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Every time I watch this episode in its entirety, it does something to me.

It’s not just the episode itself that makes most people cry whenever they see it. It’s the years of watching the love between Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert cultivate into this moment. Who could have envisioned the nerdy New Yorker with the funny flip glasses and the annoying Virginia debutante being suitable for each other? Through the evolution of several years, one sees these two polar opposites fight against and build upon what has already been destined since the beginning of time.

What stands out to me in this scene is that Dwayne is at a point where he is completely vulnerable. It’s his last chance at tomorrow and he cannot stomach defeat. Dwayne allows his heart to take over where his mind (and most of ours too) would have probably had him drowning in defeat. Even in that moment at the wedding, a lot of us would have remained in our seats because there is no way to control the outcome. No way! What would have happened if Whitley rejected Dwayne after he made his dramatic proclamation for her love? Dwayne risked losing his respect, future job opportunities, and a beat down for the chance to be with Whitley forever… and the gamble paid off!

Now I don’t imagine uniting with my tomorrow quite like Dwayne did but at the rate I’m going, it just might be. Quietly, I envy Dwayne Wayne. He had guts. I would have been so preoccupied with the fear of being rejected by Whitley. I mean, she was marrying another man right? And since I’m being so honest right now, it’s that same fear that is keeping me from experiencing tomorrow. Because I don’t trust my heart, I refuse to allow myself to be vulnerable. I control what I say on social media. I control what I do out in public. I control my personal interactions with others. In my universe, my heart has no power and my intellect is a cruel and evil dictator. Yes, I admit it. I’m afraid of falling in love again. But isn’t everyone?

While waiting on the barber to cut my son’s hair Friday, a conversation ensued about dating (but of course!) amongst the patrons. A beautiful young mother was sitting with her son attempting to wait patiently like the rest of us in the shop. She began going on and on about how men were no good and how if she had a man, she wouldn’t have to endure the wait. Of course I chimed in regarding my views on relationships. When I talked about how I prefer to slow the pace in regards to getting to know someone, she looked at me quite strange. I gave her an example of a woman I previously dated and it was if her mouth hit the floor. “I could never see someone for several months and not be the main woman! Hell naw!” When I expounded upon dispelling a person’s representative, she acknowledged that I had a point but divulged that she couldn’t tarry on that long without having a title. I countered that I couldn’t give a woman a “title” anymore without actually knowing her. Then the young lady said something that made all of the guys pause. “I’m afraid that if I went at your speed, I won’t have control. You not gonna get this goodness for several months and then find out you don’t want me! And my feelings are involved? Oh no ninja (she didn’t say ninja but…), you not gonna control me!”

Why are we so afraid to allow ourselves to become vulnerable for the sake of love? Truth of the matter is, falling hurts. Let me say that again. Falling f*#king hurts! Whether it’s physically or emotionally, falling in love hurts like hell when there is no one to catch us. And there are so many ways to fall! The older we get, the more unforgiving the earth below is when we land. I don’t know about you, but it takes a few more seconds to get up from a fall now than when I was in my teens and twenties. And depending on the type of fall and where I am, I may just stay down and take a nap!

Because we remember falling in love the first time, we try our best to control how it happens later. That’s a no brainer right? However, what happens when you set up so many safeguards that you can’t even enjoy the journey? Very similar to living in a bubble in my opinion. You’re not able to feel anything but you’re safe. You’re not able to engage in activities like you desire but you’re safe. So is there any wonder why people go to such great lengths to safeguard themselves from falling? We want to make sure that we have a parachute in case we fall. You know, the prenup, the relationship contract? Yeah, those are parachutes because we don’t want love to take away what we have built since those teen years. We want to control love, giving it stipulations on how it will affect us. But will we ever find real love that way? Love is a gamble and we have to be prepared to play, win or lose. The only recourse to gambling is knowing when to step away from the table when we have overextended ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t get up from the table until we have lost it all.
Written by Michael Dock, Guest Blogger for Code Red Flag.

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