so much less alone in this difficult world of dating. I honestly can't thank you enough. XO

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterD.B.

yes, i am going through the same thing after finally letting go of a false notion of long distance love. i let that go on for way too long. loyalty is can be your own worst enemy. when it hurts your life and kills your dreams. trusting a person with your heart is dangerous. i believe it is a matter of time and SPACE and never selling out your need for LOVE for a man who is not that into you. (my experience) ...Also it is good never to give more than you get in terms of trust. TRUST is built slowly. i think and based on sharing bits of info and experiences. Non too eager to share too much. My unsolitcite advice, Love you first. hold onto your heart and offer respect. men NEED respect. love for you flows from it. check out Emerson Eggirich book 'LOVE AND RESPECT', good one. Best one I have read. :) Take care!!!

September 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterme

I used to read your blog semi-daily many years ago, and it just popped up in my mind today! I feel you on this. I've also been through divorce, thought I was in love a few times, got hurt, then fell in love again. You get a different perspective on love after your first marriage. The human in you wants it, and yet you're bitter. I hope all is well in the end.

September 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I have a situation with a guy who sounds a lot like the first guy you were in love with, lots of him saying the perfect things before pulling away but me feeling in-love every time and thinking this will be the time it goes well. But lately, I'm trying to ask myself, am I falling, or falling for it? I just wish I knew when I'm being too jaded and when I'm just being stupid.

September 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterbl

You are such an entertaining writer. I love how open and honest you are about real life situations. This is a good read for many, even those non-divorced. It teaches you a lot. I have no doubt you will find the right person when the time is right.

September 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I just discovered your blog (I know, kinda late to the game) and spent the last hour just reading your posts. Loved your honesty and the way you keep it real.

November 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMylee B

Monica, have you having a social media break?! I just realised I hadn't seen your posts on here in a while & on Facebook. Hoping you are & your family are all well.

November 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterD

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