Last week, my good friend was in a sour mood. Like she had swallowed an army of lemons, that sort of mood. Like a dreadful, the-world-is-ending, hang-me-out-to-dry, manic-Monday-but-it's-really-a-dismal-Wednesday sort of mood.
And kittens, I don't know what it is about me, but for whatever reason, when a girl finds herself in a mood as black as a starless night, she comes to me. I just magnetically draw in the sorrowful sisters, babe. I'm like the reigning queen of darkness and I'm cool with it.
"Zara!" she urgently cried to me as we sat at a stale table under a wildly unflattering, flickering fluorescent light in an uptown Starbucks.
"What?" I asked, my eyes widening, my "friend-in-need" alarms going off at rapid fire speed.
"SO. I just met this really amazing guy and I'm freaking out because I'm not exactly in a place to be in a relationship because my life is falling into a million, little, tiny shards of glass and everything is SO SCREWED up but like, I think I might be super, super, super into him -- but I gotta PUSH HIM away because it's just not the right TIME!" she lamented, her soulful eyes radiating such intense beams of sadness I could feel her pain wash over me.
"Girl! It's so rare to meet someone amazing! And just because you're going through it right now, doesn't mean you should push this awesome guy away, you idiot face!" I screamed, frightening the sweet family to my left.
"But what's wrong with HIM that he would be attracted to ME at this stage in my life?" She asked, defeated. She looked a balloon someone had popped and was now left lifeless and limp, tossed away on to some neglected chair.
"You're not falling apart, your life is falling apart. There's a difference." I said, crossing my arms, refusing to allow her gaze to leave mine, because when a girl is feeling really fragile it's very important to maintain eye contact with her or you risk losing her to the dark side.
She looked down at her chewed nails.
And I knew in that moment, that her downcast eyes meant I had lost her and that she was going to push away this person no matter what I said or what I did. She was going to walk away from a chance at love with someone amazing and she was going to use her haphazard life as her excuse. And if there's one thing that I've learned in this world it's this -- you really can't rescue a friend from screwing up her love life. She's going to do what she's going to do.
And I get it. I so get it. Because I've been there too.
Look, my life is far from perfect. Even though I've come a super long way in recent years, things are still a little screwy in my head from time to time. Never once have I woken up, stretched my arms and said to myself, "Wow, Zara, you're really in the perfect place for love."
I don't think I'll ever be in a place where the entire surface of my life is perfectly smooth and even-keeled. I'm a complicated girl for better or for worse. I have a lot stewing inside of me, that's what fuels me with the desire to express myself and create things. I don't want to ever lose that, just so I'm an "easier" lover.
I also come from a fab yet unconventional family where there is never a dull moment and often a slew of dramatic ones. I take a lot of risks, so I make a lot of dire mistakes. I try my damn best to keep the demons at bay, but I'll always struggle a little with anxiety and depression. It's all just part of who I am.
But just because it feels like my life is falling apart at least a few times a month, it doesn't mean that I'm falling apart with it. Sometimes my life is a chaotic shit storm. Sometimes I'm struggling with really weird things, like incessant bad dreams or I'm feeling funky because I'm coming off three years worth of antidepressants or family drama is sending me haywire or a friend's addiction is spiraling out of control and I can't sleep because I'm worried so I'm acting kinda crazy. I can still be standing strong with my feet firmly planted on the ground when in the face of imperfection and adversity.
I've heard them say you should only fall in love when your life is "in order." But my life is always a little wild. I like it like that. And just because things are a little wild doesn't mean that I'm only going to get into toxic relationships with people who are trying to "rescue" me. It also doesn't mean that my issues are going to be "too much" for my partner to take on, because I'm never going rely entirely on my partner to get me through it.
And that's the difference, my sweet kittens. As long as you're prepared to go on your journey of personal growth alone as an individual, you're always in a prime place for love. You can still actively work on learning to rescue yourself, while having a girlfriend or boyfriend. I'm not saying that your partner won't be there to support you sometimes, but you don't have to squash them down with the weight of your complicated life.
You can still deal with your shit on your own when you're in love. That's what they don't tell you. They don't tell you that you don't have to pour all your problems into your partner. They make it seem like it's all or nothing. When there are so many shades of gray. You are so many shades of gray.
And sometimes when things seem like they're "falling apart," they're actually falling into place. You know you're in a very fascinating time when you're going "through it," I do hope you realize, babes. You're learning new things everyday when you're in the thick of the hard parts of life. You're also discovering how strong you are and that's sexy AF.
Remember, you can be a work in progress and still be totally lovable. You can be going through stuff in your life that's hard and still not suck the life out of a partner, like I've so vehemently feared in the past. You can fall in love with someone, while still maintaining your awesome individuality and still working on yourself as an independent person separate from him or her.
When the walls are breaking down around you, you're in a powerful place. I think meltdowns mean you're growing. And who isn't attracted to someone who is growing? I think it's hot as hell when a girl is taking ownership of her life and starting to confront the demons in her head or finally starting to question the path she's on.
And I know that the walls have to come down before they're built up again, anyway. I also know the process might be harrowing, but I strongly admire her for allowing herself to go "there." It's much easier to just play it safe and keep things pretty on the surface. It takes real guts to pull out the pieces and finally have that breakdown that's been holding court inside of you for so many years.
It doesn't make you a hot mess unworthy of love, it makes you awesome. And awesome people will see that and fall in love with you for it, not in spite of it.
But what I'm really trying to say is this: when you meet someone amazing, don't push him or her away because you're feeling vulnerable and imperfect and ugh if only they knew the truth blah blah blah. Don't worry why you've drawn him or her in when everything is such a mess.
Maybe you've drawn him or her in because he or she admires the way you're battling this hardship in your life? Isn't the way you handle tough situations, the truest test of character? Aren't flaws what make you real and isn't being real the sexiest thing you can be?
It's rare to meet someone you truly connect with. And as long you stay connected to yourself, you're always in a totally ideal place to connect with someone else.