Becoming Fluent in Love

If love is a language then I don’t understand it.

I can’t sympathize with those in love because I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the feeling. Even if I were to feel it, would I know I was feeling it? The word “love” is so personal, so subjective. What if I’ve been basing my definition of love off someone else’s? 

It isn’t really a question, I know that’s what we are all doing. 

I’ve always learned the meaning of a feeling after already going through the motions of it. When I first cried, I was comforted. When I first laughed, someone laughed along. But this raved about, hazy state of passion and sexual desire has always lived on the other side of the screen, hiding on the next page of a story book, waiting to be read about, never in my reach, sometimes scripted, always somebody else’s: this love thing has been getting under my skin since the eighth grade. I know I’m not the only one embroidered with the side effects of this subconscious peer pressure. 

I’ve patted the backs of pouty girls at my lunch tables for years. I’ve listened to them sulk and partake in pathetic conversations about this faux loneliness they’ve created for themselves. I have to admit, in the beginning I was very much an active member of these lonely lady luncheons, but one random day I lifted my head off the shoulder of the girl beside me and looked up for a moment, shocked at the sight of a room full of people. How could someone so lonely as myself be surrounded by so many living, breathing bodies? And yes, I really had been soaking someone’s shirt, while sobbing about not having a shoulder to lean on.

I don’t know if I have fallen in love yet. But I’m scared that my version of love isn’t what’s being advertised to me. Is love a universal feeling or is it only made to feel that way?

Lines often times get blurred in the land of romance. Even smaller signs of affection are difficult to decipher. How can we tell the difference between plain attraction and true feelings? Well, at first we can’t. But then we leave it up to body language, words, and signs to figure it out. If they kiss you on the first date then they must not be serious right? But maybe that thought never even crossed their mind. One person’s definition of “love” is another person’s definition of a fling. That’s just how it is. Whether they’re emotional or sexual, everyone has preferences, and those preferences change everything. 

I’ve felt intensely for a few boys throughout the years, but never considered those feelings to be love. Now, being a little older with a bit more experience, I realize I can come to love someone platonically after only knowing them for a short time. My Love for someone is often birthed on the night we first meet. But if this “love” wasn’t the friendly type, it would be labeled as lust.

So how do I know I haven’t been in love before? Maybe I have. Maybe I’ve just been hiding behind my age and assumed immaturity to distance myself from the reality that: love can be whatever I want it to be. Love can be comfort and convenience and passion, and even sorrow. 


Photo by Adriana Electra