I love We’re Here, a show with Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela, and Eureka — where they travel to small towns across America (pre-COVID) to spread love. Everybody say love. Halleloo! But this post isn’t really about the greatness of drag, or the acknowledgement that in COVID-19 times I watch too many reality shows. This post is about the power of love.
Five-years and three months ago (but who’s counting), I was sitting on the edge of Back Bay, which leads out to the Arabian Sea, in Mumbai India. This bay, as we learned during that day was called the Queen’s Necklace, because ships coming in would see the twinkling lights of Back Bay and the Gateway of India, welcoming them. The air was warm, the waves lightly crashed against the cement barriers around us, and the air smelled like incense. The moon was almost full, and in the darkness of night, we were hidden, sitting alone, together. To my right, I could see the bright lights of the city, to my left, the Gateway of India. Straight ahead was pitch black, I couldn’t tell where the sea ended, and the sky began…it felt like magic. It was magic I think.
While we sat and talked, sky lanterns started to float by. At first we didn’t notice them, we were wrapped up in conversation, but soon the sky was was filled with paper lanterns drifting across our line of sight. I remember because the moon was so bright that the lanterns looked like they where shimmering as they floated above us. We wondered why, admired the view, then went back to our deep conversations. These paper lanterns in the sky were secondary to what was unfolding between two people.
I don’t talk about this a lot, almost never actually — and it’s definitely outside of my regularly scheduled content, but while I was in India during my MBA, I truly fell truly in love. It was not a convenient time, it didn’t make sense to people around us, and likely still won’t to a bunch of people to this day, but for the purposes of following along, know that in my heart, in that moment, I had the purest form of love. It was accepting, honest and real. In the middle of Mumbai, despite so many different obstacles, that love, that connection — was real.
Somehow we found our way back to the hotel that night, then back to our real lives a few short days later, and I often thought about those sky lanterns and that night at the bay. Whenever I get overwhelmed to this day, and need a “safe space”, I often reflect on that beautiful night, where I don’t know where the sky ends and the sea begins.
Five years ago almost to the day today, that love vanished from my life. Without an explanation, a real goodbye, or closure, simply gone. It devastated me, rocked me to my core. Because just like that, it was gone and forgotten by him, but not by me. Every year since then, between February-May I have real high and low days, and it wasn’t until a therapist pointed out that my mind wants to grieve what I’ve finally realized: it’s because during this season of change, five years ago, I lost a significant love.
It wasn’t until tonight, watching an episode of We’re Here where they released a sky lantern to honour someone who has passed but made an impact, that I acknowledge my need to release this, again, but finally, back to the universe. My life has changed for the better, and it is time to release the energy, emotion and expectations from that time in my life. Five years ago, my life path was very different from where it is now. But the love I felt in those months, was real, and the grieving processes hasn’t been easy. I seek closure in every situation, and in this one, I will just never get it. So I’m deciding to close that chapter while accepting its impacts on my life, both positive and negative.
Positive because it showed me that type of love exists. Where I don’t have to pretend, where someone accepts me at my best and worst, and where the feelings just “fit”. It doesn’t have to be easy, but it works. Negative, because for the past five years, I’ve likely held on to that expectation, and relationships have failed because of it. And because when I get low, I remind myself that I couldn’t make that love last, so how could I make any love remain? Which is harsh, cruel and unnecessary in my life to move forward.
So instead, I decide to love harder, and deeper, now — and to release whatever it is I’m holding on to. Like the paper sky lanterns that guide spirits to their loved ones, or symbolizes your respect for someone lost, I’m returning this love back to the universe. It was mine for a moment, and I cherish those moments, but I want to embrace whatever is coming next, whole-heartedly and open.
That’s the power of love.