I learned how to fall in love by watching old black and white movies with my mom.
Watching Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn.
Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Throw in a weekly dose of the Love Boat for good measure.
And that's what I thought love was.
I thought it was the tear-streaked-suffering-love of two people who can't be together and secretly die inside.
I thought it was the silly kind of love that can only take place in 22 minutes between commercial breaks.
I thought it was a strong man professing his love for the weak woman. Convincing her to run away with him.
It was sitcom love.
It was black and white love.
It was the love that comes with an orchestra behind it.
It was the love that had "The End" scrolling through the kiss.
It was a ridiculous kind of love.
It was TV love.
This is what I thought love was. And for years, I thought something had gone drastically wrong in my relationships - because 'my love' didn't look like the movies. Or the TV shows.
And I made that mean that he must not love me.
Or maybe even worse.
I was unlovable.
Until coaching - I hadn't even realized that TV love was just a thought. It was just a belief that I had in my head. A belief that could be questioned.
That was wrong.
And that holding the idea of romance and love to a TV measuring stick.
Was not only impossible.
It was painful.
I questioned my thoughts. I questioned my beliefs. And I grew myself up.
In the process, I relearned how to fall in love.
I learned it is something inside of me.
It's a choice.
It's a belief.
It's something I do for me.
It comes with no directions, manual or checklist.
Or for him.
It's a strong man and a strong woman who have made a choice to love each other.
It's a quiet kindness that these two people share.
Even when there are no violins playing in the background.
It's a ride in a car on a day that I'm too afraid to be in my own head. No words need to be spoken. Just companionship.
There's no canned laughter.
No dramatic lighting.
No happily ever after.
It's just the little things.
Things that would never make good TV.
And a kiss.
That keeps saying.