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No love lost

From what I see, for many people my age, February is a month filled with happiness and romance. From what I see, a lot of my peers celebrate Valentine’s Day in a romantic haze; sharing awkward kisses in the hallways, forming a line by the planetarium to pick up all the gifts they have been given, posting pictures of their partners all over Snapchat and Instagram, reveling in passion that will more than likely end before their senior year is over. 

For others, this month is a 28-day long game of trying to avoid watching couples dote on each other so as to not remember past mistakes made in attempts for romance. I try to be happy for the people in relationships and to not be overly cynical and say that love is idiotic, but for some, like me, these too-public gestures of affection cause pain and heartache, reminding them of what they don’t have, like dangling candy in front of a baby. For some, like me, witnessing these interactions is like pressing on a bruise, bringing awareness to past pain.

As much as I would like to say love is nonexistent to provide an excuse for why I haven’t found it, I am not naive enough to give in to this urge.”

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say love is dead or isn’t real just because I haven’t found success with it, I do believe love isn’t what our society and media make it up to be; covered in glitter and shining like diamonds, the one thing that every single person should search for in his or her life. Sure, love might cause someone to see the world in a rosy hue, blinding him or her to inconveniences like sinking grades or a bad hair day. Yes, the intimacy lovers share may connect them on a deep, personal level, but what happens when that warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest fades away? What does a person do when he or she feels strong, romantic emotions for another person, but he or she doesn’t reciprocate? In these situations, it’s easy to doubt love.

As much as I would like to say love is nonexistent to provide an excuse for why I haven’t found it, I am not naive enough to give in to this urge. I see genuine love all around me: in my parents’ smiling at one another over their morning coffee and in my friends’ eyes as they look at their significant others. In these moments, I see the true definition of love: selfless devotion to another person and his or her happiness. As much as I believe love exists, though, I have yet to find a reason to trust it matches the all-encompassing, idealistic bliss that some music, books, television programs and movies portray. For people wrapped up in desire’s blinding embrace, it might be a beautiful, incredible experience, but for individuals who don’t cover their eyes in a pink blindfold and use their significant others to blind themselves, love can be a painful experience. For people not in a relationship, love can be, at the least, awkward and an inconvenience, as I show in my averted eyes when friends share a kiss in group settings and sidelong stares when strangers entangle their limbs at inappropriate times, like during Chemistry class. When someone isn’t in a relationship, love can be, at the worst, heartbreaking and world-shaking, persisting even when it is unwanted.

“On multiple occasions I have fallen in love with people who cannot and would not love me back. Whether this was because of his or her sexual orientation or simply because he or she didn’t reciprocate my feelings, loving someone who didn’t love me has been a crushing feeling.”

The expression “love is blind,” meaning that love doesn’t take into account who someone is “supposed to” fall in love with, has never been more true to me than it does in February, when red hearts and love songs surround me, the festivities reminding me of what I lack. On multiple occasions I have fallen in love with people who cannot and would not love me back. Whether this was because of his or her sexual orientation or simply because he or she didn’t reciprocate my feelings, loving someone who didn’t love me has been a crushing feeling. The warmth that filled my chest upon seeing their face would soon turn into a sharp, icy pain as I remembered I could not call them mine. The warring urges of wishing to be near him or her because I was attracted to him or her and wanting to run away because I knew he or she wasn’t attracted to me tore me apart. I wanted to interact with them just to be by their side, but I knew he or she would not be able to see me in the same way I saw them. So many times, I have gone to social functions I normally would have skipped out on just to see his or her face and have them see mine, and then driven home crying to melodramatic heartbreak pop, wishing for nothing more than his or her continued company. They occupied so much space in my head, taking up residence there as if it were their home. When my mind drifted off from the classwork I was supposed to be doing, my daydreams were of him or her; I adored them. In those moments, love was a curse to me. It flowed in my veins, spilled from my eyes, buzzed just beneath the surface of my skin, yet there was nothing I wanted more than for the universe to take this emotion from me. All I prayed for was for the desire I felt to disappear, to stop torturing me for weeks on end.

When time finally weathered away those feelings, I never had problems readjusting to a friendship with the people I once harbored such strong feelings for. Thankfully, no one has ever blamed me for those feelings. Every time I go through this painful process, however, there remains a small part of me that still wants them. It is not strong enough to inconvenience me, but, in the darkness of my driveway after I’ve come home from seeing one of the people I once had feelings for, I feel that longing once again. It’s sadder and wiser, less optimistic, but it still causes me to yearn for that person, for them to give me just one chance at finding happiness with them. A small piece of my heart forever has their etched across it by them, a memoriam to a love that never was.

“A small piece of my heart forever has their etched across it by them, a memoriam to a love that never was.”

As I have had far more failures with love than successes, I have decided against trying to find it in high school. In the future, however, I want to be open to love. No matter what negative experiences I have trying to find happiness with someone, I don’t think I will ever be pessimistic enough to turn down the chance to be in love. I hope, though, I will have the awareness to learn from my uncomfortable experiences watching friends as well as strangers be too open with their relationship. I expect I will know not to perform overzealous public displays of affection, not to overshare information about my partner, not to brag about my relationship in the faces of others. I anticipate I can realize that, to people like my present self, love can be painful. Though, however painful and blinding love can be, it can still be beautiful.

How do you view your romantic future? Let us know in the comments below.

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