It’s my day off and while I’d love to tell you I’m drinking a mimosa while staring whimsically off into the sunset over the Pacific, I am currently smashed in between two pantsuits in the civil hallway of a Los Angeles Courthouse. To my left is a woman who looks slightly older than myself, writing notes frantically in preparation for a child custody hearing, her toes tapping nervously on the linoleum floor. To my right is a man checking his emails and I’ve convinced myself he’s a wizard because while he’s getting wifi, I don’t have a single bar. Also he has white hair and a wooden cane that looks like a tree branch he found across the street…clearly a wizard. As my eyes scan the hallway, my heart slightly breaks for every person who had to seek entrance. There are far too many of them, each with their own nightmare to share. What’s crazy and epically sad to me is that everyone is here because of a relationship in their life. So much for happy endings huh?
I am here because of a friend who finally had the courage to get out of an abusive relationship. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of guts. When people use the phrase ‘crazy in love’, they aren’t kidding. The heart is not always rational and the heart makes excuses for things our brain knows all too well. As Vince Vaughn says in Old School, ‘love is blind’. So open your eyes and trust yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. If you don’t feel safe, you aren’t. Love yourself fiercely and honestly. You will never regret it.
An older woman with a really tight top bun and wire rim glasses rushes out of the child custody office making a beeline towards the lady to my left. She apologizes for the delay and says she’s going to speak to Matthew first. The older woman flutters away further down the hall and my bench partner immediately heads off in the opposite direction. I put two and two together and realize that Matthew is the ex, the former love of her life, and father of her 4 year old child she’s been chatting about. I am now watching wide-eyed and totally invested as the soap opera unfolds. My mind is reeling at the fact that they sit in a hallway intentionally apart unable to speak to one another, let alone make eye contact. An invisible barrier of resentment, pain, and broken promises lies between them as if what they once had was all a figment of their imagination. I watched as Matthew followed top bun into the hearing room and while his face was directed towards the room, his eyes never left his ex as she walked away.
Meanwhile, a couple has positioned themselves right in front of me whisper-yelling at each other, the woman across the hall who is pretending not to cry is now more than halfway through a box of Kleenex, and the man to my right is now using his magical wifi to watch a chick in booty shorts hula-hoop. Gross. It has certainly been a weird morning. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I felt like I was in a circle of hell Dante forgot to mention.
Relationships aren’t easy. We are all told that but never truly realize it until we are in the depths of the hard. Sometimes it’s not fun. It isn’t all kisses and cuddling. At some point, you’re going to want to punch that person in the face…YOU WON’T…but you’ll want to. There will be days you love someone but don’t really like them. You have to wake up every morning and make a choice. You have to trust your person will choose you too. You have to be each other’s champions. You fight through the darkness and to the death. In a world with so many distractions it’s easy to lose sight of what’s in front of you. Throw in human nature and it seems like a lost cause all together.
I am telling you it’s not a lost cause. Not always. Just be certain you’re in something that’s authentic and that you aren’t settling in any way. Otherwise, find the nearest exit and do not pass go. Cause let me tell you, if you think the relationship was time consuming, wait until you see all of the paperwork involved in a courthouse. Yikes. Love IS crazy, it’s hard and it’s exhausting. But if you’re lucky, it’s worth it. And who doesn’t love to gamble?