go ahead- break their heart

photo

“The heart was made to be broken.” -Oscar Wilde

That guy from your art class. The girl who comes in every day for her coffee order. Go ahead.
The guy you met yesterday. That girl you’ve known your whole life. Go ahead.

Go ahead- start the conversation. Compliment their shirt, tell them their hair looks nice. Commiserate about the morning commute. Laugh.

Go ahead- make plans. See a movie, get dinner, have coffee, hang out. Get to really know each other. Be surprised by the things you both like, and don’t. Look forward to them. Have fun. Be happy.

Go ahead- fall harder than you intended. Be afraid, but do it anyway. Become incredibly and irrevocably important to each other. Share things you don’t share with many (or any) other people. Connect. Understand. Grow.

Go ahead- get comfortable. Memorize their pizza order and their favorite beer. Get addicted to their tv shows. Steal their Netflix password. Become genuine friends with their friends and learn to love those people as much as they do. Quit censoring yourself around them. Expect them there for the important and unimportant stuff.

Go ahead- fight. Get (a little) jealous when you’re supposed to. Be upset when they’re not paying attention or giving back. Call them out on their bullshit. Let them do the same for yours. Learn when to let it slide, and when you shouldn’t. And when you can’t.

Go ahead- try. Make the effort to keep it together, with everything you have. Do nice things for each other, and check yourself when you’re getting overly annoyed at the small stuff. Revisit the early times and the old jokes, the things that bonded you together. Take a deep breath.

Go ahead- admit it isn’t working. Talk it over with your friends, but make sure you make the decision yourself. Sit on it for a few days. Really think about what it means. Man/woman up, and choose.

Go ahead- break their heart. Recognize that if you’re in it for any reason other than love, you’re not doing them any favors. Loyalty, pity, fear of loss, jealousy- understand that these are not reasons to stay with them. Be honest. Don’t tell them you can still be friends if you can’t (hint: you probably can’t). Hold them when they cry, and leave when you have to.

Go ahead- miss them. Miss them even though you don’t think you have a right to. Don’t get mad when you see that they’re okay- you knew they would be eventually. Know that letting them go was the best thing you could have done for them and that someday, when they find out what you two were lacking, they’ll know it too.

Go ahead- try again. Learn from the last one. Don’t forget a single feeling, but don’t be too afraid when you feel it all again. Don’t feel guilty if it’s been three years, or three months, and don’t let that be the thing that stops you. If it seems worth it, give it a shot.

Go ahead. Life is for living- if you do it right, it’s gonna hurt. It’ll surprise you and knock you on your ass and make you indescribably happy and miserable. And if you do it right, it’ll be worth it.

So go ahead- text her. Screw that, give her a call. Tell him he’s funny. Agree to a date, and give it a whirl. You might end up never seeing her again. You might end up having to break his heart. But you might not.

Go ahead.

who were you when the flash went off?

IMG_0229“And the moral of the story is that you don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.” -John Green

Do you ever look at a photo you’re in and try to remember what life was like for you in that moment? What it was to be you, looking into the camera, instead of you, looking back on the moment you were trying to capture?

Who were you when the flash went off?

Were you smiling because you were genuinely happy or because the camera was about to click? Is the person next to you someone you wanted there? Can you remember the way their arm felt around your shoulders and what they were saying in the moment before you turned to smile?

There is such an intense focus for us to preserve each moment, to document every detail of our lives- and to make sure they’re perfect in their documentation. My hair’s not right. You blinked. He didn’t smile. Someone threw up bunny ears- Take it again, with flash.

We get so concerned about taking that perfect photo that we end up documenting a manufactured moment instead of the one that was truly lived. And then we peruse a slew of filters to color the moment even more, to make it look less and less like the thing it was.

Over time, we see that photo again and again- catch a glance of it on our bulletin board or stumble upon it on Facebook. And what we begin to remember is not what it felt like to be alive that night, laughing with friends over drinks or hugging our parents at graduation. We remember what the photo shows us: the perfectly manufactured moment of somebody we used to be.

We try so desperately to find ways to remember, that we forget to actually live the life the photo captures. Instead of worrying if we’ll look perfect when the camera goes off, we should be worrying if we’ve fully taken in the smell of mom’s perfume standing next to us or the punchline of the joke a friend made about the photographer.

The moments that weren’t captured, that can’t be captured- those are the moments worth remembering.

A perfect photo will remind you where you were standing and what you were wearing in one single instant of your life. If you don’t look around and take in that moment for yourself, if you don’t appreciate it while it’s happening, the photo won’t be much help in reminding you who you were when it was taken.

The best stories, the best memories and the best lives don’t come from people who live for the perfectly manufactured moments. They come from the people who are too busy enjoying what’s around them to worry about documenting it.