Growing up, I had often wondered what the hell love even was and, like everyone else, I had been led down a path that I thought was love only to find that I had been terribly mistaken. It didn’t help that I didn’t have any examples of lasting, natural love other than my Oma and Opa (Grandpa and Grandma) for the most part of my life. Everything else was temporary, fleeting emotions and a whole lot of hurt after the end. I had been, my friends have been, and my family has been given the run-around by love at least once or twice. Chances are, if you ask anyone on the street about heartbreak, they’d have a similar hurt to tell.
I hadn’t been left with a whole lot to base a large concept on, and that made my search for love tough. With only one concrete example and the idea that popular culture shoved down my throat, I went about my young adult life making some mistakes in the love department. I stayed in a loveless relationship, romanticizing it through my own rose-colored lenses. I blamed myself when things went sour. I stayed in long-term relationships when I honestly should have realized that things weren’t right sooner. We live, we learn. We’ve all heard it before. Yes, these were mistakes but I am glad they happened because, through my negative experiences, I learned what love was not. I could check those unfortunate happenings off but I found myself with a long list of “not’s” at the end of the day and it was quite frustrating.
After the latest relationship ending, I became obsessed with finding out what love even was since I sure knew what it wasn’t. Was it shown in materialistic gifts, time spent and words spoken, or in a simple look into your soul mate’s eyes? Was there even such a thing as soul mates or love at first sight? There were more questions than answers and it seemed to be one of those things that one has no clue about until they have found it. I tried to find it in romantic comedies, magazine articles, and even in my other friend’s relationships that I could at least use as examples. Nothing came up with concrete results. I gave up my search and moved onto my next momentary obsession.
A few months passed, and I stumbled upon my written attempt at narrowing down the concept of love. In those months, I had a great deal of personal growth and, after recovering from heartbreak, had also grown into my own skin and accepted myself. Now, when I think about love I understand that it is similar from person to person but it will forever be an abstract subject. Not everyone’s love looks the same and it’s impossible to compare and try and find something that is exactly like another person’s love.
The point that I have come to is that love is exactly what you make of it. It isn’t permanent, it’s ever-shifting in all its glory, whether that be for better or for worse. It’s a whole lot of hit or miss and sometimes things just turn out all right. In the mean time, like I’ve learned, you have to let life unfold to let love be stumbled upon and if you don’t get it right the first few times, that’s okay. Love is everything at once, including messy and you’ll never have the blissful experience if you don’t get your hands dirty first trying to figure it all out. Keep asking questions and keep your heart open because love is…well… love. It’s such simple chaos that manifests itself in the most surprising of places and only a fool would try to contain it in one box. Don’t be the fool that I was trying to be.
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