Everyone has their own definitions of love. There’s familial love, friendly love, and romantic love. Each has it’s own different flavor. And everyone has their own ways of perceiving it and expressing it. A kiss on the forehead might be someone’s biggest expression of love while for another individual, something more intimate would be required.
Out of all, romantic love is what’s most sung about and written about. Humans crave romance. They crave the physical intimacy of another person who connects with them in a way that no one else does. And that can be difficult to find.
I thought I was in love with my first girlfriend. Looking back on that relationship, I realize that I wasn’t. I wanted to be though. I had this notion in my mind where I wanted my first girlfriend to end up being the woman that I marry. It sounds ridiculous but growing up on Disney movies will do that to you.
After my first relationship crashed and burned, I went on a tear of sleeping around with girls who didn’t mean anything. It was a way to escape it all. I didn’t want any sort of feelings. I didn’t want to be tied down and let down again.
Everything changed when I fell in love with my best friend. Everything that I’d been wanting to escape caught up with me in the blink of an eye. And it’s been all consuming. It gets scary and overwhelming at times because you can feel yourself changing. You start to show someone parts of you that you’d never dreamt of showing anyone. It’s not that you lose yourself to it, it’s simply that you start to put someone else’s happiness above your own, and no one likes doing that, right?
For the record, I’m not dating my best friend. She doesn’t feel the same. And that’s okay. Her lack of feelings haven’t deterred my own. Because when you fall for someone, there aren’t any strings attached. You don’t fall for someone with the criteria that they’ll fall for you back. More often than not, that won’t happen. And that can be painful but it’s a harsh reality.
There are days where I have tried so hard to get over it. There are days where I have hated myself for it. I have felt pathetic over my feelings on more occasions than one. But as Barney Stinson so eloquently stated, “I couldn’t stop loving her anymore than I could stop breathing”. The feeling will always remain. And when in the future she ends up with someone better, that’s alright because I want her to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
I spoke to a friend recently about his life. It was an easy going conversation centered mostly around relationships. My friend, who we’ll call Carter, had his first real relationship in high school. It lasted 2 years, and it ended bad, as often relationships do. It ended because his girlfriend cheated on him. Carter didn’t take that well. He loved her and it hurt him to the point where he tried to take his life. He woke up in a hospital and has since then, thankfully, turned his life around.
It was unreal for me to hear that. It was unreal because I’ve never know anyone who has actually ever attempted suicide. I’ve read articles about it, heard songs about it, I’ve even had a friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who’d tried to commit suicide. But this was the first time I’d known someone so close to me who’d attempted it. And that shook me a little.
It made me remember being in the hospital and fighting for my own life. It made me bitter to think that Carter had just tried to take his own life away by choice when I hadn’t even had one.
Life is painful and it’s hard. And there are days where it’s so difficult to keep going. But suicide is not the answer. A permanent solution to a temporary problem is never the answer. Confide in your family and friends. Talk about what’s bothering you. People are willing to listen. Someone is willing to help.
Never forget that you are important. You are valuable. You matter. Don’t you dare let anyone make you feel like less of a person.
I think I’ve found that asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. And I don’t mean asking for help on a school paper, or asking for help on how to fill up gas in your car. The kind of help I’m talking about is when you feel alone and terrified. I’m talking about when life comes crashing down on you and you realize that you’re all you have.
Sometimes, it can all boil down to a matter of ego. Your ego is what keeps you from reaching out to people. You think asking for help is a sign of weakness. It becomes hard for you to swallow your pride and admit that you don’t know where you’re going anymore or that you don’t know what to do anymore.
Other times, and this is the worst I think, you don’t ask for help because you asked before and you got hurt. You opened yourself up to someone, someone who told you they’d always be there. You showed them the absolute worst parts of you, they took one look inside, and they were out the door. It’s hard to mentally recover from something like that. It’s hard to move past something like that.
I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been there where my ego kept me from asking for help, and I’ve also been there where I trusted some people I shouldn’t have. All you can do after is move on. You can hold your head up high, admit your mistakes, and just move on.
Because at the end of the day, one fact remains the same, and that fact is that you can’t go through hardships all by yourself. You can try. You can absolutely try but it’s close to pointless. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. There’s no shame in asking for it.
We all deal with grief in our own ways. The loss of a loved one is incomparable to anything. Some of us lock ourselves away from the world. Some of us seek out a hedonistic lifestyle to make up for what we perceive to be an unjust hand dealt to us by the universe. Some of us find comfort in the loved ones that remain to us. It’s different for everyone, but one fact remains the same, and that fact is that it hurts.
Last week, I lost someone close to me. It was someone who I’d been meaning to call. I kept putting it off for one reason or another, the latest reason being my MCAT. They passed away before I ever had my chance. And needless to say, I didn’t take it well.
The first four days after their passing, I shut myself off completely. I stopped using my phone. I locked myself away from the world. I didn’t cry. I thought I would cry but I didn’t. I just wanted to be alone. It took a friend to bring me back, but as the days have gone by, I haven’t felt like myself.
I don’t know how to explain it. I just know something’s wrong. A part of me feels like it’s missing. I’ve been trying not to think about them. I’ve been trying to drown myself in my studies, work, and in my friends. I’ve been keeping busy so I don’t have to remember them, because if I remember them, I’ll break. And I don’t want to break.
Too much has happened these past three months. It’s hard staying strong. It’s hard having to pretend that everything is okay. It’s not okay. And I don’t know if it’ll be okay ever again.
Have you ever been in a state of complete and utter confusion? Have you ever been unable to think properly? Have you ever been afraid to speak because you think you’ll say the wrong thing? And have you known it was all because of one person?
It’s hard to explain.
Have you ever felt so vulnerable that it scares you? Have you ever started doing things that you wouldn’t have done in your wildest imagination? Have you ever found yourself putting someone else’s happiness above your own? Someone who wasn’t family?
It’s humbling and painful.
Have you ever wanted to know every detail about someone else’s day? Have you ever wanted to wake up next to someone so bad? Have you ever just wanted to lie with someone and listen?
That’s not normal.
Have you ever looked yourself in the mirror at those moments? Have you ever missed the person you used to be? Have you ever missed not feeling anything for anyone?
You haven’t, have you? You don’t miss that, do you?
Or maybe you do. Who knows?
Everyone has that one person. That one person whom you always wonder about. You wonder if it would’ve worked out with them. You wonder if you should’ve tried harder with them. You wonder if you shouldn’t have let them walk away. Or in my case, you wonder if you shouldn’t have been such an asshole to them.
That person for me was Meera. I met Meera during the first year of University. I met her on the local transit bus on my way home. She was two years older than me, 5’7″ if I remember correctly, studying law, and had a smile that could kill. That whole bus ride I kept wondering how I could approach her. What could I say that would make her interested in me? I ended up taking too long. She got up to get off a couple stops before mine. And I couldn’t lose her so I instantly got up with her and exited the bus as well. And at that point I just introduced myself and somehow managed to get her name and number. All it cost me was an extra 20 minute walk home.
Meera and I were inseparable for the next couple of days. We were always texting and always trying to find ways to hang out on and off campus. But I wasn’t trying to be just friends. It took me a little while but I eventually asked her on a date. We went out and it was great. It went really great. We ate, we danced, we kissed. I loved every single minute of that date. And even today, I can’t name a single thing that went wrong with that date.
But I never texted her again. She texted me. She texted me a lot. I just never replied. I would look at her messages and I would ignore them completely. And I don’t know why I did that. I don’t know what I was thinking. All I knew was that it was a big campus and I doubted I would ever see her again. I switched my bus route and that was that. I was never going to see her again.
But I did. I saw her again a couple weeks later while I was hooking up with one of her friends. And that is just as awful as it sounds. The look she gave me spoke volumes. Her tears spoke even more. I hated myself for weeks after that incident. I still hate myself for that. I was immature, stuck up, rude, heartless, and just a straight up asshole.
I never saw her again after that. I never apologized either, which I should have. I wasn’t mature enough for her. She deserved better. And I hope that wherever her law career took her, that she’s successful and happy.
Expectations ruin us. It’s so hard for anything to live up to our expectations. We always want the best. No one wants to settle for average. No one wants to be second best. And so we imagine up these wonderful fantasies for ourselves where we marry a beautiful person, live in a grand house, travel the whole world, make six figure salaries, and anything less to us just doesn’t seem to cut it.
Now, it’s not a bad thing to want the best for yourself. However, it is a bad thing to never appreciate what you have in the process. You should always love what you have. You should strive for excellence, but in doing so, you must never ignore what got you there.
Appreciate your first girlfriend or boyfriend who taught you how to open up to people. Appreciate your 1 bedroom apartment which made you independent. Appreciate your minimum wage job which taught you the value of money. Appreciate all your failures that helped you understand that nothing ever came easy. Appreciate the people in your life who loved you when you were starting out and weren’t able to love yourself.
Show your appreciation to the things and to the people that made you who you are today. Don’t take them for granted. Love yours.