Whenever I used to hear the phrase “fall too hard”, I would scoff a little, because I was one of those annoying kids who believed they were completely capable of shielding their feelings and clamming them up in a mason jar filled with self-righteousness and cynicism. I’d shake my head at friends who seemed to form relationships at the drop of a hat, but I’d still be there with a shoulder and some tissue as they rant about broken promises and shattered hearts. And I’d tell myself that I’d never let anything that pathetic happen to me.
I’m glad I grew out of that arrogance, if not the cynicism. (My friends are probably gladder.)
I was having lunch with a friend recently, and amidst the usual catch up topics we shared, I couldn’t help but gush about a certain boy band that had ensnared my attention (and my phone data), and she’d taken one somewhat pitying look at me and said, “Girl, you don’t always fall, but when you do, you fall really hard, fast.” And it’s not like I can refute that statement, not when I’ve been jamming nonstop to said boy band for the past couple of weeks, somewhat ashamedly considering I probably should have grown out of that fangirl phase. (In my defense, they’re really good.)
And I’m torn between being incredibly ecstatic about finding something new that gives me happiness just by being able to manically jump around my room, singing at the top of my lungs, and also being embarrassed by the fact that I’m unable to control the speed at which I’m falling into an abyss of YouTube videos and trying to learn a foreign language at 3am in the morning.
Okay, so perhaps a boy band isn’t the greatest example, since they’re incredibly out of everyone else’s league except their own, and it’s more of an admiration than romantic love. But the main point is: you know the high of getting to know something, or someone that you hold on to like a rope as you jump off that cliff? It’s a similar feeling of helplessness. You think about that smile that lights up your heart and you replay their voice messages, and you feel pretty stupid when you hear their laugh and you’re just immediately filled with this sort of joy that shouldn’t be haunting your waking moments. And when you’re a recovering cynic like me, that feeling of stupidity triples in intensity.
Sometimes I feel like the issue lies in the fact that I don’t usually allow myself to fully embrace the fall. We’ve been ingrained with the knowledge that falling means getting hurt and bruised and it’s not a nice feeling, having to patch yourself up after all of that. And so the easiest way to avoid the pain is to steer clear of what can cause you to stumble. A cute guy smiled at you? Probably does that to every girl. He texted you to make sure you got home safely? He’s just being nice. Putting up a front of denial just so you can say, “I’m not about to make a fool of myself just because I can’t control some measly emotions.” All of these judgments that are, by the way, completely unfair to the unsuspecting other party.
But this is why it can be a lot more difficult when a cynic finds themselves falling hard, because while romantics are perhaps quite well aware of the potential consequences, a cynic doesn’t even know how to pull on the brakes because at this point, there isn’t any. They put on a flimsy cloak of passive aggressiveness and they try to justify every single decision they’ve made with regards to how they’re feeling with far-fetched logic. In worst case scenarios, they would completely shut down rather than deal with the mess any further.
And if that’s you, allow me to say one thing.
It’s freaking scary, I admit. You’re not used to feeling untethered and it’s completely throwing you off for a loop. You’re not sure if your previously shriveled heart can take this much happiness, and it’s dangerous for your health because you can’t sleep and you can’t stop thinking about it, and it makes you annoyed with your lack of self-control.
But we don’t give ourselves enough credit. That step you’re taking into the abyss? It’s a calculated risk on your part. You have plans upon plans if this falls apart, even though you have a tiny sliver of hope that things’ll work out. And you understand that love isn’t all flowers and pretty smiles and a winning personality: it greedily consumes and leaves behind renewed dreams and sometimes, broken trust if things can’t fall into place. You’re armed with all of this knowledge and an iron will of conviction that your feelings, however annoying they may be, are also completely justified in their nonsense.
So with all of that in mind, perhaps falling too hard doesn’t sound too bad now, right?