I Know This To Be True

By Mercy Rop.

The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 17. She picks the color and the cake first and by the age of 10 she already knows the time and location. By 17 she’s already chosen a gown, a bridesmaid and a maid of honor. By the age of 23 she’s waiting for a man. And not just any man, but a man who won’t break out in hives when he hears the word commitment. A man who doesn’t smell like a cotton ball drenched in lonely. A man who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of her bed. A man who will hold her hand like it was air and he was suffocating.

Then you turn 25. And after a merry-go round of trying to meet the right man. Finding out that he is already married. Or he is ‘living’ with another man. Or he’s pathologically stingy. Or he can only have an orgasm if he calls you mum. Or any of the thousands of character flaws that aren’t immediately obvious when you first meet a man; you realize that you are not an average girl. You realize that you are not even a girl. You are a woman. A storm with skin. You are fierce, strong and not simple. You have flaws and that’s okay.

Then you start noticing the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaving and company doesn’t mean security. You also learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead. With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a girl. You learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is uncertain and the future has a way of falling down mid-flight. Most importantly, you learn that you can endure, that you are strong and you have worth. You learn and you learn. With every goodbye, you learn.

But still, you imagine.

You imagine that you’ll walk down the aisle like you have champagne on your footsteps and he’ll get drunk on your walk. When the pastor asks if you take the man to be your husband, you will say yes even before he finishes the question. And when people ask you about him, you will always tell them that he thinks too much, loves to laugh and is terrible at lying. And that if he was a ‘mzinga’ of anything, you would drink him until your vision was blurry and your friends had to take away the keys. If he was a book, you’d memorize his table of contents cover to cover hoping to find a few typos just so you can have a few things to work on. After all, aren’t we all unfinished?

Here’s the reality though.

You don’t know when you will get married. You don’t know where you will get married. You don’t know IF you will get married.  But know this to be true, you must always welcome the end of things.  Tragedies will always be found in the things you love. And if you are not willing to see the beauty in losing something that means the world to you, then imagine how terrible it will be to live for them.

Knowing nothing lasts forever is the only way you can learn to fall in love with all the moments and all the people that are meant to take your breath away.

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