the painting

Last week, I went to a couples counselor with my partner. Contrary to popular belief, love and life are difficult. No one is perfect. Yada yada yada. You’ve heard it all before. I’m not here to make excuses. I’m here to tell a story.

I sat next to him on a couch that felt both made for one and miles long. While he was filling out paperwork, I looked around the small room until I saw The Painting. The Painting felt like a slap across the face and sounded like the loud laughter of every person who had passed judgment on us before. There on The Painting, was a [hetero and white] couple, embracing each other with a deep kiss underneath a red umbrella on cobblestone streets. Couples-umbrella-love-street-painting-home-decor-wall-art-canvas-art-bar-cafe-Bedroom-Living-Room

My relationship felt like the extreme opposite of whatever fairyland that painter was living in. I remembered arguments and distance, standing on the poorly paved streets of the communities that raised us that we had since left. I remembered passion, freckled with disagreement and confusion. I remembered the decision to seek counseling, as two poor millennials, who loved each other deeply but needed to love themselves more.

When I saw The Painting, I felt mad. I felt like the metaphorical slap in the face had landed and represented itself with the redness in my cheeks and the furrowing of my brows. As I signed the paperwork, dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s, I felt like my love and my life were too difficult and too complicated. I felt like the history and depth of my heart space was too much to be contained in a 6×12 room on a [ironically named] Love Seat.

Yet there I was. Trying to look past the fantasy, the idealization, and the romanticization of messy love and messy relationships. Trying to make my experience and my intimacy fit into the mold of the Happy Blonde White Woman on The Painting.

The thing is, love IS messy for me. Relationships will always be messy for me. I have so much love but the truth is, I love me the most. I am madly and deeply in love with myself, my dreams, and my happiness. I move these things to make room for others and their needs, and I am the one who suffers for it. I am messy. And that’s okay.

I’m just looking for the messy that compliments mine.

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