Soul mates. Does it hurt to think about it? Does it trigger emotion? Hope. Longing. Desperation. Relief.
We are programmed to believe that there is one perfect person out there that was put on this Earth for the sole purpose of completing us, and that if we are lucky enough to find them in the masses, that we will live happily ever after.
We watch and read stories that depict what it looks like when two people are meant to be. We see (or read) the loneliness before they meet, the instant connection between them, the conflict before the happy ending, and then the reuniting of souls that were so meant to be together that nothing could keep them apart. Fairy tales that we assume end perfectly because that’s what is shown over and over.
But what happens after the credits role or after you finish the last line of a perfectly delicious book? Is their life complete because of that ONE person, or does life eventually get real?
What about the people who never find that one person to share the rest of their lives with, the people that don’t settle down and get married and have 2.4 children? Do they not have a soul mate? Did they not look hard enough? Can they not live happily ever after? Do they not get a good story to tell?
I’m calling soul mate bullsh*t.
If you actually believe that in the billions and billions of people who walk the Earth, there is only one person that could possibly complete you, that you are going to stumble around life and bump into that person and experience your own version of a meet cute, and that you are going to live happily ever after, then it’s time to switch to non-fiction. Seriously.
Not that I don’t believe in soul mates, I do, I so do. It’s just not about the happily ever after.
I believe in soul mates, but I believe we have several. I believe that we meet people throughout our lives that we have an unbreakable connection with. We love them in a way that makes no sense. We love them even when it hurts us. We like them even when we disagree with them. They humor us through our differences instead of annoy us. And they keep showing up.
I found my first Soul mate when I was 13. She had polka-dotted skin and flaming red hair and huge lips. I don’t remember how we met, we just suddenly were.We were everything to each other. Food, water, oxygen, but more than anything, we were relief. In a world where neither one of us quite fit in, we fit together, and nothing could separate us.
Except maybe like 1200 miles.
Only a year and a half into our happily ever after, she moved. It was heart wrenching and soul shattering, and I didn’t think I would ever find someone like her again. We stayed in touch as much as we could and in as dramatic and love declaring ways as possible. But this was before the internet, and before cell phones, so after a few moves we had completely lost touch.
But I found love again. My second soul mate came in the form of a leggy blonde girl. We were nothing and then suddenly just like before, we were everything. There was no secret we couldn’t share, no body we wouldn’t bury together. We fought, we had our differences, but we always had each other.
Until a boy came between us, and then all at once, we were over. For the record, no girls, you cannot share a boyfriend with your best friend even if it starts out as a joke, it does not end well.
But the thing with soul mates that’s different from your everyday, cookie cutter friendships, is that they come back in full force. Sure you may take a ten-year break from each other, but somehow they find their way back to you. I found my redhead again on Myspace, yes Myspace. And though we were as different as two people could possibly be, we once again found relief in each other.
I didn’t see her again until years later, I flew in for her wedding. We stayed up all night laughing, with her mother yelling at us to go to sleep from the next room over. It was like not a moment had passed. We talk about everything, we disagree on a lot, but she’s the person I message to say, “Can I just say the worst thing in the entire world and be a horrible person for a moment, and then just pretend like I never said it?” Soul mates are great for when you need to be a terrible human.
My blonde leggy girl came back too, and then we broke up again. But soul mates survive girl drama and she’s back again like nothing ever happened.
There are no rules to soul mates, they can take any form. They can be your best friend, or your cousin, or the girl who lives just down the street. But best of all, they can be all of them. Soul mates are not monogamous and they shouldn’t be. Because, loving someone in a way that doesn’t make sense, in a way that drives you completely mad, in a way that defies geography, and time, and logic, is not a choice. It’s a gift.
I know what your thinking. Why would I be calling soul mate bullsh*t? Haven’t I been married to mine since I was practically a child?
The thing is, even though I may be married to my soul mate, marriage has a way of pissing all over everything. Calm down, it’s not as bad as it sounds. What I’m saying is that you take vows for a reason, you make promises for a reason. Whether you marry one of your soul mates or not, it doesn’t matter. Marriage takes work. So yes, he’s my soul mate, but so is the redhead, and the blonde leggy girl, and Harry Potter. We don’t have a choice with our soul mates.
He’s the love of my life, because I do have a choice. Everyday I wake up and have to choose. Is it still worth it? Can I still handle it? Does the good outweigh the bad? Are we still us? Can we survive the muck any longer? He’s the love of my life because I choose yes. We could break up tomorrow and he would still be my soul mate, I would love him until the day I died. But he’s the love of my life because I choose him to be.
It’s beautiful to think that there’s one person out there that is made for us. One person that completes us and makes us whole. But isn’t it even more beautiful to realize that there’s not? That even if we never find that one person to share the rest of our lives with, we can still be made whole by love. We can love fiercely and be loved back, by our best friend, or our neighbor, or the lady we meet at the grocery store. No one ever said soul mates had to move in together and have babies, they just need to find each other and recognize love for what it is. A selfless, rule breaking, unexplainable, maddening, beautiful gift.
We have to stop believing the stories, and waiting for our story, and realize…
We already are the story.