Friday, October 4, 2013

a letter to my cousin, re: soulmates.

Below is a letter to my cousin, who sent me a text after reading yesterday's post, wondering what I thought about soulmates. She probably wasn't asking for an in-depth response, but she knows that's really all I have to offer. In-depth is just how I roll. So, Ashley, this one's for you. (And the rest of you? I suppose you'll just have to suffer through.)


Dear fuzzy*, 

You asked me to tell you what I thought about soulmates, but you asked me via text, and I think we both knew that no good, thoughtful response was going to come via text. (I don't really do pithy.) We also both know I do my best thinking by writing, and so no answer felt more honest or genuine than the one I started to type. 

I had a professor in college who taught that when discussing anything of any importance, we really need to define our terms. Unnecessary and unfounded arguments arise when we don't clearly define for people what we're talking about, so let's start there. 

When people talk about soulmates or finding "the one," I cringe. And part of my discomfort, you should know, comes from my personality type. Lovey-dovey stuff, especially when professed or demonstrated publicly, makes me uncomfortable. It feels fake, somehow, to me, but I fully understand that for many people, finding "the one" isn't fake or for show. It's real, and I respect that. It's just not for me. 

Before Jordan and I were even engaged, an uncle (not your dad, no worries) asked me if I believed there was one person for everyone. I'm not sure anymore what prompted that question, but I remember exactly what I answered. 


I don't believe that. I don't believe it because it doesn't strike me as fair. If there's only one person for each of us, we could live our wholes lives never meeting "the one." Our soulmate might be in China while we're in Chicago, and that doesn't sit right with me. I told my uncle the same thing I'm going to tell you. 

Love is a choice, a decision. I choose to love Jordan. (Some days, it's harder than others.) As we get older, I'm hopeful that treating love as a choice will mean Jordan and I will not fall out of love. Instead, we understand each day requires effort. Love isn't always easy, but it's good, and I believe it's a decision I make. 

I believe I could have chosen someone else, and I don't think that diminishes my love for Jordan in the least. I believe I could have chosen someone else, but I'm so glad I didn't, and I'm fairly confident I would have had a hard time finding anyone to suit me better. (I've said many times, publicly and privately, that I fully believe I would have been a content spinster had I not met Jordan. A crazy cat lady without the cats.) 

Jordan fits me in so many different ways. Do I believe in soulmates, in one, single person for everyone?  No. But do I believe in kindred spirits, in connections? Absolutely. I believe in friends that feel like family. I believe in love that grows stronger each year. I believe in attraction and in contentment and in best friends forever. 

You know me well. You know I am stubborn and at times, unpleasant. You know I get grouchy when I'm hungry, and I need alone time to survive. You know water makes me unbelievably happy, and drama drives me crazy. 

At my bridesmaids luncheon, when we played the "who knows Annie best" game (best game ever, by the way), do you remember who won? Do you remember, out of all my friends, who knew me best? 

You. And you were 15.

We are kindred spirits, and you know why? Blood and time. You know all of those things because we have spent nearly 20 years getting to know each other. We finish each other's sentences and can say a lot without saying a word. We like the same TV shows and know -- for the most part -- when we each need space. We just get each other, even when we drive each other crazy.

That's what I think about love. Jordan knows me incredibly well, better than almost anyone. That's because nine years ago, we started hanging out. And we talked about everything, even hard things. We argued and disagreed and shared our hopes and fears. We got to know each other, and we took our time. 

When I met Jordan, sparks didn't fly. I didn't think, "This is it." (Again, I'm not really prone to those feelings any way. I'm a "T," remember?) But I do remember thinking we had a lot in common. And I remember really enjoying spending time with him. It wasn't long -- weeks, maybe -- before I began introducing him as my best friend. 

Fifty years from now, will I think of Jordan as my soulmate? 

Yes. I think so. 

Because by then, we'll have known each other most of our lives. I believe our souls will be connected because of time and work and choosing to love. 

Do I believe in soulmates like so many other people do? No. But I do believe in loving for a lifetime. I believe our grandparents gave us that legacy. I look at pictures of Mama and Papa, and I'm always struck by how happy they seemed with each other. They look like best friends. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, love takes work and effort and time, but true love is fun. The work is worth it. The effort is easy. The time passed is fast. 

Jordan is my best friend, my husband, my partner for life. If that's how you're defining soulmate, well, then, I suppose he's mine. 

Did that clear things up? 

I love you, and I disagree with Jordan. I think we probably could have been married and done just fine. 

Your Lorelai

* Friend + Cousin = Fuzzin, or Fuzzy


Elizabeth said...

I love this, you echo so many of my own feelings about soul mates and love. Sometimes I fear that I'm being a downer and that this attitude has something to do with my single state, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't believe in The One. And I hope that someday I'll meet a man that I will become that person that fits me perfectly, but I know it will be through choices and work not some kind of magic spark.

Anonymous said...

I don't think my first comment went through, so I'll try this again... Beautifully written friend!

There is no one person - there is one choice: to love. I've always thought of love as a verb not a noun, because it's an action and a choice, especially on the days when it feels impossible! ; )

Betsy said...

I am going to bookmark this and read it over and over. It is perfect (to me). I am an F. A strong one. Yet, I think this is so true. I think that's why people say marriage can be hard (and it can.) It's not always all the feelings. It's choosing each other every day. You word it so incredibly well!!

RA said...

Bravo! I completely agree, especially this part:

"Do I believe in soulmates like so many other people do? No. But I do believe in loving for a lifetime. I believe our grandparents gave us that legacy. I look at pictures of Mama and Papa, and I'm always struck by how happy they seemed with each other. They look like best friends."

Yes. Exactly.

This post reminds me of this awesome post from Hannah.

Mary said...

I love this, I totally agree about there not being "the one," but I do think God has a "best" for everyone.

Rachael L. Anderson said...

Like you, I don't believe in one soulmate, but I do believe God has a "best" for each person.

Kristen Peterson said...

Love this letter. Your reference to Lorelai (assuming Gilmore) is perfection. I appreciate your thoughts so very much!