The shit we see in movies simply doesn’t happen.

When I lost my wallet it wasn’t returned by some handsome stranger who happened to be waiting for me when I came to pick it up. It was simply returned by some kind soul (thank you!) who I never met.

When I cleverly left my number on my receipt for the hunky waiter to find, the bus-boy came around first and swept it into the garbage.

And when I heard a ‘thunk’ one drizzly night on my back porch, it wasn’t because that cute guy was standing there tossing rocks at my window, ready to sweep me off my feet. It was because a rat had literally fallen off my roof and was lying motionless until I poked him with a stick and he hobbled away.

Movie love is a hoax, invented to get our hopes up and never deliver.

It took me a long time to realize this. The first time I saw A Walk to Remember I locked myself in my room and belted out the Mandy Moore soundtrack, imaging I was performing in a school play and my crush was smiling up at me from the audience. We made eye contact and I smiled back. Suddenly, he stood up and leaped on stage, kissing me while the entire auditorium exploded in applause. In reality, I was 12 years old and kissing my wall while my Mom hollered at me to get out of my room and come eat dinner.

Movies set your expectations high and your 13-year-old self is simply too naïve to realize it.

Luckily, you grow up. You meet people you care about for a variety of reasons – some romantically, some not. The Mandy Moore stoundtrack becomes something much cooler. You find hobbies and passions and stop kissing your wall.

You realize love exists in so many different ways and for so many different reasons. I’ve discovered how fun it is and how hard it is; how it is a whirlwind of highs and lows and tear-stained pillowcases. That feeling of a first date gone right, and the relief of getting home after a first date gone wrong. That feeling of realizing you miss them, and that feeling of wishing you did.

The love that exists in people and places and ideas. The love you felt when you watched a sunset at the cottage that was sooo much better than that last guy you dated. The love you felt for that character in that book, and the patio pint you waited all day to have.

I’ve experienced love in so many different shapes and forms; what I haven’t experienced is the perfection of movie love; of being surprised by the right person at the right time and everyone looking beautiful. And to be completely honest, I can’t say I’m that upset about it.

Think about any scene where that boy unexpectedly shows up on that girl’s doorstep. The girl opens the door looking hot and raring to go and they make out in the rain and it’s beautiful. When I’m at home there is zero chance of me being prepared for this moment: it’s a top knot & matching track suit the second I walk in the door. And speaking of my door, it sticks like crazy, meaning if there was a surprise waiting for me on the other side it would be precluded by two full minutes of kicking it while desperately trying to jiggle the lock open.

My 12-year-old self would never have expected me to say this. She never would have thought I’d let go of my Mandy Moore dreams. But the truth of the matter is, I don’t give a shit about movie love. My dream is not to hear rocks at my window and see you standing there in the pouring rain. My dream is to fucking love my life until the end of time. And if I meet someone, I’d like them to call me a week in advance to make sure I’m free & ready & sure. Or I’d love it if the day were a surprise.

But I’d like for him to, at the very least, tell me what time he’ll be picking me up so I can make sure my matching track suit is safely tucked away in my closet.