Tuesday, November 22, 2011

P.S. I Love You

The first time I watched P.S. I Love You, I cried during the whole movie.

At that time my marriage was on the rocks, and I had never known the kind of love that Gerry and Holly had. I had never known what it felt like to be truly, deeply desired. To know that I was adored, loved, and accepted, just for being myself and no one else—I’d never understood what that felt like, and watching that movie the first time was heartbreaking, because it held up a mirror to my own life, to my own marriage, and I felt a deep, gaping hole in my soul. A hole I had created by giving up pieces of myself, by turning myself into someone I thought my then husband wanted me to be, by trying to live up to some invisible standard, some invisible expectation of perfection: fake it till you make it, to the extreme, as if living a perfect life and upholding an empty image for long enough would finally will that perfection into being, and everything would be ok.

Then my life fell apart… and I fell apart.

A couple of months after my ex-husband moved out of our house, I was walking through a used DVD store. I found myself feeling some—I don’t know—instruction, almost, to purchase P.S. I Love You.

I remembered how that movie made me feel. I walked away from it, but kept circling back. The insistence was relentless. I didn’t understand it, but I picked up the movie, set it on the counter, paid for it, and then it proceeded to sit on my shelf for another month or two before finally, one day, I felt myself tearing off the plastic wrapper and signing up for two hours of crying.

But this time it was different.

This time I understood where the gaping hole was—where it had been. I understood the choices I’d made that had led me to settling, and I recognized my accountability in those decisions and the behavior I exhibited that solidified my bad decisions.

And I knew that I had made the right move, by setting myself free, and by setting my ex free, I was really giving both of us permission to be happy.

I cried for that two hours, yes. But that time, I no longer felt the desperation and hopelessness and regret that I’d felt before.

This time, I felt sadness. I watched that movie at just the right time so that it was yet another step in my grieving process.

I didn’t only feel sadness, though.

I also felt hope.

Hope that I could, one day, have a love that ran as deep as the love between Gerry and Holly. I finally realized that I deserve that kind of love. That I’m worthy of it. And I knew that one day soon, I would be ready for it.

Tonight, I felt a calling to watch P.S. I Love You, yet again.

I had tried journaling, and I touched on what I was feeling in my journal. I tried playing piano, and I touched on what I felt while playing. But I knew I needed a good, hard cry to accept my own feelings, and to embrace them.

I wasn’t sure why that particular movie tugged at me, though… I wasn’t sure, until I started watching it. Most of the movie is overflowing with sadness—sadness from grief and also from the depth of love that Gerry has for Holly… And I wasn’t feeling sad.

Then it hit me… and the feelings overwhelmed me, and I spent the next two hours crying.

My favorite letter in the movie is the last one Gerry sends:
Dear Holly, 
I don't have much time. I don't mean literally, I mean you're out buying ice cream and you'll be home soon. But I have a feeling this is the last letter, because there is only one thing left to tell you. It isn't to go down memory lane or make you buy a lamp, you can take care of yourself without any help from me. It's to tell you how much you move me, how you changed me. You made me a man, by loving me Holly. And for that, I am eternally grateful... literally. 
If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you're sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you'll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I'm a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I'm just one chapter in yours. There'll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. 
Don't be afraid to fall in love again. 
Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. 
P.S. I will always love you 

My life, as I’ve always known it, has ended, and a new life has begun.

I knew it the first time David and I kissed.

But I knew it before that.

I knew it when I saw his smile for the first time. I knew it when we started flirting. I knew it when he asked me out, and when he told me I have an intoxicating smile.

And when he first held me, I thought I had never been held before, by anyone, because it had never felt like it feels with him.

It’s unnerving and overwhelming and most definitely more than I bargained for. But I knew, the minute I laid eyes on David, that he would move me.

So, yes…

I am in love.

It’s so much more than that, though.

I trust him.

And most phenomenally—

I have given him my whole heart.

It feels good, and naked, and scary, but honestly, the fear is so pale at this point, and continuing to shrink every single day.

"There are two energies on this planet: fear and love. Fear contracts, love expands. Her Holiness Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi teaches to think of fear and love as two plants—you're always watering one of them with your thoughts. All thoughts fall into one category—fear or love—so which plant are you choosing to water and grow?" - Katharine Sise

I choose love.

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