A Royal Reminder of Love

I did not get up early today to watch the wedding of Kate and William. I have not been following all of the blogs, scrolling through pictures, or admiring her beautiful heirloom engagement ring. I haven’t been up to date and I haven’t found myself submerged in Royal Wedding bliss and obsession.

But I’ve found all the hype refreshing.

And while we don’t know more than the glamorized surface level perception of their relationship, it is nice to have trending topics and stories about love. This nearly decade-long courtship that started at college, made its way through breakups and makeups, has now ended in what so many are calling a modern-day, real-life, fairytale. The bride, without titles or royal heritage not only finds the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, but he happens to be an actual prince. The charming is negotiable.

She may not be Cinderella, but she is living and breathing the story so many little girls grew up reading over and over again, praying and hoping and wishing that someday, their prince would come too. Kate didn’t need rescuing and she’s always projected an independent, classy, sophisticated, and ambitious attitude. When they did split however many years ago, she admitted her sadness but wished him well and sought out on her own accord to pursue her own pursuits. And as things always do in one fashion or another, they worked themselves out, and here she is the new stunning Duchess of Cambridge.

As I went to write this blog, I found myself more interested in Kate herself than the wedding. I thought what it must be like to wake up and realize the vows you’re about to take – not only promising loyalty to a man but to a country and its people. She’s slipping on a new pair of shoes, handmade McQueen and lovely, that carries more than just a hefty price tag and heel. She stepped into a role she may have dreamed of being in, but never really conceptualized until she found herself there.

Go ahead and call me a romantic, but she accepted this part and is beautifully playing it all because of love. All because she met someone who forever changed her life.

Getting married to a non-prince may not carry as much weight and pressure as Kate probably felt today, but perhaps that’s why love is partly so scary. And why so many are quick to advise against marriage than for it – the skeptics are quick to deliver divorce ratings if you dare mention you’re interest in nuptials at some point in your life. They are right, it is a wager: when you agree to become exclusive or to ultimately promise to dedicate your life to someone else, you put a lot on the line. Not only your heart but your identity, your day-to-day choices, and your priorities. And if it doesn’t work out, say in the bittersweet story of Princess Diana, you must rebuild your old life back – though, you’ll never be quite the same again. Every lust and rush takes its toll and while I believe we can all find our footing no matter how severe the shatter, making a commitment and being vulnerable carries great risk.

So why do we do it? Why do we all admire the glowing bride and the gushing groom, rising so early to watch people we don’t know share their vows in front of the world? Why do we stand in front of TV monitors at Dunkin Donuts, blocking the line to sip coffee and watch the bride walk? Why do we admire a woman who is living out the fantasy we’ve all seen ourselves in at some point? Why do we tear up at weddings – royal and promoted on Twitter, with its own special section on People.com – or just the typical ceremony? Why do we buy into the buzz, even when we don’t always buy into love and all that stuff, anyway?

Because love is love. And resist it or not, wonder if you’ll lose who you are or find yourself buried in regret at the end of a relationship’s tenure – love is heavy in our hearts and hopeful in our minds. Seeing love displayed with such splendor in magic makes us remember what it felt like to be naïve and optimistic about the love we surely knew we’d find before we knew what it felt like to lose at the game. It makes us get back some of that faith that fairytales can come true, it can happen to us, if we are among the very young at heart.

If we are among those who would rather believe and be deceived time and time again, then to never believe at all. Because someday, maybe our prince will come and maybe he won’t – but I’d rather kiss dozens of frogs than never kiss anyone at all. I’d rather be scared out of my mind of being crushed than to never have a crush or take a leap of faith and trust someone almost as much as I trust myself.

And though I’m not sure I would sincerely want to be a princess and manage the pressure of possibly leadingEngland or any country– I toast to Kate and her prince, who have reminded us all that love doesn’t have to be legitimately royal to be spectacular. Love itself is royalty – something that should be prized and preserved, and with or without money, makes you richer than any jewel or Cartier bridal headset can.

For Better or For Worst

On this day, 25 years ago, my wonderful parents with names that rhyme promised for better or for worse, until death should they part, to support and honor one another, all the days of their lives. My mother made sure the word “obey” was omitted from their vows, as she’d never agree to do such a crazy thing, and really, my dad would never ask her to.

Nevertheless, when it has been the best of times and the worse of times, when there have been little reason to honor the other person, and when support simply was not enough – my parents have still held true to the promise they made at a tiny chapel, on top of a snowy hill a few days before St. Valentine’s arrival. As far back as I can remember, my dad has stopped in the middle of sentences to ask whoever he was talking to “Isn’t she the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen?” while gazing toward her. And my mom, even with her relentless independence and boldness, blushes when she is surprised with her favorite flower or a hidden note underneath her morning coffee. Together, with a little help from the heavens, they created me and they’ve always said that while we didn’t always have the best of everything, they raised me with the very thing that makes us the richest of all:

Love.

Once I reached the age where I realized my parents weren’t just authorities and a support system who were there to tell me what to do, what not to do, and encourage each aspiration – I started noticing their displays of affection. And as embarrassing as it is, I became jealous of what they had. Maybe even more difficult to admit – during college when men arrived and exited with ease from my heart and my bed, I started getting so frustrated around my parents, that I’d have to leave the room to keep myself from crying.

I never rained on their happily-ever-after parade and I never said anything about my envy, but I know they could see it. Before returning to school after a break, my mom would sometimes say: “Don’t worry, sweetie. When the time and person is right, you’ll find a relationship like your dad and I have. I just know it! I promise!”

But what if I don’t?

As much as I would like to stay in never-never land where everything works out just as it should, where love is always returned as strongly as it is given, and marriages actually last until one of their dying days – I do live in the real world. More specifically – I live in Manhattan. While my friends, the Southern belles are in a knock-off stiletto race to the altar, my Northern sophisticates are running just as quickly in the opposite direction. And then there’s me, the daughter of a Northern firefighter and a Southern astrologer, a transplant from North Carolina living in the Big Apple…somewhere between desiring commitment and fearing it.

There are nights when New York is unforgivingly cold, when work has exhausted me to the point of no return, and when I see two lovebirds flying through the subway on my ride home that I long for someone. And that thirst for a warm body to hold me close and clear my head from a bad day can overtake any positive, any success, any anything in my life. I’ll spend 24-hours completely depressed, feeling unattractive, and even consider texting an old flame simply for the attention.

But lately, especially with this journey and with a new sense of self in my single shoes, that feeling hasn’t been as difficult to overcome. If I listen to my heart when it isn’t drenched in temporary loneliness, I know it isn’t at a point where meeting or dating Mr. Right is a priority. And not because of bruises or scrapes, rips or tears from men who have captured it before – but to a lack of desire in finding it. Those moments I have where I really want to be in a relationship, where I want someone to kiss and hold, someone to tell me I’m beyond beautiful, if I take a step back, I realize that commitment isn’t something I truly want.  Or at least a commitment to another person that takes me off the market and moved off of Solo Lane.

However – this may make me selfish and a double-dipper into fate and having the power to choose – but, I want to know that my mom is right. I want to be assured and promised that I will one day get married. That my husband and I will beat the divorce statistics, no matter how high they may rise, and that the love I find will be more than I could ever imagine or hope for. I don’t want to know his name, where he is right now, or how I will meet him – but I want to know the love my parents share and have cultivated isn’t an anomaly. That it is possible, it is reachable, it is…destined…for me.

But if I’m not ready – and maybe even when I am – is there reason to worry?

I could search endlessly through any type of dating medium there is, I could place pressure on myself, I could look at couples from a far and long for what they have. I could spend my days of freedom, of living the selfishly single life, wondering if I will meet the right person. Praying that I am, in fact, meant for that kind of love. I could think of reasons why I’m not good enough, why I don’t deserve an enduring romance, why love always seems to disappoint or pass me by.

Or I could just live. I could be happy for all of those people – including my parents who are currently sailing the Caribbean – who are blessed to not only find love, but brave to fight for the flame they ignited so many (or so little) years ago. I could be hopeful that though I’m not committed to being committed, I have already made a lifelong commitment that’ll I’ll never break:

A vow that in good times and in bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, I will love and cherish, myself.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is making Valentine’s Day more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.