I Can Never Make Him Love Me: What Really Happens When An Artist Falls In Love? / by Antoinette Cauley

I remember texting him around one in the morning. “You feel like going on a random adventure?” I said. “Let’s go!” He replied without knowing what I had in mind. It didn’t matter to him. He was up for the spontaneous trip. We drove together towards South Mountain in the dark of the night and he explained how the road to the mountain reminded him so much of home, back in Cali. He said one day he would show me and he kept that promise.

We got to the South Mountain Park entrance around 2am only to find the gates closed and no real way to sneak in. So, we ended up at Kiwanis park instead. I remember we sat by the water and talked about everything. We laughed, joked, talked about our dreams, told childhood stories and just vibed until around 5:30 in the morning. He made me feel something so beautiful inside. It was something unique that no one had made me feel before. That night was perfect and after it we spent countless hours together, always as friends, always bonding, always holding our real feelings inside.

One week I accompanied him on a trip back home, Pasadena to be specific, where I got to meet his mother, his father, his family and all of his close friends. They were amazing. He was amazing. At the time there wasn’t anything I wanted more than his heart and to be able to give him mine but I had been holding my feelings in. After 3 days in California, our true feelings finally came out and man was it a huge sigh of relief.

I’ll never forget the night when he first told me how he really felt about me and when I was able to finally tell him that I felt the same way. I will never forget the first time he kissed me. I will never forget the way he made me feel. I will never forget when the thought of committing to a relationship with me started to scare him. I will never forget him telling me that I could find a man much better than him and that I deserved so much more. I will never forget when he told me we needed a break from one another. I will never forget the next twelve months that I didn’t see him and how angry and confused I felt. I will never forget seeing him again after those twelve months and how the feelings were even more intense than before. I’ll never forget when 3 days later he told me that he was seeing someone and that he was scared to tell me because… when he saw me he suddenly didn’t know where his heart was anymore, that he didn’t expect his feelings to be so strong. I will never forget the pain that caused and having to fight back the tears at my desk at work. I will never forget telling him that was the last time I would allow him to let me go and that I was done.

That experience changed me. It felt as though he had taken a hammer to my glass heart, shattered it to pieces and then handed me a broom before turning his back and walking away. No matter how well you sweep up the pieces of your heart, there will always be some that slip through the cracks and are lost forever. It will never be whole again.

We were young, around 22 when we met and the reality is neither of us were ready (even though I felt we were) and had we committed to one another, I would not have had the space I needed in the coming years to learn and grow. I honestly would not be the woman or the artist that I am today. I needed to learn a lot about life and myself and that required me being alone.

There is a saying that if an artist falls in love with you then you will live forever through their work. It’s so romantic when you really think about it; the fact that your love will inspire this artist to create a beauty like no other. But how true is that statement? I can only speak from my own perspective and my reality is when I am in “love” I don’t really have as strong of a desire to paint. Love to me, feels so much better than the feelings I experience when I paint. It’s this crazy high like nothing else in this world that you can’t help but chase.

It’s not falling in love that gives another soul immortality through my own work, it’s the opposite. Heartbreak is the catapult to the creation of some of my most dynamic and soul capturing artwork. It’s the pain of a love lost that gives me the inspiration to create.

Photograph by Antoinette Cauley

Photograph by Antoinette Cauley

Within the past couple of years, I have learned how to channel the hurt deeper into my art than ever before. I forced myself to learn how to truly feel it, paint through the disappointment and the sorrows and then release it through the completion of a piece. ­This has become such a necessary part of my journey as a full-time artist especially recently with having experienced some horribly painful heartbreak while I was preparing for my 4th annual solo art exhibition mid-2016. I couldn’t allow myself to stop painting and so I had to channel that pain into my collection of work and be more vulnerable than ever before. Though heartbreak gives me so much inspiration, I hope that one day when the right man enters my life and feeds my entire being with his love, that I will find a new type of inspiration that I never knew existed.

So, what happens when an artist falls in love? I can’t speak for every artist but I can say that falling in love is often a ride that will forever change and shift the creation process for better or for worse. That decision literally lies in the hands of the artist.