So I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. About how it happens. About how we fall in love and when and why. About what it does to us, how it makes us feel and act. And about how we even know that that’s what’s happening, that that’s really what we’re feeling. I have felt very differently on the subject at various times in my life. Depending, I suppose, on where exactly I sat with love at each particular moment.
Like, for example, how do we really know that we are not duping ourselves into this magical fantasy borne by a need to fulfil our desperate longing for comfort, for company, for acceptance – and ultimately to be loved back? I know, that I, for example, have an abundance of issues (daddy issues, abandonment issues, insecurity issues, body issues etc. etc.). Basically, I am a basket case. And at times I have worried about these things both perhaps making it too easy for me to fall in love, and at the same time, making me too insecure to accept the reality of someone actually loving me back. (You know the old “we only accept the love we think we deserve” thing.)
The first time I realised (decided?) I had found this amazing, wondrous thing called love – as in I had FALLEN IN LOVE with someone, it was simultaneously the most exhilarating and most terrifying thing I had ever felt. It was a reality that had been creeping up on me for a while, but which, once I had allowed it to take over me, did just that – latched onto every ounce of my being, refusing to dissipate.
I also remember, admitting this to the person with whom I had these oh-so-overwhelming feelings for, and it being one of the most awful experiences of my life. It’s something I haven’t thought about in such a long time, and even know, my chest is physically tightening just at the memory, welling up with anxiety recalling how I felt that momentous night. Now, I realise now, although the delivery could have admittedly perhaps been a tad more tactful, that the person in question was in fact doing the right thing in being honest about where they stood in the grand scheme of this while love deal. (Even though, it was perhaps not the most conducive space for that person to be in for my very first declaration of such feelings from my side – though this was no fault of their own). But basically, the response I got consisted of two things – 1. I didn’t really know what “being in love meant” and 2. He couldn’t promise me that he would reciprocate such feelings (due to past issues in this area). The first thing infuriated me (how could he presume to tell me what I was and was not feeling), and the second thing very nearly shattered me (being an already incredibly insecure girl to begin with, with a mortal fear of having no one ever falling in love with her). I remember, running in tears to friends and sitting crying my eyes out for what seemed like ages at having received this response, after having made myself so vulnerable to this other person.
Obviously, this memory is such an ancient one, and it barely seems to factor in the grand scheme of that relationship – for we both did go onto having an incredibly intense connection in the end, and undoubtedly both fell very much in love with one another (despite it not ending in the greatest way). And as first loves go, despite the eventual pain caused later on, I certainly did experience something magical and wondrous. I truly did learn what it felt like to get completely consumed by this powerful force, and what it felt like to truly and unshakably (however fleetingly) loved by another human being.
But this memory does make me wonder so much about this intangible, unquantifiable thing that we all long for so much and yet which we cannot define or explain with any kind of certainty. How much of love is a decision? How much of it is steered by our past experiences, our deep rooted needs? How much do our scars hinder or heighten our ability to even fall in love in the first place?
The only other person I have had this real love experience with provided me with an admittedly much more positive “declaration moment,” if you will. It actually is one of the loveliest memories I have of our relationship and still makes me smile to this day. After weeks of us saying other silly things to each other while really knowing what we meant, but not daring to use those actual three little words, I finally felt the time had come for me to pluck up the courage and just say it. After my first experience of doing so, I was understandably super nervous about repeating this experience, it not exactly having been something which had imbued me with much confidence. But I was going to do it anyway, I decided. And as I sat there in front of him on the bed, my nerves absolutely killing me, I thought I should start with a little disclaimer, you know – I want to say something but I totally don’t expect you to like reciprocate or anything, etc. etc. – which I rambled off rather incoherently and at lightning speed. And realising exactly what I was obviously about to say he quickly interrupted and said it first. Of course his flippen competitive self had to beat me to it. :P But it wasn’t just that, I’m sure. I think he knew that that was exactly what I needed – to hear it as a first offering rather than a response, to quell my ever doubtful and insecure self. It truly was a one of those movie type moments, too adorable to feel real, and filling me with a kind of giddiness I cannot explain. (And now I am tearing up just writing about it! I am hopeless, I know.)
How is it that, even though these experiences of love happened so long ago, and even though so much has happened since them, they still touch me to my core when I think about them? Both my experiences of love ended in quite soul destroying ways I must say, though both very different from one another. And some days the pain caused lingers more than the love does. But mostly it’s not actually the bad things that happened that hurts the most – but rather the fact that these things meant the loss of love. They meant I had to give up something I was desperate to hold onto, something that was so precious to me that I had found in this other person – that exquisite and magical and wondrous feeling of love.
Ultimately, I don’t have answers to any of these questions (like most of my blog posts – this one is utterly void of any real use :P), but in saying that it probably doesn’t really matter that much in the end. Don’t get me wrong – from really, really young I have always thought that it is extremely important to be self-aware, to understand who you are, what you have been through, and how your past experiences have an effect on the choices you make later on in life. But really, no matter where this love thing comes from it is something beautiful – a feeling which really can’t be compared to anything else in the world. Of the many negative effects of being in this space of in-love-ness, I shall not speak now; this is perhaps another blog post for another day. For now I just want to say, I really cannot come anywhere close to adequately expressing how much I appreciate those people in my life who gave me the opportunity to love them, and to be loved by them.
To all those in or out of love – I wish you peace and love like you’ve never felt before (even if you have to wait a little while for it to come along), and in the mean-time – there are always chocolate chip cookies! :)
Hellogoodbye - Oh, It Is Love
Your heart may long for love that is more near
So when I'm gone these words will be here
To ease every fear
And dry every tear
And make it very clear
I kiss you and I know