Since I discovered Taylor Berrett, his song “Whole Heart” has been on replay — because man did it put to words how hard loving is after you lose someone.
When you lose someone you love, you may or may not also lose a little part of yourself that lets love just happen. You still love, you’re more than capable of loving deeply and hard, but loving instantly…without fear or reservations…that’s harder.
I know it is for me. Apparently, the love struggle is also something Taylor can relate to.
At one point he sings, “I know I’m failing but I’m trying hard.”
Lately, I’ve come to find that that’s the most important part. I sometimes can’t manage more than simply trying. And I hope it counts.
The first time I realized that holding on to love was something I had to consciously try for was when I was getting my dog. I was scared shitless of the responsibility, but even more so I was scared of what loving her and eventually losing her would do to me.
It’s the fear of the “eventually” that got to me. Here I was about to get a dog, something that my 8-year-old self would give anything for, and all I could think about were the possible negatives. All the things that could potentially happen and make me sad.
It was in that moment that I realized two really important things — I cannot/should not live my life based on what could potentially happen and man did I need to talk to someone about this.
Somehow in the last 2 years I’ve managed to find a happy-medium. A place where I show so much love to my friends that I’m pretty sure it borders on smothering. I like to love them and to be there for them and to put intention behind all my relationships.
But, I’m not perfect and more often than not I falter. I don’t text friends back, when I should. I forget to text some friends at all. Sometimes I do the bare minimum, but wrap it up nicely enough that for some it seems like enough. I dig myself so deeply into this hole of extremes that I make it hard for myself to be an active participant in my own life.
Then I find myself sitting on a friend’s couch on a Saturday and I’m reminded of why I try. I try for them. For me. For this moment. For a time in my life when I don’t have to question their love for me. I can be anxious sitting in the present and wonder what the future may hold, but I’m sure of them.
They leave me no other option but to love them and trust them because they love me even, or especially, when it’s hard. Then they sit there and speak among themselves of the ways and whys they want to be there for me and I fall in love with them a little more.
So while loving may be hard and it may have taken me 10 years to realize how much my mom’s death affected me in this department, it also taught me how I shouldn’t settle for anything less than relationships that matter. I like depth. I like being able to laugh until there are tears, because it means there’s a level of comfort there you can’t make up.
These relationships create safe spaces that make it easier for me the next time. It’s a special kind of love language. (Full of understanding and keeping me even when I take like a million steps back.)
My second favorite line off of Berrett’s song is:
“If I said love came easy then you know I lied, I wish that love came easy but I have to try.”
There are a lot of bad feelings that can come from knowing that you have to try a little harder to not be afraid of love. Over time, and after failing more than I succeeded, I learned that there are also some cool upsides.
For instance, I don’t like calculated loves. Those relationships that fall back on checklists of some sort — “Here are all the things you have to do to be my friend or my boyfriend. Here are the things you can’t screw up.” — they just don’t cut it for me. They’re conditional and if I’m trying hard to love it’s to find something that isn’t limiting in any way.
Trying also means I appreciate these relationships and moments as they’re happening. I know how fleeting time is, so I tell my friends I love them any chance I get. I try to tell them with words and with actions that matter to them.
Even when it’s hard and when the easy feeling is something I have to fight for, I try to love because the moments that you can sink into and feel at home in, those make it all worth it.
Have you ever had a song open your eyes to where you’re standing? Let us know in the comments!
(P.S. This piece could have been anchored on any of Taylor Berrett’s new songs off of Great Falls. Check him out on Spotify. Follow him on Twitter @TaylorBerrett. Drop him a witty line because he seems to appreciate those.
PPS Taylor didn’t sponsor this post, mostly because he doesn’t even know me, so my opinions are my own and only biased in that I’m out to expose the world to good music and insane songwriting.)