The Mark Blog

Falling in Love Again

It’s been years since I’ve fallen in love. The old-fashioned, moon-eyed, swooning, heart-palpitating kind of love. A love like the first time, or the second, third, or even fourth time, when all the good moments were pure bliss and the bad ones led to black pits of self-hating despair. Am I too jaded for that kind of love now, too smart, too set in my ways? Do I even want it?

Before this becomes a Sex & The City confessional column, I will say that I haven’t totally missed it. Which isn’t to say I haven’t wanted it. But I’ve been too distracted harboring another kind of romance: my love affair with writing.

They’re not so far apart, these two. Consider the typical stages of relationships:

Stage One: Desire

You meet someone and it just flows. It’s like you’ve known them your whole life, or like your life has led up to this moment. You complete each other. You give each other a reason to get up every day and face the world. You think about the person all day at work and can’t wait to come home to them at night. You shower them with attention every chance you get. Nothing else in the world matters as much as this person. You lose yourself in them and are happy to be lost. You feel like you’re ready to take it to the next level. So you move in together.

Stage Two: Doubt

And then… you see the real person. They’re not as beautiful as you thought. They have bad habits, ugly tics, they’re not neat enough, or they’re too neat, or they’re lazy and maybe even shallow. You can no longer fathom spending months, let alone years with them. You see through all their charms. They’re no fun anymore. You’re not sure what you ever saw in them and you regret spending so much time with someone like them. You tell them it’s done. Over. You leave. You don’t see them for months.

Stage Three: Depression

But you’re no happier alone. In fact, you’re miserable. You miss them, even with all their flaws. You wallow in self-pity, in the idealized fantasy you create of what could have been. You realize there was something special that you need in your life, even if you have to start all over. Just when you’re about to give up, you meet someone else. They remind you of the last one, only now you’re both ready to do the work.

Stage Four: Dedication

You loosen your ego and your selfish desires. You help each other become better individuals, and the love grows and deepens. You have a true union, a working partnership based on mutual respect. Sometimes you need breaks, and that’s okay, personal time is respected. Eventually, you want to create something beautiful together. You read all the manuals, take all the classes, drop any bad habits or bad friends or baggage that could harm the creation of a perfect child. You find a midwife, a doula, even secure a nanny, anything that helps you become mentally, physically, and spiritually ready for the birthing and raising of the child, the by-product of your love.

Stage Five: Divorce

The next stage is still a mystery to me. There will be the inevitable letting go, as one would have to let a child loose into the unforgiving world. Or maybe it’s more like setting your partner free. I’m a little lost in the metaphor now. But you get the idea.

Starting the Mark program was like entering Stage Four (Antoine Wilson makes an excellent doula). The collection is really beginning to take shape, and I’m seeing it as a whole for the first time, which is exciting. But there’s still a lot of work to do. I’d like to have a finished product by the end of the program, but more likely I’ll have a solid second draft.

As for the other kind of love… Well, there’s always next year.