I am the girl that loved fairy tales. From a young age, I loved the plot line- Girl meets Boy, something complicates the budding romance, the couple overcomes the odds, and they run off into the sunset happily ever after. It's the reason that I set my DVR each weekend to record every movie on the Hallmark Channel. It's also the reason that I still faithfully watch The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. The romance. Taking a risk for love. Actually, I'm not sure that I'm that brave. But it all makes for entertaining television.
Being into too many RomComs can be a problem. I have a horrible habit of falling for a person's potential. A horrible habit. I like to see the best in people, and because this is real life and not a Looney Tunes cartoon, there are no true bad guys. Everyone has redeeming qualities. Everyone. And that's where I mess up. Somehow, I focus on the good and hope that the not so good gets better. Then the romantic and the dreamer in me wants to believe that those not so shining qualities will improve over time and that love itself will help us to triumph over all.
Not saying that I'm in any way perfection. But falling for potential sends you spiraling down the rabbit hole. It all sounds good in the beginning. You have hopes and dreams, and probably good intent on fulfilling those dreams. But then there is reality. The life that you are actually living. We idealize the person that we fall for and falling for their potential can be draining and a time waster.
Truth is, you have to deal with a person who for they are. We all have flaws. But when we fall in love, we don't want to address those things that are less than perfect. Instead, we hope that somehow love will prevail and that we can love those qualities away. It doesn't happen. You have to open your eyes and see if your love interest's actions match up with the expressed intent. Who is this person that you are willing to give your heart? Pay attention to their actions. And more importantly, if you are together ten years later, will you still be able to deal with the flaws and shortcomings that you see? Maya Angelou said one of my favorite quotes- 'When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time'. That says so much. Love makes us dreamy and makes us feel like we can do anything. Once that honeymoon period is over, that's when the masks come off. Are you truly in love with the complete person in front of you or are you in love with potential?
If you know anything about the soap operas, Victor Newman and Nikki Newman on the Young and the Restless have a torrid on again/ off again love affair that has spanned decades. Nikki is well aware of who Victor is, and although he fiercely loves his family, he can be driven by his demons and cause stress and strife that tears his family apart. But Nikki loves him despite his flaws. She is clear on who he is and makes no pretenses about it and she does not pretend that he is someone that he is not.
We should all be so lucky to find a love that spans over decades. I ghostwrite romance novels and short stories. I guess a part of me likes to create these happy endings after a couple overcomes this huge obstacle to their love. Love is a funny thing. Life is even funnier. It doesn't wrap in sixty minutes and it is definitely not a Hallmark Channel movie. When Girl meets Boy, she has to have an open heart, but also be of sound mind and acknowledge that loving potential is all part of the fairy tale. Not the reality that is life. But it sure feels good for the moment.
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