Against Us & Within Us

hermosa beach sunset

No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone.
The accidents happen, we’re not heroines,
they happen in our lives like car crashes,
books that change us, neighborhoods
we move into and come to love.
Tristan und Isolde is scarcely the story,
women at least should know the difference
between love and death. No poison cup,
no penance. Merely a notion that the tape-recorder
should have caught some ghost of us: that tape-recorder
not merely played but should have listened to us,
and could instruct those after us:
this we were, this is how we tried to love,
and these are the forces we had ranged within us
within us and against us, against us and within us.
- Adrienne Rich 

I came upon this poem last week on one of my favorite sites, Brain Pickings. It struck a chord in me from the very first line. I am definitely of the "no one's fated or doomed to love anyone" frame of mind. Don't get me wrong: I'm as dramatic and romantic as they come. I get easily swept up into the idea of fate and "meant to be". But at the end of the day, or at the end of a relationship (hell, at the beginning of a relationship, or in the middle of a relationship), it's always comforting to return to the idea that there are many possibilities. Many people that we could be with. Many opportunities to be afforded. But no one is fated or doomed. Each person's circumstances are unique; life is messy. Sometimes the timing is off. We make the wrong decision. Or we make the right one, and it just takes awhile to figure it out. Our paths could go in thousands of different directions. And we stumble ahead, figuring it out along the way, following the ebb and flow of the forces within us and against us. And then, randomly, something clicks, and love and life make sense, even if only for the briefest moment. Sometimes, it clicks and then holds. And it is then that you have to acknowledge that out of all of the possibilities, for whatever reason, this one fits. So you let the others fall away, and stop stressin', boo. Whether this is just another stepping stone, or something more permanent, it doesn't matter. You focus on the fact that this is something you get to choose. You get to choose this specific person, situation, path. You get to discover its full potential and nurture it and help it grow, all other options be damned. As Justin Bieber says via the wise sage Big Sean, the grass ain't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it. I truly believe that. 

You win again, Biebs. You always do.  

For more Adrienne Rich poems, click here.

Happy Hump Day, friends.

:: Photo via Ebb & Flow Photography on Jux ::