In all of my journeys across the blogosphere, I’d have to say that my favorite blog posts to read have been dating and marriage posts–yeah, I’m one of those mushy suckers. I am not ashamed to admit that I love everything about people in love, even strangers. That kind of happiness attracts me like light does a moth — the story of how two people met, the way he proposed, her reception colors, his adoration, the photos, the stories, the beginning of something beautiful and lasting; I can’t keep away from it all.
That’s why I’m all too familiar with the blog post that every hopeful, single girl inevitably writes when her heart wants something, the “this is me calling out to a universe and a future that isn’t clear in the hopes that someone will hear” post. We all know it as the Dear Future Spouse post.
Many times, the DFS post gets written off as corny desperation that we’re supposed to pity, particularly in the Utah LDS singles culture. If ward culture dictates our emotions toward stuff like this, we’re supposed to go “d’aww” and mentally pat the girl on the head and think to ourselves, “Oh joy. Someone my age who wants to get married. Well, that’s embarrassing.” It’s like some unspoken rule that you don’t talk about how badly you want to get married, how much you want to find someone. We’ve been groomed to despise that kind of talk. Even I have, but I hate that we’re so critical of others’ vulnerability, particularly that kind of vulnerability.
For the past few weeks now, I’ve been wanting to write a DFS post. Not that I have to defend myself, but I have reasons — dating not working, dating not happening, a hopeful glimmer that something might actually flow one day instead of crashing and ending in the pain of unrewarded or undiscovered vulnerability. I think I’m going to try to write (finally!) that post today.
Here’s the deal: I can’t be typical, nor can I be cliche’. I can’t write about something so important to me by using the same words I’d use to describe my hobbies–you’ll make me happy, we’ll do cool things together, etc. You don’t get those today, mysterious sir, sorry. What I’m putting out today, with a preface that is, honestly, miles longer than it needs to be, is the whole vulnerable of me, what I picture, what I want. Others have done it, I can do it. So here goes:
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In writing this letter, I acknowledge that I’m breaking–kind of–my latest, yet unspoken, rule: don’t write about the people you could fall in love with if you don’t want to be hurt. The number of post-writing casualties is up to three now, three who left right at my worst possible emotional moments. The fact that we haven’t met yet (or maybe we have, but not in that way) seems, to me, to increase my chances of this letter being safe. So I’m writing it now.
I don’t want to protect myself from me, nor keep you from being important enough to fill notebooks, so I desperately hope that one day I can feel comfortable writing about you by name, knowing that you won’t leave.
I’m not so sentimental that I can look up at the stars and always imagine that you’re looking at the same ones, thinking about me somewhere. It’s hard for me to love other people the way other people love me, the way other people have gotten used to loving for years and years — with gifts and beautiful speeches — but when I find you, you’ll rip pages from me. I think that’s how I can love you.
I’ll silently note how beautiful you are with the rain clinging to your skin and your hair. I hope that I’ll mention it to you, but you’ll definitely find a thousand different pieces of that thought scribbled in small, broken handwriting on the edges of envelopes and newspapers, useless items that will capture the greatest seconds of our lives. When you ask me how I love you, you’ll find it written all around you, little “us’s” scattered from one end of the house to the other.
Never again will I be silently crippled in a crowd by sights, smells, and songs reminiscent of the last man who broke me. No, instead I will find a way to express to you how beautiful the trees look with their snarling blossoms, the way one footstep of mine takes me only half as far as the footsteps of the people around me, the headline of the day’s paper and how, yet again, something in it utterly bothers me.
Expect that. Expect me to passionately opine about books, movies, politics, media, and disasters. Expect me to pace through the house with my hands dancing in rage. Expect me to expect you to have something to say about the matter when I’ve said the same sentences more times than I can count. Your opinion will mean the world to me. You might sit there quietly with an amused grin on your face, watching me rant for a time, but I’ll crave your input. Expect that.
I want to be scraping my way to the top of a limestone wall, the rope slapping the back of my head as you say to me from the ground, “Uh…go there, well, no, uh…you’ve got to move your foot higher. There you go! You did it, Champ!” I want to be floating on the wave tips of our favorite lake, turning my head to see you smile wickedly before your arms send me beneath the surface and I come up, spluttering, and throw my whole frame at yours to return the favor. I want to be curled up next to you beneath pine boughs and canyon stars as we talk about God and universes and eternities, tracing the veins in your wrist and running my fingers across the hills of your knuckles. Maybe we’ll talk about homes and children soon, what we want, how many we want, how we’ll be the most amazing parents, you the most amazing father.
I’ll agree that, yes, I do find your favorite movies and your music somewhat enjoyable, and you’ll agree that yes, interrupting me while I’m curled up to a good book is not a good idea — right now, there are at least 200 of them that will be inducted into our little family, and you are expected to not get rid of ONE OF THEM. We’ll talk about them, about whose character just died off, why we care or don’t, what that means for the rest of the plot. And the fact that you might be be willing to talk about them will make my insides roll like ocean waves, because no one is ever willing to talk about those things.
It will be noted that you are dizzying with a tie around your collar, your legs splayed out over a church pew, your hands on the spine of a hymn book and your eyes dancing towards mine. It will be noted that the way your beliefs and heart sit against your sleeve is perfectly breathtaking. It will be noted that I have work to do to get to where you’re at, but progress will come with four hands, two hearts, one faith.
Someday, I’ll be leaning against a door frame, watching the crimson flickers of the sunset light up a small backyard for just a moment as you lift and spin a small child or two in your arms. They’ll be giggling and you’ll be smiling, and when you turn your face to look at me, I will tremble, more in love with you than I ever thought was possible. I will never be able to write about that moment, no matter how hard I try.
Lots of girls like to tell their prospective “yous” to hurry it along, and though I can be incredibly impatient myself, all I ask is that you stay here when you get here, that you have the patience to wait for what I am, that girl who sounds clever because she is, that girl who invests her emotion into even the little things, that girl who seems so shy but opens whole worlds to you when you help her to open up.
If you can love and wait for that, then I can love and wait for you.
We will be utterly beautiful.