There have been precisely three times where I have recognized the concept of “soulmates” to be true–only one of which has been romantic on my part. Soulmates are defined in media as romantic. The technical definition; however, encompasses much more than the shallow glimpse of happily ever after. As stated by Webster’s Dictionary, a soulmate is quite simply “a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament.” Due to the previous experiences and interactions in my life, I know that soulmates do more than impact you–they shape who you are.
I was three years old when I first recognized the concept of soulmates–not so much in that term, but as a presence in my life. Of course, you may see the number “three” and immediately be skeptical–but do not fret, I recognized soulmates in two of the most consistent people in my life: my parents. My father called my mother “Tweety-bird,” a play off her real name, Thuy, so much that by pre-school I was still not completely sure what my mother’s real name was.
The catalyst for realizing that my parents were destined for one another came from one of the most awful things a child can experience–seeing their mother cry. As I took a step into the room, I witnessed it for the first time: my father being able to make everything alright. I remember my father walking out of his closet and seeing her, the tie he was holding in his hand making its way towards the ground as he sat down across from her. His voice low, I recall him telling her that he loved her unconditionally, that he would always be there for her. That night he came home from work with three dozen roses and a Tweety Bird stuffed doll the size of three-year-old me. More so than just adorning her with gifts, my father always understood what needs to be said in the moment. It, of course, has always been a two-way street for them; every action is reciprocated.
Soulmates, as I have alluded to, can also be in platonic relationships. The second time I realized soulmates existed, but the first time I ever considered the fact that I may have a soulmate was in my best friend: Anastasya Pavlosky. She has been my go-to for everything over the past years, the first person I speak to about any issue, partner, life event, anything at all. I realized Anya was my soulmate upon our biggest fight–the one that should have destroyed the very idea of her being in my life. In destroying my other relationships in order to become wholly dependent on her, I hurt us both. This fight took up half a year, and plenty more time in rebuilding our relationship. Where my parents were masters at communication, I was despondent in it, but forgiveness is not cheap. Long story short, Anya and I reconciled and focused on becoming better at communication, realizing independence whilst still being together in mind and soul. I realized she was my true soulmate not in the fact that she forgave me after everything I had done, but rather because she understood what it meant to grow and mature with me.
The final time I realized soulmates existed was also the time I realized that we all grow in relationships… and not necessarily at the same pace. From the ages of 12 to 16, I was in what can only be considered as serious a relationship as young teenagers can enter. Hopelessly devoted to this boy, I can only imagine you rolling your eyes. Do not worry, this does not end in happily ever after.
For years, my boyfriend was who I consider Anya to be to me now, who my parents are to one another–my soulmate. In retrospect, he is the complete opposite of what a soulmate should be, but in the moment, I do not think I ever thought of him as anything but. He adorned me with gifts, he told me he loved me every day, he made me feel happy–sound familiar?
He; however, did not support anything I did, did not make me feel secure. Every moment with him, although exciting, was also unpredictable and scary. We may have been in love, but it was not the right time nor place for that type of intensity. He may not be my true soulmate, but he came into my life to challenge me and help me grow. He served his purpose: he gave me romantic interaction, helped me realize who I was as a person and who I need to be in order to grow up, and he did not need to stay. He made me happy for the time being–and that is enough.
Plato once included the concept of soulmates in his dialogue The Symposium that states that we each have one perfect half who completes us; however, I do not believe there is just one person for everyone. Soulmates come in all different forms, at different times for different periods of time. They are magical and wonderful, but their purpose is to make us grow.