In The Burning Rays of Restless and Reckless, Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen
“You’re a reckless woman,” says my friend Joanie.
“I’m reckless?” I ask, incredulous. I spend my weekday evenings doing laundry and packing lunches. I spend my disposable income at Gymboree. On weekends, I’m spent. I don’t have the time, money or energy to be reckless.
“Restless,” Joanie corrects me. “Restless, not reckless. You’re a restless woman.
And this is true. Despite my suburban shackles – and I’m the one who owns the handcuffs – I have nomadic tendencies. I itch to travel. In the past, I’ve given away all my furniture and moved to another country. When it’s not working – even when it is – my instinct is to pitch it all and start over. I’m compelled to create clean slates. It is an urge so powerful it feels biochemical.
So yes, I’m restless.
And, when I think about it, I am reckless, too.
With my heart.
I accused someone of that recently (as in: yesterday): of being reckless with my heart. And right after I did that, I thought, oh dear. I’m accusing him of something I’m guilty of, too. Neither of us are taking care of my heart. Nobody in this sun-fired situation is wearing sunscreen. Baz Luhrman – “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts/Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours” – would not be impressed.
Horse. Barn door. Open. Too late to protest.
It’s paradoxical: I’ve marvelled at my friends and family who caution me – as though there is a risk-free approach to romance, as though any kind of love comes with a guarantee. I know that love is a risk; I know that most relationships end; I know that in every relationship – parents, friends, children, lovers – pain is around the corner. Loss is part of life and even playing it safe won’t keep you safe. I’ve railed for months and months – years, lifetimes – about how wrong it is to put training wheels on romance, but now I’ve realized that I’m taking necessary risks unnecessarily. I’m taking them with people who don’t warrant the leap or who allow me to jump alone (2:31).
It isn’t the risk that is the risk. My problem comes from who I’m choosing to risk it all with.
I’m a romantic and seasoned romantics are both optimists and fatalists. We know – and live by – this truth from Bob Marley:
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you…”
What I haven’t lived by, though, is the other part of that quote:
“…The trick is to find the ones worth suffering for.”