pay your rent or lose your place
Sit back, close your eyes, and imagine that you are the proud homeowner of a gorgeous colonial mansion. It has a history, a story. Part of it was burned down by a forgotten candle many years before but you’ve spent the last few years renovating it “The Notebook” style. It’s majestic, with quartz counters and fine wood floors. Ivory statues and an art collection worth millions. You’ve repaired the cracks and painted the walls. You’ve put a lot of energy, effort, and money into this house, and it’s paid off. You’re delighted by what you’ve accomplished, you’ve restored its original value, and you’re ready to rent it out or sell it if you could find someone who would pay what it was worth.
Along comes a man, and he’s ecstatic. He’s dreamt about a house like this his whole life. He doesn’t even bother looking at the other houses he was planning on seeing that day. He wants to buy it immediately but doesn’t have enough credit history, so instead you both agree to let him rent for a while. You ask him about his rental history and he sheepishly tells you that he’s actually never stayed in a place for more than three months, but it’s simply because he’s always known a house like this was out there. You’re a little skeptical, but he’s so excited and convinced that this is the house he’s always been looking for, so you debate whether you should give it a shot. After all, once upon a time someone let you sign a lease without any previous history or references. So what the hell. He doesn’t want to let the opportunity get away, so he puts down a deposit immediately, in fact it’s double what you asked for plus the first month’s rent and you’re both really excited.
A month goes by, and things are good. You notice he’s taken a fancy towards gardening and has planted a few fruit trees in the back yard.
But then it’s time for him to pay the rent again, and you can tell he’s somehow a little less excited than last time. Which is understandable because it’s not like it’s normal to be as stoked as he initially was to pay rent. It’s just a part of life. It’s just something you do if you want shelter and a warm place to sleep at night. That first payment was just the excitement of something new. Now you are settling into “normal.”
Or so you think.
Over the next few months, the payments start coming later and later, until suddenly they aren’t coming at all anymore. You’re calling, texting, but the most you will get is the occasional Venmo of $100 with “sorry I’m busy and exhausted, more will come when i’m not too tired.”
Wait, what? Too tired? Too tired to pay rent?
This is such a ridiculous excuse for such a basic human agreement that you can’t help but cry with laughter as you drive over to the property with a cop beside you ready to evict your crazy tenant that is “too tired” to pay rent. It’s hilarious. Also a bummer because you’ll have to look for a new tenant. But mostly just hilarious.
You notice some wear and tear on the inside of the house, but theres a beautiful orchard now blooming from the trees he planted. You allocate some of his initial deposit towards fixing it up, you cut your losses and move on.
Now open your eyes.
Suddenly you realize that entire story was not a story, but a memory.
Except instead of a house, it was your heart.
You’ve have a story, you’ve been hurt before. You’ve made your fair share of mistakes, but you’ve spent the last few years focusing on improving yourself. A lot has changed, you feel like a new person. Your smile comes naturally, and your confidence comes with ease. You’ve repaired the cracks and painted the walls, and you’re delighted by the things you've accomplished. You’re ready to let someone in again, if they can treat you the way you deserve.
Along comes a man, he meets you and he’s ecstatic. He says he’s dreamt about a girl like you his whole life. He tells you how into you he is. He even talks about marrying you but you’ve only just met so you both decide to do the sensible thing and date for a while. You ask him about his dating history, and he sheepishly tells you that he’s never actually dated a girl for more than three months, but it’s simply because “it’s never been a deep enough connection.” You’re a little skeptical, but he’s so excited and convinced that this is is right, and the truth is so are you. After all, once upon a time someone let you into their heart on a whim and it was worth it. So what the hell. He doesn’t want to let the opportunity get away, so he calls you his girl and buys you flowers and takes you on a really fun date just to show how into you he truly is.
A month goes by, and things are good. You notice something growing in your heart. Love for him, and love for yourself.
But as the months go buy, the dates and the flowers and start to fade. He’s clearly less excited than he was at the beginning. Which is understandable because the honeymoon stage is a real thing. But romance is the rent he pays for the shelter of your hair as you lean over his face, ready to gently kiss his forehead. Romance is the rent he pays for your warm head and freezing cold feet pressed against his, when you both awake in the morning. Romance is the rent he pays for the room in your heart.
And even as the honeymoon phase ends, and you settle into normal, normal life is still paying your damn rent even if it's less exciting than the first day you found the heart of your dreams.
But as time goes on, slowly you get the leftovers of his time and the distant scraps of his attention. He doesn't call or text except with the occasional “sorry I’m busy and exhausted, more will come when i’m not too tired.”
Wait, what? Too tired? Too tired for what exactly?
Too tired to kiss, or play, or curl up watching a movie?
This is such a ridiculous excuse for such a basic aspect of human relationships, but instead of reasonably laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation, you cry. You drive to meet him with tears pouring down your cheeks, preparing for things to end with the man you loved. The man who was too tired to love you back.
And it’s not hilarious. It’s heartbreaking.
But you take his initial deposit of pure love, back from the beginning when he saw your worth, your beauty, your value, and you use it to repair the wear and the tear he left behind after he was gone.
And the trees he planted in your heart of love for him, and love for yourself, are now a nice place to lean against as you write in your journal on a sunny day.
And instead of anger or sadness, you feel gratitude.
And the gratitude restores your heart to its original condition. Your smile comes naturally again, and your confidence comes with ease once more.
You’re ready to let someone in again.
And ready or not, here he comes.