Seventy degrees, cool breeze coming from the beach located a couple of minutes away, I am sitting down on the front patio of one of my favorite spots in Santa Monica called Blue Daisy Cafe while I wait for Jessica -a girl I met the Wiltern during a show several years ago- she wanted to get together while I was in town for the weekend, and with no plans set in stone I said why not, very few things in life bring more joy than the company of a person who enjoys and appreciates your presence and lets you know about it.
Minutes later after grabbing my first drink of the day, she sneaks up from behind, surprises me with a hug and that ever-so cheesy smile of hers, we exchange pleasantries and away we go, diving into a catch-up session and share stories about life in general while we relish and savor every bite of our brunch.
Once we were done with it and slurping on several drinks, the fun began, it has been sometime since the last time I went out on a “normal, not crazy, filled with drama” type of brunch date, of course, I didn’t make much of it cause I know where we both stand on our friendship, as she is the type of girl that you want to keep around because you know you can confide in her, because she accepts you for who you are and more importantly, because of the fact that she feels comfortable and at ease to the point of displaying her entire spectrum of emotions and odd quirks we all have.
Why is it so hard to accept someone’s genuine love, one that you know is real and impartial… Why is it so hard to accept the “I love you” of someone that means it?
After several hours of hanging around town, we go to a coffee spot off Beverly Drive, and yet another golden moment, a life lesson would shine in front of me. She got emotional when talking about a guy that she considered to be “one that got away” and all because he was able to provide much more than just a stable life, and a solid future, he was one of those guys that goes above and beyond his means to make a girl happy even if she is not able to see it. She told me that ultimately what was scary about the possibility of a happily-ever-after was the moment he uttered the words “I love you“.
I asked her “Why? Why is it so hard to accept someone’s genuine love, one that you know is real and impartial”. How do I know that? Because the enamored person is the one bringing vulnerability to the table, because that person is the one that is coming clean and putting all the cards on the table, because they are the ones with much more to lose. So what do YOU have to lose? Why is it so hard to accept the “I love you” of someone that means it?
And then, she said “Because if I reciprocate those words, it will change everything. Not only at the surface and the relationship itself but also it will change me, something within me will change and I am afraid of that“. I was stunned, for the first time in awhile I didn’t know how to respond to that, not because I didn’t know what to say but because I knew exactly where she was going with all of this.
My mind loss all awareness of our surroundings and even my sight loss focus of her, everything became blurry, almost as if everything was vanishing around me. In that very moment, I started having flashbacks of the times I experienced her exact same feelings she was trying to convey. I recalled the times when I was in the same situation she found herself in, when someone else was willing to do everything for me, willing to go the distance for me, willing to do whatever it takes just to see a smile on my face, just to see me happy. The times when a woman felt so safe and at ease with me that she was willing to bear her soul, her most intimate dreams and greatest fears. The times in which a woman hinted at the possibility of a real relationship in a very subtle and implicit way, the times where she said “I love you” and waited for me to take action and reciprocate the feeling, a feeling I did not have in me.
“A change that would force me to love a woman as much as she loves me, a change that requires commitment… to look after and place someone else’s best interests before mine.”
No one, not a single person likes to utter the words “I love you” and not hear it back, it is a very vulnerable place to be in because the other person already knows you love them, and from that moment on, they hold the upper hand in the relationship. I have been in that position a handful of times, and it is not an enviable spot to be in. You know you hold the knife they have gifted you, and in your hands you have the power to shatter, and slice their hopes and dreams to pieces. I never been one to say “I don’t love you” I simply let it go, change subject or don’t say anything because I’ve been on the short end of the stick as well and it fucking sucks.
When she said “…something within me will change and I am afraid of that” that was the moment I had my epiphany, I knew she was right because in all of the moments I had the chance to take a leap of faith and jump into a possible long-lasting relationship, I did not utter the words back to any of them, not because I did not love them, on the contrary, I did and very much. The reason why I did not reciprocate those words was because I simply was not ready for that change. A change that would turn my life one-eighty degrees, and would require me to love a woman as much as she loves me. A change that requires commitment and a life working in unison with someone else from that point moving forward, to look after and place someone else’s best interests before mine.
If that was the price to pay, I simply was not ready to do so, not only for me but also in her best interest because that would be short-selling her on love, because it would be cheating her from the relationship she actually deserves, because of not being able to live up to the possible prince charming expectations she has in her head, because she deserves better than me.
As much as I would love to utter those words to every girl I feel attracted to, and every single one I have ever been with, I just can’t. I am not willing to go there because even though I am fully capable of fulfilling the role they want, it would be lip service, pitching a false sense of security and love. It would be signing off on a verbal agreement that I am the one they are looking for when I know I’m not.
Maybe I was, maybe I am ready but I don’t know that for a fact, all I know is that I understood exactly what Jessica said, about being afraid of the change within, a change that I am fully aware of and repercussions it brings when uttering the words “I love you“, uttering the words that will change your life forever in a blink of an eye.