So This Is Love?

From a really young age, I feel as if a lot of us are raised to believe that like learning to drive a car, falling in love is just another rite of passage. However, unlike learning how to drive a car, there's no “learner's permit” given one year in advance before the notorious “fall” itself. So, the anticipation of doing so kind of just lingers. It sits at the bottom of your belly, buzzes in the back of your mind, and obnoxiously sneaks its way into the forefront of your thoughts every time you watch a rom-com or happen to unwillingly third wheel with a friend who is already driving on this rumored highway of love. And so, day by day goes by and another 24 hours pass, and while you’re lying on your bed, alone and still soulmate-less, you stare up at your ceiling and think, “maybe tomorrow.” But, as you’re thinking this, you start to argue with yourself as you recall the countless times that you’ve been told that you shouldn’t look for love because it happens when you “least expect it.”

Yet, here’s the thing. I'm super impatient and a little bit of a control freak, so the fact that I have no study guide or due date or deadline for when and how this is all going to go down kind of annoys me. It also scares me into thinking I might never fall in love. And maybe you’re just like me and the thought of never falling in love scares you too. The thought of never finding “the one” haunts you in your sleep. And there’s this pressure that builds in your chest, filling it with this unsolicited expectation, that makes you feel nauseous — rather than excited — because you really don’t want to miss out. 

But I'm about to tell you a little secret about yourself that you're probably unaware of. You, like me, my friend, are already in love. Let me explain. 

I'm not in love with one person and you probably aren’t either (if you’ve been relating to all that I have previously written). But I'm in love with my friends and the way they make me feel when I’m around them. I’m in love with the way my brother laughs, even when nothing is really funny. I’m in love with that little feeling of relief you get after somebody you know scares you on purpose when you're unaware. I’m in love with a lot of things. But I'm not in love with the fact that we are taught — whether this lesson is subconscious or not — that love, or the action of falling into it, must be epic. It must be a Montague-Capulet die-for-each-other type of love. An “I’ll never let go, Jack” type of love. A love so surreal, so grand, so unique that we're willing to put everything on the line for this one person, even if that one thing is our own happiness or being content with something other than just that. We're taught that tragedy, among all else, is what true love is. Maybe that’s why when we grow up, we're so eager to place our hearts in the hands of those who are so undeserving of our love. Because we mistake the pain and agony of an obviously toxic relationship with the presumed “hardships” of this mirage that we've been conditioned to believe is what love really is.

But love isn't meant to be unkind. Love isn't a battlefield. And it doesn't have to be to one person. I read this quote the other day that said, “It's ordinary to love the beautiful, but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary,” and this made me realize that we’ve forgotten to cherish the love that lies within the mundane, anti-climactic, and simple parts of life. We’re so stuck on finding the one that we forget that we are “the one.” There's nothing wrong with falling in love with your own solidarity and realizing that the action of “falling in love” isn’t a rite of passage, but simply a misunderstood message. 

Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash