Let’s Write: An Open Letter to the Hopeless Romantics

There’s a knock at your door. It’s about noon on a Saturday and you’re curious as to who it could be because you live alone and all your friends decided to go to the beach without you, even though they claimed that you were invited. Curious, you turn your doorknob and open the door to reveal the guy who once bought you coffee at the Starbucks down the street. You don’t know his name or why he is there, all you know is that you wanted this to happen forever. He’s panting and is holding a dozen white roses in his fist.

“I think I could be in love with you,” he says between breaths and you jump into his arms, kiss him, and ride off into the sunset, even though it’s still noon. Your alarm goes off and you wake up. If this dream sounds like something you would think up, then you may be a romantic. Welcome, we’ve been expecting you and the first message we would like to say is:

You are not alone.

We exist, we are out there thinking up wedding proposals with flash mobs and animal assistants, and picket fences, and puppies named Chowder and Emmett. We exist, yet we are colluded by cliches; hidden beneath the romantic comedy tropes of boomboxes held over heads and love poems read aloud in class so as to profess a newfound feeling we never knew existed. We are also hidden beneath the raindrops of the torrential downpours on beaches and cold winter nights spent spooning under the covers. It’s appropriate to say that our expectations on love are constructed by these notions found in every film and television show because they are things that surround us everyday. And that’s okay. We hold those scenes so close to our hearts, because it’s what we feel is true to us. It fills us with hope and we try our best to bring those romantic professions out of the fiction and into the reality.

But in a world that is constantly changing, are these notions slowly going extinct, just as quickly as the romantic is disappearing? With the uprising of Tinder and Grindr and social media, in general, have we as a society lost track of traditional romance? Will we no longer hold boomboxes over our heads or write love poems? Have we already traded these for right swipes and thumbs up? For the romantic, these notions aren’t something that is going to be given up easily. We will hold steadfast and stoic in our ways, knowing that our romantic gestures aren’t for naught. It’s a lonely road, but it’s one that’s worth taking.

So perhaps, romance isn’t dead, maybe it’s just changing with the time and haphazardly sweeping the traditional notions under the rug of outdated cliches? But that doesn’t mean we, as romantics, should let up. That’s not in our nature. When all else fails, isn’t love the only thing left worth fighting for? If it’s there, shouldn’t we hold on for dear life and hope that it will work out? We are needed in the world, because we perpetuate the idea that true love and romance still exists out there somehow. We feel the need to say how we feel all the time in letters and grand gestures because that’s how we were taught to act. Yet to those who brush that off as cliche and tired, see us as weak. Romantics aren’t weak and whiny and holed up in their rooms hopelessly dreaming; romantics are strong and adamant. We aren’t hopeless or whiny or even hopeful; we’re certain. To all the romantics out there: stay certain.

Let’s Commemorate: My Four Years in College.

It isn’t until you are so close to the edge, so close that you can feel the wind push your hair and chill your bones, that you realize: this is it. You are leaving the warm comforting womb of college and academics and venturing off into the great, big world. You’re probably thinking, “I’m not ready,” and you’re probably right, you’re not. Fears of becoming unemployed forever, useless beyond opening pickle jars and killing flies, fill your head and you can’t see past that. You breakdown, you cry, you get back up again, you start over. This is the process of the college graduate. I am experiencing it, my friends are experiencing it, and you may too.

It’s fine.

You’re not alone.

I’ve been told that writing things down helps you deal with the stresses and anxieties at hand. Okay, time for one final assignment. If you feel sad or anxious or scared, take out your phone or a piece of paper or write on your hand exactly why you feel this way. Explore this feeling. Delve deep into your heart and pull out the fear, pull out the sadness, and look at it for what it is: temporary. Write them all down and after each one, in huge, bold letters write that word. Let them remain temporary and they won’t bother you anymore.

I never saw myself graduating college. The process itself was grueling and tedious and expensive. You just think that there’s nothing more to life than this, right now. Class, drinks, study, tests, pay tuition. There may be no beauty in the process, but the product is stunningly radiant. Then you reach those penultimate days where the finish line is in sight and you can hear the cheering crowd. Your parents are crying with joy, your friends are with you, feet stamping the pavement, and you don’t know they’re there until you look around. Forget about the finish line, forget that it’s something ending. Look around at your family and your friends and see this for what it is: It’s the beginning. Your whole life is right there in front of you and it’s bright and shiny and new. It’s okay to be afraid of the unknown. It’s okay to not be ready. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling.

I’m not ready, but that’s not going to stop me.

Let’s Examine: Doubt Removal.

You hear the voice everyday. It speaks to you when it’s quiet. It speaks to you when you have nothing to do. It speaks to you when all else is fleeting. That voice’s name is doubt. It’s a heartless son of bitch that lives to leave chaos in its wake and push every care aside. The only way to get rid of doubt is to drag it, kicking and screaming, into the cold, harsh light of day (please note that this is only a temporary solution and not one that completely eradicates it from existence. If you do have one that eliminates it completely, please do reach out because I’d love to give it a shot).

There are several things that make this technique work:
1) You must be completely honest, no matter how difficult it may be.

Honesty, in a sense is the best policy. The reason the phrase is so cliche and tired is because it’s been tried so many times that there is a shred of truth embedded within the syntax. It’s fool-proof and difficult. Without honesty, doubt will mature within your mind and eventually create a family with little doubtlets. Once this happens, you won’t want to get rid of doubt because you will then be destroying an entire family and no one wants to do that.

2) You must talk to someone who won’t simply mirror responses you want to hear or will talk about themselves. Your person must be open and helpful and there for you 100%.

Disclaimer: Do not talk to those who are intoxicated, high, or tired. They are in altered states of being whose opinion may or may not be 100% sound. These are not the people you want to spill your guts to, these are the people to hang out with afterwards (should getting drunk, high, or sleepy be your coping mechanism to the utter banishment of doubt). Your person should be just that: YOUR PERSON. Someone you have trusted for years on end and have proven themselves worthy of that title. They will tell you things that are difficult to hear and will hold you together no matter what. Even if it takes tape and glue, they will make sure you do not fall apart. These people are the best people in the world. Never lose them and never take them for granted.

3) Tears may be a part of the process, so it’s pertinent that you do not be afraid.

Crying is good. It’s fantastic. It’s what floods the doubt and drives them from your head. It cleanses. Don’t run away from them. Run towards them. Tough times may lay ahead of you, but you will overcome them if you follow these steps.*

*Results may vary because I am not an expert, these steps have not been put through any proper trials, and life is relative to personal experiences, trauma, and willingness. Take my word at your own caution and I hope that you never feel doubt ever again.

Let’s Question: Love and Doubt.

Love, as of always, has been the most interesting, most frustrating, most satisfying topic to look at. It has brought me fear at the things people have done for love, it has brought me hope at what could possibly be true love for me, and it has brought me doubt for the love I may never be able to attain. Where there is doubt, there is fear. This idea came to me after watching an episode of Jane The Virgin (of course, a television show would bring me such an idea because as young adults, we consume hundreds of hours of media and pop culture every week) and Jane’s Grandmother, Alba (played by Ivonne Coll) said: “You can poke holes in anything […], but Faith is the absence of doubt.”

That last line sat with me for a while: “Faith is the absence of doubt.” An absolute faith in your partner is essential; it’s the key to the locked door of eternal happiness. Have you ever doubted the person you’ve been with? Do you still carry those doubts? I think I still do, if we’re being completely honest. But what if those doubts are there for a reason? What if that’s my gut telling me when to hold back or to move on? What if? What if? What if? Two words put together create one of the worst questions you could ever ask yourself. They warrant answers that are revealing, but why do they have to be so multifaceted? They act on every possible angle, whether or not you’re aware that you can look at it that way. Let’s get back to doubt. If they’re present for a reason, in which capacity do they act in? Are they inhibitors or are they catalysts? Are they obstacles you have to overcome? I’m not sure this post has any other purpose other than to pose questions that I can’t even begin to answer. Maybe I’m asking you, dear reader, if there is a reason for doubt. Maybe I’m asking if three words, eight letters are the actual key to happiness. Does a key exist or do you just have to knock on the door?

Let’s Define: The Tinker Bell Theory

This is me thinking out loud. If you’re like me, you’ve given upwards of fifty presentations, speeches, talks (what have you) in the last five years of your life. Most likely not, because it’s rare that you are me. One thing i’ve noticed as of late was the response I’d receive from my audience. Before I’d even speak professionally or delve into my topic, I’d get an applause. Not because I’m famous (i’m one of the furthest people from fame), but just random bursts from people. I’ve learned to equate it with an innate sense of awkwardness I assume I exude when i’m behind a podium. I crack jokes, I make it seem inappropriate, and have probably ended up swearing under my breath. After tracking the occurrences down, I wondered if they’re doing it out of pity for my awkwardness or in spite of it? Do they feel that I need this boost to perform better or do they genuinely like my presence? Are they the proverbial public speaking Viagra, medically proven to keep my spirit up for at least four hours of intense, knowledge dropping speech giving? A part of me wants to say that it’s because they genuinely like me. However, the only flaw in that is that most classmates rarely interact with each other and are therefore unable to create a bond that would warrant such uproarious applause. Given the options I’ve laid out, it’s probably because they feel that I am awkward and don’t do this very often. Joke’s on them, it’s an act. I’m very comfortable in front of groups and behind podiums. Just like Tinker Bell, I’ll revel in their applause and come to life before their very eyes.

Have you ever felt this feeling? It may not even be applause, but that someone is doing something out of character or have gone out of their way to make you feel better. I suppose in those terms, it wouldn’t even be a Tinker Bell Theory, it’d just be being a good, well-rounded individual (a feat most humans have an extremely hard time achieving). Regardless of that, if ever we were to meet, you’d get an applause from me.