“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake….but you might not want to marry them.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
In spite of my brash, subversive sense of humor and my affinity towards the dark, the moody and the generally extra quirky, I have always been a romantic at heart. The idea of having someone I can be mushy and affectionate and intimate with has always been appealing to me. And growing up, we told there is someone for everyone, a pot for every lid, a yin to every yang.
When I first heard this quote last year, it shook me to my core and it totally reshaped my quest for love. Before then, I thought a soulmate was synonymous with true, everlasting love and marriage. I always considered my soulmate to be my future husband and if things didn’t work out with a potential suitor, he apparently wasn’t my soulmate. And if you have listened to a decent amount of popular music, watched your share of movies and/or read a regular bit of literature, there isn’t much to say otherwise.
Consider how difficult it is to think of the last time there was a song in top ten that was NOT about finding, keeping or losing love. Beyond that, consider the revenue that romantic movies turn over. Some of the greatest literary triumphs have told and retold the age-old tale of love lost and found and often lost again. Basically from birth, we are spoon-fed these extravagant and erroneous tales of everlasting love, always ending happily ever after. The problem comes when those tales become the expectations we judge others against and we hold potential suitors accountable for those unrealistic ideals. That’s a lot of pressure to place on someone, not to mention a steamy crock of shit.
I have gone into only two relationships in my life with this fabricated version of a soulmate ideal in my head and both relationships fell apart. I was ready to go through the fire and fight for them. I wanted to be their “ride or die” man. And I thought that was enough to keep the relationship going. But as things progressed, I realized those situations were not the best for me after a certain point. Each had their own unique variables to consider in the demise of those situations but with both of them, I thought I had found my soulmate and I thought they weren’t, which bred their own unique brand of insecurities around relationships and self-worth.
But after several years of soul searching, diligently doing my life work and digesting the quote from the spiritual bad-ass at the beginning of this blog, I realized that those individuals were, in fact, my soulmates. They did shake me to my nucleus. They did make question every part of my consciousness. They did show me everything that I was doing wrong and stoutly compelled me to reinvent my ways. They changed me to the point that going back to the person I was before meeting them would be impossible and unimaginable. And it was exactly what I needed at the time and I am beyond grateful to them for it all.
Sometimes those kinds of bonds are so powerful and intense, they are unable to withstand the confines of space and time. They needed to collapse and dissipate because those men had fulfilled their purpose in my life and I in theirs. We gave each other what we were meant to give one another so we could realize our own potential and purpose and continue on our individual journeys solo. And sometimes as the dust settles on the mess you both created, you can reenter each others lives in a softer and less emotionally taxing way. One, I can’t talk to or see for the sake of my personal safety and well-being. But over the past year, I have had the blessing to be able to reconnect with the other one. We cleared the air, apologized to and forgiven one another and we are now able to be a friend to one another. I even met his new boyfriend who couldn’t have been nicer or better for him. Beyond everything, I love them both dearly and I wish them both nothing but the best.
I want to make one thing very clear: I am not a pessimist when it comes to love and relationships. Actually, I am more optimistic if anything. I believe in the power of love and its beauty and wonder more so than I ever have. I am just more decisive about who I engage in relationships with. Asking and wanting someone to be your soulmate is a tremendous amount to ask of a person. Besides, why would I want to live with a mirror constantly displaying my flaws in Dolby Digital Sound and HD?!?! And why would I want to do/be that to someone else?!?! That sounds too damn exhausting for my taste!!!!
Furthermore, I’m not so much looking for a soulmate anymore as I am a life partner, a simpler, kinder and more forgiving role to request one to take on. I am passively and patiently seeking out someone to be my number one cheerleader, my top supporter, a best friend that can have sex with from time to time (and maybe more often than that if I manage to have it my way!!!)!!! And I’m not saying that I want someone who is oblivious to my faults either because that’s never healthy and we all need to be checked at some point. I just want someone to share love and life with, someone who can see the beauty beyond the beast of a human I can sometimes be and I him.