Everything I’ve Believed About Love Over The Years

“What do you think about love?”

It’s a question I have asked myself various times, or have been asked, and I know my answer; I have always known my answer. I like to imagine I am having this conversation with different versions of me. When it comes to the youngest version of me, there’s an almost immediate response of wide and naive twinkling eyes, while with the older version of me there is the sound of an unmistakable sigh as if she has been asked this before and she is tired of answering it, or maybe she is tired of always giving the same answer.

“I want to know what it feels like. I need to know because I have no idea what to do with this ache within me. This yearning for something more than me, bigger than me. I sound crazy, I know. I need something to do with this love that is not enough for me, not enough for one person alone.”

I wish I could tell her how wrong she is. How she doesn’t sound crazy, that she is wise beyond her years, because it’s a feeling that I will always have. Even now, imagining her as she was, I know how she felt. How overwhelming it must have been, especially at a time when she believed she would never have such a love, and the only thing I am hopeful for is that she will get to experience what she hopes for, if not now, then soon.

The next version of me is slightly older—I remember her well. She is the one who sighed. She is insecure and not yet comfortable in her own body. She is like every teen, not yet quite sure of who she is yet. I try to remember what she would have gone through.

“Love is…tough. It’s like a roller coaster, one that promises to give you the thrill you long for, and you get it, but you also get that drop in your stomach, the one that leaves you feeling all knotted and sick. You are left shaking and nervous in a way that makes you never want to try it again, but then you remember the thrill and the rush of the adrenaline, and suddenly, all you crave is that ride. ” She takes a breath of release as if she is finally letting all this go and hoping the universe will hear her.

This version of me is more familiar. I remember her impatience, but also her determination, and it brings a warm smile to my face, but it is also bittersweet. She is a lot like the young version.

“I don’t know how long I can wait in this constant state of longing, suspended in time, and I know this is partly what love is. It makes it all the more sweeter when it finally arrives, but there was no warning about the torment of the in between period, because in and among the self-love and working on yourself, there are the briefest of moments where you just know this can’t be all there is to life, and that realization is as eye opening as it is maddening.”

I appreciate her brutal honesty. I appreciate this moment where it seems like there weren’t enough words to describe how she truly felt, and she was trying her best with the words she had been given. In fact, she has so many feelings and thoughts which she seemingly cannot put into words.

“We can’t just be an unfinished canvas hanging in a museum for people to stare at in wonder. And while there is beauty in that, I just know it, deep within my bones and my soul that my heart was never meant to be mine and mine alone, because to hold all this… to feel like I’m on the verge of bursting while such a love seeps out of me… I can’t help but think, ‘What a waste.’”

This version of me is closer to me in age. She is wiser, realizing that before you can love anyone else, you have to love yourself, but even in that wisdom, I can sense a part of her still knows there is more to life, or she desires more from life. She has reached a stalemate. a standstill, and all I know is that she wants to move.

“You can only love yourself for so long,” she finally says. Her words are more controlled and measured. She has been burned before—I had been burned before and I had learned my lessons from that, but despite that, I still wanted it, and not the love I had grown up with in the movies and books I read.

“I’m tired of living other people’s love stories, you know? I want my own. I’m tired of living in my imagination. I think for the first time in my life, I want the reality of something.”