‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ – Let Me Say Thank You

I love a good rom-com. They just give me life. Like a good YA novel, rom-coms give me all the feels in the best way possible. What can I say…I’m a sucker for sappy.

As we all can attest, there ain’t no laboring on Labor Day, so I cozied up on the couch to legit Netflix and chill before kicking off the week and getting back to the grind. Little did I know I was about to have a full on introspective Monday moment.

When I hit play on “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” one of the new Netflix originals suggested for me, I had no expectations. A friend mentioned I should watch it and I’m always one to listen to suggestions with positive word-of-mouth. I certainly didn’t expect to feel giddy, awkward, vulnerable, delighted, self-conscious and hopeful all in the span of 99 minutes.

I found myself hitting the pause button multiple times to see how much time was left. Let me be clear. It’s because I didn’t want the movie to end. It was like for a snapshot of time, I was back in high school reliving those “firsts” just like Lara Jean and Peter. When I say all the feels, I mean all the feels, people!

I’m one of those people that firmly believe that things happen in life when they’re meant to – whether it’s meeting a potential date at a friend of a friend’s housewarming party or having an exciting job opportunity come out of nowhere thanks to a colleague from five years ago recommending you. The same goes for picking up that book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf for six months to clicking play on a never before watched TV series or movie. That’s what happened with “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” It came at a time in my life where I’ve been on a journey to evolve and grow and ask myself the tough questions rather than avoiding them and remaining stagnant – a journey also known as my Saturn Return…but that’s for a different post.

Like Lara Jean, I also lost my mom. Whether I consciously realized it or not, losing my mom – the one person I could fully confide in and be myself with (for better or for worse) – shifted my perspectives in such a way that I knew I’d have to confront things in a different light. All of those walls I put up that used to make me feel safe and in control had to come down. So when I found myself laughing awkwardly and physically turning away from the screen to shield my eyes in my couch pillow when Lara Jean found the strength in herself to express her feelings to Peter, I knew I needed to think about my own self-conscious tendencies and face my resistance to that kind of vulnerability. And I get it…when tragedies and traumas happen in life, change, whether you accept it or resist it, is the inevitable outcome. But everyone’s on a journey here and I, for one, want to be the most evolved and open person I can be.

I’ve thought a lot about it…why I turned away from the TV screen. It’s because I know those feelings of opening your heart and putting yourself out there in any facet of life can be scary. Those moments can be full of fears of rejection or judgment and that never makes anyone feel good. That’s why a lot of us hide in the first place. But hiding and being fearful doesn’t serve anyone. And it certainly isn’t living.

I don’t have the answers or a quick fix, but I know I’d rather feel the uncomfortable emotions and experience life in all its glory than let it slip away because I was afraid.

So, as I move forward, I’m going to consciously challenge myself. When I find I want to hide behind my pillows, I’m going to remind myself that there is strength in vulnerability; that I am worthy of my greatest dreams and I am lucky enough to be able to try, regardless of the outcome. I can only live my truth. And you should too. We’re all in this together, after-all.

P.S. – if anyone knows of a real-life, 30-something Peter Kavinsky…send him my way. That guy is good.