Love is not what we find among the pages of a book, or in the petals of roses and colours of the sky. And most certainly not in words. Love is something within us.
It is necessary that we experience love coming from the utterly wrong person to experience the intensely intimate and heartwarming love that has the capacity to transform you. But do we know what love ideally feels like? Is it fierce passion and attachment to our significant other? Is it about possession?
Our concept of love changes over time as we grow older and our experiences get seasoned. We understand the fine line between infatuation and true love. We understand the difference between compromising and giving in to dictation. We realise the difference between being suffocated by pseudo-love and blooming with a touch of true love.
When I was a teenager, love for me meant pain.
When I was young, for me love was fierce, love was about obsession and possession. I could not bear another woman laying eyes on him. I couldn’t bother to look at his flaws. I wish he could be a body of perfection, ticking all boxes of an ‘ideal man’ in my opinion. Conflicts were fatuous and never really resulted in any meaningful argument. The love was circumstantial and shallow. I would only love him when he was at his best and hated him to the core when he wasn’t functioning according to my whims.
Love, we called it. But it did not let us breathe. I was choking on his words, we both were crying, breaking, mending, accusing, cursing and fighting the hell of a war with each other. And we both rationalised these to tell ourselves that the truest essence of love is felt when two people pass through hell together. And we started equating love with pain.
When I was an adolescent, love for me was circumstantial.
When I was a self-discovering adolescent on the fringes of life, love knocked at my door once again, this time disguised as ‘options’. Love was situational. I was ready to fall in love if he checked all the boxes – tall, handsome, smart, humourous, carfree. I would love him if he brought me flowers, wrote me letters, gave me enough attention and care. If he didn’t I had swarms of boys buzzing around me. I could choose another and move on like nothing really happened.
His dedication, his flawless affection, and compromises were the reasons I would commit to him. If he had nothing to give me, I also did not have anything else to give to him.
When I was heading towards my young adulthood, love for me was spontaneous.
When I was slowly approaching my early twenties, love was instantaneous. It felt as if it came off me as freely as my choices. It was “I miss you till I see you the next time.” It was “I have other priorities than you.” But it was more accepting and less judgemental. Love felt a little more genuine and fathomable. Love felt less tried and more natural this time. But it was still restless, apprehensive and unpredictable from time to time.
And then finally I stepped into adulthood and my definition of love changed altogether.
Suddenly love wasn’t explicable anymore. I could not put the feelings into words anymore as it lit my entire entity. It was in laughing together, it was in hugs and in kisses, it was in promises well kept, in being treated with respect. It was all about being the best of each other yet loving the worst of each other. It was about knowing and trading the truth. It was more easy-going and wild. It was free and transformative. It was about building with optimism and looking forward with hope.
Love was no more about insecurity, fear, belittlement and devastating pain. It was rather about a fulfilling journey towards healing each other to the core.
For the first time, I realized why love was initially so harsh on me. It was to teach me a lesson. To prepare me to accept the true face of it.
After all these years, love was finally about peace.