"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
1)I remember the first time I realized that love is less about being something than it is about letting be.
2)I say the first time because I think I've realized it a lot, and forgotten it just as many times.
3)Some people say that we don't have a lot of realizations in our lives, just the same ones over and over.
4)I was in the dining hall. Funny how important revelations never come in churches or temples or places set aside for revelation.
5)I was standing in line, actually, with the first girl I was ever serious about, and I was tired.
6)I think it was lunchtime. It doesn't really matter, the important part is that I was tired and she was tired.
7)And we were both freakishly busy. This was like, the only moment we'd had to see each other all day.
8)Possibly multiple days. And I remember thinking, I wish I wasn't so tired.
9)Because really, I thought, how can I be cute or charming when I'm this tired?
10)I should have found an excuse to skip lunch, because now she's going to see me when I'm tired and stressed.
11)I'm not nearly as funny--or cute, or charming--when I'm tired.
12)We got our trays and went through the line and sat down, and it finally dawned on me that she was just as tired as I was.
13)I still wanted to see her. She wasn't funny when she was tired either, but I didn't care.
14)So we complained about stuff to each other, and were all tired together, and neither of us was cute or charming.
15)And it was so, so nice. I was like, wow. This is an actual relationship.
16)As opposed to two people just going out on dates, you know?
17)I realized that I didn't have to be something in particular to be a part of that.
18)I just had to let it be: let her be her, and me be me, and together we were whatever we were.
19)Tonight I had the same sort of revelation about my family, and again, it's one of of those recurring realizations.
20)Where you do something stupid, something that isn't at all cute, but it's okay because no one cares.
21)Or maybe it's okay because they care: they care about you, not about the things you do.
22)I had this stress moment where I lost my keys between the driver's door and the trunk, right?
23)It was late, cold, starting to rain, everyone was tired and some of them were not feeling well.
24)I was like, don't come out, I'll find them, just carry on.
25)But of course my whole family's out there looking, because I lost my spare key months ago and never had a new one made.
26)So if I don't find these keys, I'm not going anywhere. And I Just Had Them.
27)Seriously, I had my keys when I unlocked the trunk from the driver's seat.
28)I went around to put my duffel in the trunk, came back, and my keys were gone.
29)Takes me maybe four, five minutes to finally locate them in the trunk, where they'd apparently fallen out of my hand unnoticed.
30)I don't know, I was distracted or something. As usual. My dad laughs, my mom rolls her eyes, and I'm like, yay me.
31)But you know what? They don't love me less for losing my keys. They know I'm a flake and they love me anyway.
32)I don't have to be something in particular to have my family's love, anymore than I had to Be Something for my girlfriend.
33)They love me, and believe me, they know me already. I'm not making an impression, here.
34)I'm just letting myself be me, not beating myself up for it, and letting them be them, not expecting some crazy ideal.
35)It takes some kind of courage to just let yourself be. But isn't that what we do for the people we love?