Monday, March 12, 2012

Those Fearless Tumbles into Love

I’m a bit jealous of teenage love.
At no time in our lives do we experience that soul-shattering, heart-rending, head-first tumble into love. And out of love. Then back into love.
The differences between teenage and adult love are very few. Some parents tell their teen kids that it’s puppy love. That they’ll grow out of it. That they’re making a big deal out of nothing or—even the opposite—that they’re making a huge mistake.
That’s just ignorance or denial talking. Maybe you don’t want your kids to feel that same heartbreak, that same pain and loss. But, if you don’t experience those feelings, you probably also won’t experience the butterflies, the yearning, the excitement of first love. Of knowing that there are possibilities. A heart full of them.
I distinctly remember falling in and out of love as a teenager with great regularity, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it. With each rush of emotion, I learned. With each tear and with each laugh, I learned how to deal with my emotions and how to treasure a relationship.
My grandmother always told me to “play the field.” In those days, that term probably meant something far different than today’s terminology of being a “player.” My grandmother mistakenly thought that if I dated several boys that I wouldn’t lose my heart to any of them. Unfortunately, I lost my heart to all of them. Simultaneously. But that’s the amazing thing about teen love. Our hearts are open. We love with a passion that many adults will never see again. Because teens have…hope.
Hope that the relationship will work out. That the boy will never hurt us. That he won’t ever betray us with a trusted friend. That the positive will always far outweigh the negative. Who hasn’t written their first name with the boy’s last name a gazillion times on pieces of paper littering their bedroom floors? Hell, at one point, I wrote my name with the last name of three boys in one week.
As my daughters are nearing the age of that fearless excitement that comes with the teen years, I think back a lot to those times for me. And I think of them fondly. My daughters have heard all my stories, and they know the names of all my old boyfriends. We recently unearthed boxes of pictures, so now the names have faces. But, above all, I tell them that I lost my heart many times to many boys, but I physically held back. I never did more than park in a car for some kisses at the end of a date. I knew then that I wasn’t ready. I tell my girls that if the boys use the line, “If you love me, you would,” then he really doesn’t love you. And you can move on with no backward glances and no regrets.
As an adult, I’ve seen some of my friends going through separations and divorces, and with each end to a relationship, the bitterness and cynicism creeps in. The hope is long gone. The unguarded passion is withheld because their hearts can’t take any more pain. And that’s when I look at teens holding hands in a movie theater, and I envy them that. That hope. That excitement. That fearless tumble into love.
I wish adults could feel that same thing once again.
Kimberly MacCarron
“Being fearless isn’t being 100% not fearful; it’s being terrified but you jump anyway…” – Taylor Swift
When have you been fearless in love as an adult or as a teen? And what did you learn from it?


Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,
Love that you ended this post with a Taylor Swift quote because as I was reading, she immediately jumped into my thoughts.

If I'm being completely honest and for discussion's sake, being any other way is pointless, teen love is wonderful and exciting and to the ultimates in every single way. When I was 15, I ran away with my first love. I was a straight A student, had never smoked or drank, was respectful and an all around good kid. Looking back now, I slap my head and say "Girl what were you thinking?" My poor mom. But it was that young love, that hope, that excitement and trust that everything would be wonderful. So that is where I come from when I think of young love. I hover carefully over my nieces as I don't have a daughter but a son. As an adult, I'm just as crazy for love. And for the most part, hubby is able to keep up with me.

Kerri said...

I also liked that you ended with a Taylor Swift quote because just as I started reading that, she came on the mix I'm listening to. Creepy! ;-)

I was a very dramatic teenager in love. So when it went bad I listened to the same depressing songs over and over. Still today when I hear one of them, I just have to smile.

Denny S. Bryce said...

WOW! I really enjoyed this post on a number of levels. I am finishing up my urban fantasy and will be starting my YA paranormal romance in April so I'm bookmarking this baby! You really capture the ups and downs and the whys of the importance of young love, and why YA romance stories are so important and loved. Excellent post Mermaid Kimberly! Thanks for suggesting we stop by.

Kimberly said...

I'm curious whether you regret some of the decisions you made at that age, or do you consider them learning experiences that you wouldn't change even if you could (?)
We all make decisions that we think are good at the time, but that hindsight thing always rears its ugly head. This reminds me of the Garth Brooks song where he says, "I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance." Something like that anyway. Although there were things that I feel like slapping myself in the head about years later, I wouldn't change the direction. Because all of those little directional changes led me to where I am. Which is happily married. :-)

Kimberly said...

My one breakup song that I listened to for Every Single Breakup was Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. LOL.
That one was so awesome because it was upbeat and hopeful and a real slap in the face to the pain I felt. Again and again and again.
I know what you mean about being a dramatic teenager in love. Is there really any other kind? LOL

Unknown said...

Ah . . . young love! I see it now in my girls who are in their late teens/early 20's and realize it's the same, but different.

As a mother I try to be fair and open-minded (remembering back in the day). I've seen heartache they've gone through with first loves knowing one day 'their prince will come'.

But it is about learning along the way. Not only about each other but about yourself first. I found out you can't expect real love to come along until you love yourself first.

So many are infatuated with 'being in love' they don't realize it's not true love. But it's that infatuation we base so much on until we actually find that other person who we just 'click' with.

Great post!

Kimberly said...

Thanks for stopping by! And good luck with your YA book. I, too, think YA books with romance are important because teens today need to know that what they are feeling--and feeling strongly--is real and normal and even incredibly special. It takes courage to put your emotions out there. To take the chances. To jump.

Kimberly said...

I would be the worst person possible to talk with your girls. Because I felt like every time I fell in love it was real. And in some ways, it is. We do learn from each time we take the plunge. We know what we would do differently. What worked and what didn't. And we grow along the way until we find the person at the end of the road, who hopefully learned all the lessons and fell in love countless times, too.
I'm never jealous of my husband's old girlfriends because I feel like he needed to learn and experience the same way I did. I applaud those girls. He clearly made some mistakes along the way, and I'm really thankful those mistakes were with someone else. :-)

Lorie Langdon said...

Kim, this is a beautiful and deeply insightful post.

I think every boy I liked as a teen was “the one” for varying lengths of time. ;-) But I rarely fell without reservations.

I love how you tie your blogs into how you use your experiences to teach your daughters, allowing them to learn from your mistakes. Your girls are blessed to have you!

Kimberly said...

Thanks so much! My daughters (and even my sons) love hearing about stories from when I was younger. Some of my friends don't agree with telling their kids about their mistakes or experiences because they're afraid of the kids repeating them. I think it's the opposite. They need to know that all of the feelings are normal and even real. It's learning how to keep part of yourself on reserve so that you don't make the BIG mistakes.
Yeah, I know what you mean about each boy being "the one." I wouldn't have dated them if I didn't feel like that. There were lots of "the ones." LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, I do regret what I did because I hurt my mom in the process. It was very selfish and what scares me is that I didn't think about her when I made the decision, I only thought about how much I loved my boyfriend and how much he loved me. But I also regret how that relationship with him was ruined due to our actions since my mom rightfully banned him from my life. I wonder if I'd have been able to read things like Twilight and Hunger Games as a younger girl, if that would have possibly filled in the need for epic romance and adventure rather than going for it in real life.

Kimberly said...

That's a very interesting point. When I was younger I don't remember having such vast and exciting reading material for young adults. I went from Little House on the Prairie to Flowers in the Attic to straight adult romance. None of those fulfills that basic need of knowing that other teens share our hopes and dreams. Of that need to feel loved, whether it's good or bad.
I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, "Boys are better in books!" Amen to that one! :-)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Amen!! Great post!

Avery Flynn said...

Teen love for me was all about finding Mr. Perfect - amazing how disappointed I often was. :) You move on to adult love when you realize you're not looking for Mr. Perfect but Mr. Perfect For You. Age doesn't factor into learning that lesson.

Great blog Kim!

Pintip said...

I love young love. I think this is why so many adults love reading YA romance, to experience those first moments, the excitement of that first kiss all over again.
I too think your daughters (and sons) are very lucky to have you as a mom. I have a lot to learn as my own kids grow up!

Kimberly said...

Good point about finding Mr. Perfect for You. It's sad how often we were disappointed to discover that "the One" was not what we were looking for. When you get spoiled by BoysInBooks, it's hard to settle for BoysOutOfBooks. :-) Where are all the heros??? LOL
To me, it's sad to say that the hero in my teen years was my best friend Billy who would buy me those oatmeal sandwich cookie with the cream inside. I loved those so much.... off topic...LOL

Kimberly said...

Since you also write YA books, I'm sure you'll be a vast source of inspiration and knowledge for your own kids. They're just a little young to benefit from your advice just yet. :-)
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your revisions.

Shelley Coriell said...

Great post, Kim! On my oldest daughter's last birthday I put together a book of letters from the "strong, wonderful" women in her life, and I wrote a short preface. One of the lines read, "Be careful who you give your heart to, but when you do, give it fully and with great joy and abandon." I'm one of those types who doesn't tumble often, but when I do, I go forth headfirst and at high speed. :-)

Melissa Landers said...

Beautiful post, Kim! This line really spoke to me: "The unguarded passion is withheld because their hearts can’t take any more pain." Amen. Maybe this is why I write about characters who give their whole hearts--because sometimes it feels like I can't.

Kimberly said...

What a wonderful idea for your daughter's birthday! I'm jealous I didn't think of it, but I'll give you total credit when I do the same thing for my own girls. :-)
I get the whole headfirst and at high speed thing. I know it's strange, but that's how I've always moved when it comes to the heart. I had a brief period after a rather difficult betrayal when I was reserved and didn't give 100%, and then I met my husband. The funny thing is that it's the only time in my life when I've moved slowly, and I ended up marrying him. :-)

Kimberly said...

Unfortunately I was thinking about my best friend (who I've known my entire life) when I wrote that. She's the most caring and loyal person you'll ever meet. She was the one who introduced me to romance books. But, due to a difficult situation, she's not as positive when it comes to romance and men as she used to be. And that saddens me so much. She doesn't want to be bitter or cynical, but a bad experience has made her guarded...careful...afraid to take that jump.
To be perfectly honest, she IS too good for any man. LOL.

Susan said...

Fashionably late, as usual. It's so nice to see someone writing about young love in a sympathetic way. My parents tolerated my young loves, and my father also told me to "play the field" long after there was any "dating" going on. It was all serial intense relationships in my younger years.

Happily, the last intense relationship I formed has lasted a long, long time. And I've learned that part of keeping it alive is being willing to fall in love again and again and again.

Kimberly said...

Oh, Susan. How lovely. It is important to keep the love alive. It's nice that you've found that and have worked hard to keep it strong. That's the key to any relationship.
Thanks for stopping by!

Lea Nolan said...

What a GREAT post, Kim! I love your sense of adventure and total abandonment, it totally brought me back to those crazy, giddy days when I could (and did) fall hopelessly in and out of love. That was good training for when the real thing hit!

Kimberly said...

Who's to say the real thing didn't hit many times over? :-) But, I know what you mean. Through all the joy and pain, we learned how to build and maintain relationships with that added maturity.

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