I don’t know what love really is—do any of us? Sitting down for brunch with my two good friends the other day, I found myself wondering if love is simply realizing that you want to spend the rest of your life doing all the little and big things with someone by your side. Rather than feeling like you’re ‘throwing your life away’ or ‘missing out’ or you suddenly find that being in their presence is the best damn thing that’s ever happened to you. And regardless of the complications, the fights, the detours that will inevitably fall into your path—you want them, you’ll fight for them, you believe.
I’ve always been a romantic. I’ve always felt like every single one of my relationships had the potential to be ‘the one.’ And even though I knew, in my heart, there was something wrong, I kept thinking that maybe if I loved hard enough, everything would work out in the end.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
But maybe that’s because none of those people were meant to be my forever. Looking back now, I can understand why. But even as I’m sitting at this brunch table with friends—my heart swelling with all the emotion that comes from finding someone whose rhythm is so aligned with yours you can’t distinguish a difference in the beat—I question what love really is.
Can you love someone, but know they aren’t right for you? Love someone, and hope they’ll change?
Can you love someone into the role you want them to fit? Or know it’s love by a simple feeling in your chest—a spark, but also a heavy warmth—desire and comfort mixed into one?
My friends share their stories, their presents and pasts. We swap laughter over people we thought we loved, over men who left us disappointed, over mistakes we’ve made along the way. I listen to words of truth washing over me: how you can’t fix people, how you can’t compromise yourself in loving someone else, and how you can’t ignore the pull in your chest telling you that you and your person are no longer aligned.
I think about my own lessons, laundry lists of failures and bumps in the road, paving the way for the man I currently love to walk into my life.
It’s amazing how life works like that—the heartbreak and healing eventually bringing you right where you didn’t know you needed to be.
My girlfriends and I ask ourselves open-ended questions. Some of them are rhetorical, and they float above our heads like little white clouds. I bite my tongue when we get to love’s definitions because I know, as a poet, there’s always something I can try to say. But it never quite conveys the truth.
Love is not an emotion, not a state of being, not a person—it’s something unexplainable. You can’t touch or understand it, and yet you simply trust.
And maybe that’s the place I return to, time and time again, when it comes to love. It’s not that I’m naïve to it, yet there’s so much of it I’m still too young to understand. It’s not that I’m blind to it, because even when I move unconsciously, I still take my heart with me. And it’s not that I’ve navigated enough to know, even now, how my story will turn out because I fully recognize I can’t control a person or an outcome.
But maybe that’s the beautiful thing about love—you don’t know—and yet you still, willingly and fearlessly, take a chance.
Featured Image Credit: Ieva Vizule