I’m also terribly inarticulate when it comes to writing on matters of the heart, so I don’t normally bother, which is why I was surprised to come across a love letter to Boyfriend in a secret folder on my phone. Apparently I wrote it six months ago while in a particularly wistful mood, and promptly forgot all about it.
My usual reaction to finding something like this would be to either delete it, or put it back in its hiding place forever. But its resurfaced right on the eve of our one year anniversary, which seemed quite serendipitous, and in lieu of an actual gift I thought it would be nice for me to share it with him (and the Internet, I guess).
I’ve recently come to a realization about you, and us, and the effect you have on me. My life was always full of chaos but since we’ve been together, I’ve felt surrounded by a calmness, a sense of rightness, a profound feeling of being home. We’ve known each other forever, although it’s only been the last six months I’ve actually started to know you. Since then I’ve written poems for you, essays about you, and opened up in a way I haven’t been able to for many years. To say you’ve influenced me positively is an understatement.
Up until now, I took for granted that this creative resurgence was attributed to the newfound romance in my life. Now I understand that it was not just the act of falling in love, or the warmth of being loved in return, but it was the lover himself that was my muse.
I’ve been deeply affected by love in the past, the emotions it’s stirred within me, the layers of myself that have been revealed, but the object of my affections was never really the source of inspiration- rather, my feelings and internal responses to the act of loving, and then the recovery from the emotional annihilation of heartbreak, was always the catalyst to my creativity.
This is because until now, my lovers have all been of a certain ilk. They fit the ‘bad boy’/ alternative/ slightly damaged mold that I had cast for myself as an ideal partner; I now understand that this was largely due to my poor sense of self-worth. I didn’t see any value in myself so I instinctively picked under-achievers who wouldn’t challenge me (or themselves). I never thought i was nice enough for a ‘nice guy’.
But through the thick ashes of failed relationships, I emerged at the end of my twenties slightly burnt, but also a little wiser, a touch more self-assured, and completely content to forge ahead into my thirties as a single lady. My newfound confidence and lust for life was pure, I wasn’t seeking to please anyone but myself, and I guess all these subtle changes over time was now resulting in me sending out vibrations on a higher level, and thus becoming attractive to a similar (aka better) quality of person. And that’s when you came back along, quietly and effortlessly slotting yourself into my life as if there was always a special spot reserved there for you.
We’d always been on the periphery of eachothers lives, and once we became an ‘us’, it felt like I’d been wandering the cold for countless winters, frostbitten and pneumonic and searching for warmth, only to discover I had a box of matches on me the whole time. A chance reunion, a few almost-missed advances, a clumsy seduction; all the little moments leading up to that first kiss are etched in stone in my memory, because it was such an unnasuming beginning to something so life-changing. Our compatibility caught a us both off guard, but from that first kiss, from the very instant the match was struck and the sparks flew wildly, we knew we were inevevitable.
When we first met eight years ago, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted from life. You were in university trying to figure it all out. We were both with unsuitable partners and would have saved a lot of time and heartache if we’d just ran off together then and there. But instead, you just asked to take a photo of me and I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do.
The picture I eventually got to see was a revelation. For the first time, I was able to see beauty in myself, in the image of me you created. Instead of obsessing over blemishes or messy hair or any of my thousand perceived flaws, I was able to admire the shadows and light as it bounced off my face, enhancing certain features and pronouncing my youthful vulnerability. For once I could look at myself as something other than repulsive. That photo now resides in a frame, above the actual antique chair pictured in it, in the home we now share together, and it’s still my favorite photo to this day.
This lovely bit of serendipity was the catalyst to my realization. Its presence makes me reflect on the notions of randomness and destiny, and reconsider my thoughts on true love. Because now I know that you haven’t only been a positive influence on me this last amazing year- you’ve actually been inspiring me since the day we met.
It’s not always obvious, it’s not always grandiose, but every single day, my life is better because of you. I’m better because of you- more genuine, less reckless, softer. My carelessness is countered by your perfectionism, my impulsiveness by your sensibility.
I used to think it would be the highest honor to be considered someone’s muse, to be alluring enough to inspire a work of art, but now I realize that the true gift is to have a muse of your own. To be blessed with the company of someone who motivates and inspires you, someone who makes you understand the love songs, and sing them without a trace of irony- that’s an honour. To have Someone who gives you the courage to lay yourself bare, even though you’ve been hurt in the past, even though you know you could be hurt again. Someone you can feel so connected with, you lose yourself a little bit. A person to miss when you must be apart, and make your heart swell up impossibly big when they come back.
So I say thank you, my most unlikely love, for affecting me. For letting me in on the secret of secrets, the reasons the movies keep being made and the songs keep being sung, for knowing me and letting me know you and for giving me the most wonderful us.