This is a thorough and thoughtful approach to a recent inquiry. Grab your coffee and get comfy for this blog. If you decide to read it in its entirety, you’ll get a taste of one of my short stories…
After my last post, I received this text message from a dear friend:
“Great blog, soul mates don’t exist! I love u”
She was referring to the quote block I included that stated,
“Finding someone you love and who loves you is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. But finding a true soul mate is an even better feeling. A soul mate is someone who understands you like no other, loves you like no other, will be there for you like no other, no matter what. They say that nothing lasts forever, but I am a firm believer in the fact that for some, love lives on even after we are gone.” – Cecelia Ahern, P.S. I Love You
Her comment made me question if I indeed believed this to be true, “Are there really soul mates?” It challenged my beliefs. I also wondered where her comment was coming from, was it a displaced and hurt heart for someone she thought was her soul mate? I started to analyze and question, “What is a soul mate?” So, I started with the basic definition–a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.
I have always believed that a soul mate is someone who is deeply woven into your being. It is not always romantic. I can be a person that you don’t see every day. They may cross your path, leave, and you find your way back to them. Your soul mate is someone you feel entirely comfortable sharing your most intimate details without fear of judgement.
I started writing a short story a few years ago. The basis was originally focused on the ONE, the one who I thought changed my life:
“I found the one he changed my life
But was it me that changed
And he just happened to come at the right time
I’m supposed to be in love” – What Now, Rihanna
But, as I wrote, it morphed. It wasn’t the person that gave me butterflies, that built me up until my world came crumbling down, then became absent. It was the person that I could be completely honest with, that gave me a sense of calm when in their presence, and the person who was honest, yet kind when I needed it. The story was my internal dialogue of understanding what a soul mate is–meeting someone who saw me and helped me see myself and not in a romantic way, in a way that I found myself. Here are a few excerpts:
GOOD-BYE AS A BEGINNING
I was in Rihanna’s video, We Found Love, and more specifically, it was the prologue dialog guiding me. I don’t see where, but I followed the voice echoing in the dark.
It’s like your screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important that without them you feel like nothing. No one will understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless like nothing can save you, and when it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish you could have all that bad stuff back, so you could have the good.
As I wander, really letting the words sink in, waiting for the lighting to strike and thunder roll, as in the video, I feel my body shaking. Begrudgingly, trying to wake from this dream, I raise my left arm over my head and stretch. I move my hands to my eyes to wipe the sleep out of them, when I hear a familiar voice call to me, “Sophia”. I open my eyes to see the figure move to the edge of my bed. I pull myself up to see Annie in my room. “Annie, what are you doing here?” I ask.
“I just want to tell you I’m leaving.” she responds. Still half asleep, I counter, “What do you mean, you’re leaving? I don’t understand.”
“I came to say good-bye. It’s time for me to go,” she states matter-of-factly. “It was important for me to let you know.” At that moment, I feel like a child not understanding what was happening before me. Annie walked over to the head of the bed, and as I looked at her she gently kissed my forehead and a phone rang out. The whole scene dissolved. I felt like I was in a different universe and couldn’t grasp what was happening before me. The phone rang out again and I woke with a jolt. I had been dreaming. I looked at the clock and it was 5:30am. Instantly, I knew something was wrong and immediately answered the phone.
A sullen voice was on the other end. “Sophia, it’s Annie…” And the voice trailed off. It was Charles, my best friend Annie’s husband. I was fully awake. “What about Annie?” I begged. I could hear a soft cry and the wrenching response came tumbling out,
“Sophia, she’s gone. She succumbed to cancer last night.” Just like that, I had been punched in the gut with the unexpected. I couldn’t breathe. The tears poured out from my eyes. Trying to catch my breath between sobs, I choked out, “I’ll jump on the next plane. I’ll be there in a few hours.”
He whispered, “Ok. Safe travels.” I ended the call and threw my phone on the bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed I put my head my hands and was overcome by emotion. Huge convulsing sobs controlled my body and as I tried reign in the grief and pull myself together. I was taken back to my dream.
I originally sent this first part to a friend who’s also a writer/editor. He challenged me for more, so I sent this, which is my bizarre love triangle—one may think is the romantic love cluster, but instead what I found was that the true connection of love is found in the genuineness of soul. I remember reading a quote one time that said, “If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety. No agitation.” Which is contradictory to everything I’ve ever learned about love.
NOT WALKING BACK DOWN
“I was so drunk on your every word, look and feel that when I couldn’t have you in my small meaningful ways, I went through psychological withdrawals to not be able to talk to you, to touch you, to laugh or to feel your gaze and feel the warmth of that shy smile. The easiest way to break your gravity was to leave and cut you out cold turkey. I knew if I didn’t, all it would do is keep me down. And it worked, I dedicated myself to building my career in this new environment and focusing on me. I cleared my mind and set it to learning a new life with new and very different opportunities. I was so consumed with my world that in my downtime I forbade myself to think about my past. Even though Annie was part of you, and a part of me, she knew this. Our relationship had become that of sisters, she didn’t want to hurt me by mentioning your name. She couldn’t even bring herself to tell me when you got married. And I understood that, and in a way, appreciated it. I only ever wanted the best for you, but it still hurt when I came to the realization that it wasn’t going to be me. I told myself that you did indeed care, that you loved me more than you knew how to deal with, so you had to remove yourself from me because the timing wasn’t right, and you didn’t want to hurt me. As painful as that was, it was easier to tell myself that than to think that you’d believe the gossip and rumor and could just easily cut me out of your life without honestly explaining why.”
I could feel his gaze on me. Without looking up, I took a deep breath and continued. “Annie knew my pain. Although I never verbalized what you meant to me, she knew it, and before I left, she told me this, ‘I don’t think it’s actually so black or white with him. I do believe he does care, A LOT, and he doesn’t know how to connect to those feelings. As much as I love my brother, let’s face it. You aren’t arm candy. You OWN a room when you are in it. You wouldn’t be that silent, worshiping thing in a dress and heels at his side. You are REAL and how well does he deal with those emotions and situations?’ That night I let you go, determined not to look back. I released the hurt and the pain and as much as I wanted to reach out to you, one last time, I packed my bag and phoned my agent to take the film role. While there hasn’t been a day that you haven’t been on my mind in one way or another, I made a conscious choice to release you and wish you, health and happiness.”
I couldn’t breathe, but I couldn’t stop either, “Annie, would only speak about you in passing, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask about you and I didn’t want to find out that you didn’t ask about me.” I was numb and I couldn’t look at him. I felt like I verbally assaulted him and that wasn’t my intent, but I also had to finally let out what I had been carrying for the past 5 years. I felt like time had stopped. There was no sound.
I reached out for my glass and took a slow drink of the cool liquid inside. Paying attention to my movement, feeling like I was in the Twilight Zone, I put the glass down slowly. I swallowed and looked up and once again saw his tortured soul through his dark gaze. I half-smiled and looked down again. The silence was agonizing. I took another deep breath and pulled myself up. I couldn’t go through this again, so I made my escape, “I didn’t mean to lay this on you, however I needed to let you know what I have been carrying around for so long. The time you were in my life was unbelievable. Unbelievably wonderful—up until meeting you, I never had anyone support me and cheer me the way you did. I ate up every word you said. Your words made me work harder and stronger, so thank you for that. When I realized we were no longer in that good place, my heart broke into a million pieces but that also made me stronger. You brought the most incredible human into my life and I’d go through that hurt and pain then and now, because of it. Thank you for sharing Annie with me.” Not being able to read his emotions, I continued, “I know I’ve already taken too much of your time, so I’ll excuse myself now before making a bigger fool of myself.” I sat up from my chair turning to leave when he put his hand on my arm.
“So you get to do all the talking and I have no chance to respond?” he replied. I wanted to scream, “NO, you’ve hurt me enough. I can’t return to this space.” Instead I remained silent trying to catch my breath and emotionally remove myself from the conversation.
In the past week and a half since I’ve received the initial text message and because I’ve been on my death bed with a form of the Bubonic Plague (not really, it just feels like it—I also have a flair for the dramatics), I’ve spent some time reading and viewing different perspectives on the aspect of who is ideally suited for you.
(just think of me reading this blog to you in my raspy voice, like Pheobe…and unfortunately, WITH the coughing)
Sorry squirrel moment….I KNOW, “Get serious Dara!”
“Would you stay or walk away? What would you be willing to do to save those you love?”
I re-watched two movies that I think portray this beautifully: Life is Beautiful and Fried Green Tomatoes. Have you seen them? The former is an Oscar winning, Italian comedy about the holocaust. Yes, I understand how those don’t go together, but that’s the description found within the trailer. It is a beautiful love story about two people that who, society would say “shouldn’t have been together”, yet were drawn to each other and became inseparable. While I won’t give the movie away, because I highly suggest you watch it if you haven’t (you will smile through the tears), the way the main characters deep love for each other plays out when faced with life’s uncertainty or in the extreme example in this movie, death, is at the heart of what I believe a soul mate is.
Watching, you can’t help but ask yourself, “would you stay or walk away? What would you be willing to do to save those you love?” I think we all say we’d act in the same way, but until tested we never know. I’m not jaded, but I’ve lived life enough to know this isn’t always the case.
“Some people live for the fortune
Some people live just for the fame
Some people live for the power, yeah
Some people live just to play the game
Some people think that the physical things define what’s within
And I’ve been there before, and that life’s a bore
So full of the superficial” If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
The second movie, another Oscar winner, depicts how different people completely compliment each other, like Yin and Yang– inseparable and contradictory opposites. Again, I finished the movie asking myself, “what extremes would you be willing to go to for your beloved?”
When you Google “soul mates” you find pages upon pages of groups, articles and dating websites (No, Angela, you can’t sign me up for soulmates.com). I found a concise explanation at lifehack.org and 18 signs you’ve found your soul mate. This article focused on the romantic variety and I’m not necessarily in full agreement with the entire post, but I do like this:
Even though we tend to think of soul mates as a symbiotic union; soulmate relationships can be rough at the beginning. They can be like two jagged edged puzzle pieces trying to click into place. Sometimes it looks like you do not fit together at all, but soon after a little bit of twisting, turning, and flipping the pieces around, you feel the moment of the perfect click. It’s a feeling deep in your soul, that says, this is the right one.
Often soulmates appear in disguise. You might not be physically attracted to each other when you first meet, but there is a mysterious force pushing you forward that tells you this is “the right one” for you.
AND I think if you remove the “physically attracted” from the definition then it applies across the board. There are people that impact your life and vice versa that can only be understood as something that just cannot be described.
“Would you let me see beneath your beautiful
Would you let me see beneath your perfect
Take it off now girl, take it off now girl
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight” – Beneath Your Beautiful, Labrinth
Some of attributes that I do agree with from the article are the following:
- You respect each other’s differences and opinions
- You don’t experience jealousy
- You’re not afraid of having a conversation
- You know each other’s flaws and benefits in them
- You know how to apologize
- Your souls meet at the right time
I’d edit the other points that I somewhat agree with to the following: being in each other’s presence washes away your stress, worries, and anxiety; you understand each other’s pain and you empathize; and finally, while your souls meet at the right time, they may need time away from each other before crossing again to fully understand that they are indeed soul mates.
“Hand me the world on a silver platter
And what good would it be
With no one to share, with no one who truly cares for me
Some people want it all
But I don’t want nothing at all
Some people want diamond rings
Some just want everything
But everything means nothing” – If I Ain’t Got You, Alicia Keys
So this takes me back to the simple text received and my beliefs. After much thought and many more words, “Yes, Virginia, I do believe in soulmates.” I believe they are not as easy to obtain or maybe even easy to see, but I believe they are out there. And the morning I was working to post this blog (Geez, with the word count, maybe a chapter), and second guessing whether to publish, I received this text from my creative soul mate:
With light and love,