Embrace Being Smitten

MARCH 16, 2015

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A friend of mine is seeing a guy from her hometown, and she’s so smitten. Smitten is a dumb word that I rarely feel is appropriate, but I can’t think of another way to describe the excitement I know she’s feeling. Too bad she’s hiding it behind a slightly smug, slightly sheepish, no-teeth smile

You know. The smile you use when you’re really happy about something, but you don’t want people to know that you’re happy about it. Maybe it’s because it’s a little embarrassing, or because you have to brag about yourself in explaining why you’re happy, or because you’re nervous that happiness will be fleeting and you don’t want to invest too quickly.

Hers had a little of all three.

She gave me little hints throughout the day. Talked a little bit about him as we got ready at the gym. How she had a nice time with him. How they went to her cousin’s hockey game. How they made out in his driveway.

She spoke quietly. More quietly than she normally would. Like she didn’t want to jinx the happiness. Or maybe she doesn’t quite believe it yet.

Those fluttery feelings at the beginning are the scariest. It’s so hard to admit to yourself that you’re excited. There’s such an urge to play it down, pretend you’re not invested, just in case he isn’t.

I’m so happy to see her happy, but I’m sad to see her trying to hide it from herself. Because that’s really what we’re trying to do in those moments. We tell ourselves that this is fine, it’s nice. But it’s nothing to be ecstatic about.

Except it is. It is something to be ecstatic about. That pure, raw, innocent joy is so rare after you’ve been hurt or after you’ve hurt someone else. And by our 20s, most of us have been one of those, if not both. Probably multiple times.

I want to grab her shoulders and tell her to feel it. To gush to me about how excited she is. To allow herself to embrace the giddiness and smile with all her teeth. To pause while walking and just think,“he is making me happy.”

She doesn’t know where it’s going to go. Of course not. But the heart knows happiness and the heart knows heartbreak. Ignoring the happiness does not make the heartbreak easier if it comes, but it makes the love a little less bright while it lasts.

So be smitten. Feel the love. And encourage your friends to do the same.

It makes the now better.

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