You know you're ready for love when people approve of seeing you together, nod their heads in agreement like editors for a book you're writing, as if they were saying, "Job well done. You can now go home." It feels like those times when your parents tell you that you've made them proud with your choices or when your sister giggles uncontrollably about those private jokes you share with each other.
You know you're ready for love when the moment you meet a person, you can almost hear music playing in the background, when the sky is as blue as the sea below it, or when every single thing in your world rearranges themselves, find their proper places in this room that is your life.
You know you're ready for love when every song in your player, every poem or prose you read about love, or that leading man in your favorite YA novel sound like they've been written about him. It is when you realize that perfection isn't in the books or the songs or the grainy images on your television set; perfection is cozying beside you during a cold November afternoon, with warts and cracks and dusty torn pages that he gathered through the years.
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You know you're ready for love when you feel and you know that there's something missing, something you can't quite put a finger on, something that tucks you in bed at night with so much wonder. It's when you find yourself smiling at the most random times, in the most random places for a sudden thought that you forget the moment you try to recall what gave you that feeling.
You know you're ready for love when you've accepted tthe fact that you don't know what happens when love arrives and when it ends, but that you're definitely game for whatever it is that happens in between—the beautiful picnics in a secluded garden in the city, the messy fights and arguments during long car rides, those days when nothing seems right and everything feels like a mistake, those moments when doubts creep in like uninvited guests to a dinner date for two.
You know you're ready for love when you don't know that you are. But that even if that's the case, the surprises don't send you running for your precious life; they just cause you to rearrange the pieces in your puzzle and adjust your sails. It's when you've come to terms with the fact that love comes in different forms and sizes—maybe it's in the form of a 6'2" tall gentleman who's just as awkward and clueless as you are; in the last words of a piece you've been working on for ages; in a delicate cup of tea your little brother hands you while you're in bed because you're sick and disgusting and gross; or in a quiet evening spent in the comfort of your bedroom while everyone's out dancing to sick beats and blinding lights.
Most of all, you know you're ready for love when you want and even force yourself to be ready for it. It's when you know that things don't entirely depend on the circumstances, on people's approval, on a hundred signs that tell you that things are going to turn out fine, on prison bars disguised as rules and standards that end up suffocating us. It's when you finally let go, when you finally just wing it, when you finally walk into the unknown with your fears yet you still will yourself to take another step and another and another, farther from the comforts of the place you've gotten used to so you can build a place you can come home to.
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