The song This Must Be the Place is one of those songs I could listen to over and over again. (I actually have three different renditions of this song on my Spotify playlists. Talking Heads of course, then Lumineers, and then Feronia.)
Two lines have been rolling through my head today…
And you love me till my heart stops.
Love me till I’m dead.
If you are familiar with the song, the singer pauses slightly after “stops” which to me implies my heart isn’t going to be stopping anytime soon. It’s not like you are going to love me for three hours and when my heart suddenly stops, you are off the hook (I realize that sounds dirty, but it was not intentional). Nope, you are in it for the long haul.
The song goes on to say “eyes that light up, eyes look through you”. Eyes so lit up with love, they look right through you and past your flaws. It’s easy to fall in love with someone.
No really, it is easy.
We forgive or look past so much more at the beginning. You form a connection and you feel special because this person decided to love you the most out of all the other people they could have chosen. And you get to love them too. You get too. It’s a privilege, not a life sentence. And when you hear a line like “love me till I’m dead”, it sounds romantic, not like someone is plotting your death because they are tired of loving you.
ABRUPT WARNING…I am about to draw a conclusion you may not like as I just had a lightbulb moment. So settle back and prepare to be offended.
Once you stop ignoring the imperfections, you start realizing we are all a bunch of assholes. Think about it. Take away your filter. Take away your politeness. Really focus in on your raw self before you add all the layers of the good things your parents taught you about how to treat people right and care about others.
Fine, maybe you still don’t think you are an asshole. You might be a better person than me, and that’s okay. I will admit it though. I am an asshole. At my most basic, I really only care about myself. It’s human nature, people. Survival of the fittest. Don’t get me wrong, I love my three little chickens, but if there is one piece of candy left, I may not eat it and I will offer it to them, but is that my first instinct? No. My first instinct is to shove the candy in my mouth and let them know how much I really enjoyed it. Now add layers of non-assholeness and I know that is not the kind thing to do and sharing is caring and I love them more than anything so I should really split the candy with them.
Keep in mind, those are the three children I birthed. They actually lived inside of me for 9 months each. They have a home field advantage. Which isn’t really affording them much of an advantage to be honest. Sometimes I still eat that last piece of candy.
Back to the subject at hand…easy to fall in love, not so easy to live together as assholes until your heart stops beating. But we do it. We get married, eyes closed, and promise to love each other for better and for worse. Let me ask you this though, would you get surgery without hearing all the possible side-effects first? Probably not, but we get married and the contract doesn’t attach Appendix A that lists out all the better stuff that is going to happen and Appendix B that lists out all the worser stuff. But we still sign on the dotted line.
So why do we do it? And why do some people go the distance while others opt out? If you think I am going to give you the answer, you’re wrong because I have no freakin’ clue. I do know my husband is fully aware I am an asshole and I know he is one too. We’ve known this for a long time now though. (Exhibit A, eighteen years ago, he pinky swore he wouldn’t get a salad, let me order some big bowl of pasta, then ordered a salad. This resulted in a giant fight where we left the restaurant without eating. I sat on a bench and cried. He went home and got scolded for being an asshole by his roommate.)
Pretty sure I’ve called him an asshole multiple times this week. And I’m sure he will tell me when I’m being one, it just doesn’t happen as often (sort of joking here, but not really). So maybe that is what love becomes, as the years go by and it strips down each layer and exposes the worst part of yourself, you either decide to keep on loving each other or you decide what’s been exposed is just a little too ugly and you move on.
For now, we will keep wearing our dysfunction on our sleeves. It’s healthier that way. I’d much rather he see me at my worst and call me out on it to my face. And rest assured, I will do the same for him. Because if anything, we are here to remind each other how to be better role models for the three chickens we are trying to raise. As the song says, “make it up as we go along”. That is all we are doing. I don’t care how old you get or how long you have been married, no one has an instruction book. Or a crystal ball for that matter. We just make it up as we go along and hope we don’t traumatize the chickens.