We accept the love we think we deserve.
I asked him why he had taken the time to write the quote down in his notes on his phone.
“Because you’ve done that. You’ve done that in all of your other relationships before.”
We rode with the windows down. Her hand hung out the window, her hot pink nails clicking together as she twirled her fingers through the air, her palm riding the breeze. She was blonde and sun kissed and beautiful. I had met her first semester in a biology class, and we knew everything there was to know about the other one within a week.
We drove around campus, and she played me the songs she listened to every time the boy who mended her heart just to break it again stopped talking to her. She had the kind of voice that surprised you when you finally heard it, and she had this wonderful knack of being able to dance and sing as though I wasn’t in the passenger seat next to her.
A Miley Cyrus song came on.
“Bangerz literally got me through this break up,” she said, spinning the volume dial all the way to the right.
Miley Cyrus may be a lot of things, but one thing she is not is a coward who’s too scared to say the things worth saying, the things we’re all afraid to say. She’s more than a trend setter: she’s a woman who sings about thinking love conquers all.
And just like Miley, I realized that most of us believe that “all” part that love is supposed to conquer includes stubborn hearts that love us the wrong way.
We accept the love we think we deserve. Because for some reason it’s an innate belief in the human heart that we are all entitled to a love that beats the odds, a love that changes the core of a person, a love that overcomes.
My friend let that boy love her and leave her more times than either of us could count. She accepted the love from him that she thought she deserved because she thought she deserved someone who eluded her for so long just to have a massive eureka moment and chase her down with an infinity of “I love you’s.”
Us humans, we don’t like our own tangibility. We want to move and sway and change the very atoms that float in the air around us; we want to feel them curl around us in desperation when we leave, and we want them to stick close when we arrive. We want to be irresistible. Most hearts crave to be a force that’s bigger than the sort of stuff tough skin can wrap around.
It’s why Noah waited so long for Aly I’m the Notebook. It’s why he waited for her to make the choice between him and her fancy fiancé from the north. It’s why Rhett suffered through a marriage to Scarlett in Gone With the Wind, buying time until she finally realized she loved his tired soul. It’s why David finally shows up at the airport to kiss Jade at the end of Endless Love.
Because at the end of the day, we just want to be able to say “Look. Look how much I mean to someone the the very makeup of who they’ve been has completely rearranged to make them someone new.”
Me? I’m more of a “the-guy-doesn’t-get-the-girl” type of movie lover.
Because I’ve been the girl that’s waited.
And the one thing I’ve learned: in real life, Aly marries her fancy fiancé from the north. In real life, Rhett spends his days loving a woman who loves him back with everything that’s in her. In real life, Jade meets someone new and wonderful at college and they get married and David is happy working at his dad’s auto shop.
Because in real life, we don’t deserve a love that overcomes. We deserve a love that meets us half way, a love that shows up and says, “You’re all I’ve ever wanted, and I could never pretend that fact isn’t true.”
We deserve a love that stands up and claims us every time.