I can promise you that I know what the ‘L’-word is. I can assure you that I know what it means to feel it. To say it. To believe it. And I can guarantee you that I’ve stomached its consequences. My dear reader, the following is my dissertation on that four letter devil that will henceforth be referred to as if it were a curse. Because it’s about time that I come clean with some things, at least for myself.
Maybe you’ll relate. You often tend to share some ground with my thoughts. And that’s rad.
Here we go.
“I ‘L’-word you”
I once watched a Ted talk on the Power of Vulnerability that you can find here. In the event that you don’t wish to be inspired tonight, I’ll bring to your attention a certain detail of the speech: in the talk, the speaker elaborates on the usefulness of exposing yourself, of being transparent. More specifically, she brings up the example of being the first in a relationship to say “I l-word you”. I hope you’ve been in a situation like this before. I hope you’ve said it first.
Because last semester, when I fell for that girl, I said it first.
I’ll be honest: it wasn’t the most ideal time to admit my feelings. And prior to my confession, I had been anxiously waiting for her to say it first to me. But by the time things came to the end, I knew she needed to know, at least to give some perspective on the reasons for which I was behaving. I know I was “needy”. But I needed her, and isn’t it natural to always want to be around the people of whom you’re enamored? Isn’t it reasonable to want to tell them how you feel? I think so. So I did.
She didn’t say it back. And that’s okay. It really is. That’s not the part that still hurts.
The reason I’m writing tonight, still struggling with my loss, is because I really meant what I said. I would have ‘L’-worded that girl if she lost both of her legs. The problem wasn’t that she didn’t reciprocate. The problem was that, despite our brief time together, I don’t think she understands what it means to really feel that way for somebody, especially after things end. So I want to write about it tonight because I think everybody should know.
When you care for somebody like that, you’re profoundly aware of it, almost on a spiritual level. It sneaks up on you, then blankets you like a heavy mist. It grows inside of you, affecting every movement and thought and decision of your every day. It’s terrifying if you don’t know how to handle it. It’s infinitely enlightening if you do. And when you give your everything for somebody, you understand what it means to be. Then, you start to think about the universe.
When that space is taken away from you, however, only then can you understand what it means to be lost.
But you’ve just discovered this celestial sensation and suddenly, just as mysteriously as it came, it’s vanished. Just when you’ve begun to nurture the emotion, its desired recipient disappears. Without a choice, you’re no longer allowed to care like this for her. Your purpose to cherish somebody else has been robbed of you, leaving you grasping onto something that only begs to be let go. Then, out of nowhere, you’re floating in a silent, heavy void.
And you ask yourself: “how do I stop feeling?”
And you slowly understand that you can’t.
So now, months later, I sit in frustration because certain feelings just don’t go away. I’ve learned to subdue them, to distract myself, to concentrate my energy and selflessness unto other people and projects. But sometimes, completely out of my will, they come knocking at the door. They’re triggered by a sound, by a name, by a sidewalk that two people once trekked across, together.
And these memories hurt.
So please understand when I wish to avoid those triggers at all cost. Please understand when I wish to avoid you at all cost. Please understand that you hurt me, deeply, and I’m doing what’s right for me by disagreeing with what you want for you.
I hope that everybody falls like this at least once. Suddenly, you realize just how selfish your life can be.
And from then on, you have the choice to be aware and respectful and compassionate and real to others so they don’t have to suffer a similar plight, and the choice to give yourself entirely to that overwhelming sensation, and you have the choice to finally be apart of something greater than you.
You have the choice to truly ‘L’-word.
Then Why Censor It?
If you can’t tell already, I’ve been a bit bitter since the clock struck 2013. One of the reasons is because I started to mark a timestamp on the end of my pain: “I’ll certainly be better by May!” Yet I’ve finally learned that placing expectations on healing only leads to disappointment. The other reason is because I think I’ve found a pitfall in this emotion that I’d like to warn you about. Because I care about you, reader, because you care about me.
What I mean is, I think I’ve been ‘L’-wording the wrong things so much that it’s brought me more darkness than jest. And that’s never happened to me before.
For example, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who cares as much as I do about school. It’s always been a place that has brought me joy and fulfillment, a place that brings me close to meaning. I’ve just graduated with two majors with a 3.9 and I never missed a class in college. But amidst the fray that was the insanity of this semester, I began to despise the institution and the politics of learning. I found a lot of resentment in my professors and the structure of the university. I came close to carrying with me something I can consider to be pure hate. Disdain. Malice. A general blackened mood. Granted, I was under a lot of pressure, and a lot of it was self-inflicted. But something ugly grew in me because of how strongly I felt for school. When it stopped rewarding me the way it used to, that’s when the ‘L’-word transformed. It brought out the beast in me.
School and the aforementioned situation became the two behemoths that swallowed me whole. And all I’ve wanted is for them to go away.
I’ve never craved distance so much.
And now, you would expect me to be much more cautious with that word, with that feeling. After seeing what it can become, what it can do, how it can abuse, you would think that I’d eradicate it from my world.
But you’re wrong.
Because fuck hiding from it. Fuck being afraid of falling again. Fuck holding myself back because it all blew up in my face. Do you know why it’s so fun to say fuck? Because it’s fucking liberating. Because it’s crossing a line in the sand and it’s doing something reckless.
And so is saying the ‘L’-word.
So cover your eyes and ears, children, because I’m ready to say it again:
I love you.
I fucking love you.
And no, I don’t mean you. I mean I love love. Because it’s the greatest mystery of mankind. Because it challenges my logical core and leaves me with infinitely more questions than answers. Because it forces me to be completely selfless in life, and through that refocusing of my conscious lens I find purpose.
I love because it is my purpose. And I love love because, just like the word ‘fuck’, people are terrified of it. And don’t know how to feel about it. And don’t know how to talk about it. And don’t know how to mean it when they say it.
But I do.
And that’s loving sweet.