WHAT LOVE MEANS TO ME – A CONFESSION

My dear readers,

As everybody knows, this week is Valentine’s day and the city shop windows are all full or hearts and balloons and love cards. Restaurants are slowly starting to get fully booked after a quiet month and flower shops are displaying the most beautiful bouquets you can possibly imagine. To me personally, it always feels like a forced celebration of everything you can buy for love. On the other hand though, as I grow older, I understand it’s nice to be pushed to find some time to have a dinner with your partner or just spend some quality time together. Valentine’s day to me represents the opportunity to stop for a moment to appreciate the love I receive and the love I give, to be thankful about all the good things in my life and to reflect on the lessons I learned thus far.

This is why today I would like to write about my troublesome relationship with love, what I’ve gone through and what I hope I’ve learned along the way. It’s a rather personal post and it’s about my very personal experience, I’d be glad if you were not judgemental.

 

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PRIMARY SCHOOL

To me, this is the idyllic period of my life where I was only surrounded by my friends and my sisters (my brother was not born yet). It was a wonderful boy-less moment full of joyful memories of birthday parties and summer holidays with my family. I was not interested in real boys at all, my whole focus was on books, mainly novels for kids and fantasy series. I’d say that my first encounter with the other sex was in books, where boys were just the perfect companion of wild adventures which had nothing to do with my quiet life – though, those pages started to build my future expectations in an unpredictable way.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Still barely no interactions with boys. In my class, boys and girls mostly spent their time separated, not because of how the school was organized, rather because we were both afraid of each other. There were some girls interested in some of the boys but nothing really happened. I could say I wasn’t very intrigued by them. I was curious but nothing more. I dedicated most of my time to my friends and to my books.

At the time, I started reading detective stories and literature. The shape of love evolved into somebody that would appear almost out of nowhere, that was clearly the one, that did anything to make their way to me and that would only hurt me as part of a misunderstanding created by the plot. The story would revolve around the main character (myself) and most of the time there was a happy ending around the corner. With that idea in mind, I started my high school journey.

HIGH SCHOOL

As parents with teenagers know well, secondary school marks the border between being a child and becoming a young adult. Independence is just around the corner and you would do anything to stretch your arms, grab it and run away from life as you used to know it. In my case, being a teenager meant to try my best to be a bad girl, AKA being like one of the enchanting, mysterious girls in the books I had read for years. I started to explore the wonders of the night, much against my parents’ will. I would stay out a bit more each night, accept invites to go to the disco, drink one cocktail (I couldn’t afford more) and try my best to sleep at friends’ places (as for some unknown, odd reason my parents hated that idea).

That was a slow but sturdy process and by the end of high school, I was much closer to the entertaining person I wanted to become: I loved parties, I loved dancing and more than anything I loved to chat with people till late at night. Furthermore, I eventually managed to date a bad boy.

 

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Teenage love was a roller coaster, just as the books said it would be: there were many ups and downs, arguments and lots of “if he doesn’t care, it’s because he’s shy/doesn’t want to express his feelings/ just broke up with somebody else” to mask reality. I was the best at finding excuses that would make the world appear as if everything was going the way I wanted. Girls chats would revolve around boys, what to buy for his birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s day but most of all there was lots of planning for a future that was further away than we could imagine. I remember sitting on a bus, talking to a friend of a world ages ahead of us, feeling like I was almost there, ready to have a house and three kids.

I eventually managed to have quite a long story with that truly bad boy of mine. I was disappointed to discover that bad boys are actually very fragile and I was stronger than I thought. I was the one to lead the way when I actually wanted to be guided. I also learned I was much more than the girl I saw in the mirror, I had a powerful character and I was able to get what I wanted when I wanted. That turned out to be a very useful tool at times, but also quite disruptive when I discovered that once I had what I wanted, well, I didn’t want it anymore.

UNIVERSITY

By the time I finished high school, my bookcase was a river flooded with love stories that I wanted to live at all costs. Once I learned how tremendous the toll of the nightlife could be, I felt the urge to move away from that world and halfway through university I decided to date a good guy, a nice, harmless student. At that time, I spent most of my time away from home so I started to feel the need of replacing the love of my family with the love of a partner. I loved my independence, I fought hard for it, but I was not ready for the loneliness that comes with it. I wanted to find a person that would have been my family wherever I went.

 

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That was the hardest lesson to learn: no matter how much you love a person, that doesn’t mean they love you the same way. Love is not equal, love is not the same. I wanted to fly away, become an adult, share everything with my partner like I did with my sisters when we were young, but that didn’t mean the other person was feeling the same way.

I finished university thinking that I was a fool, that love was a waste of time and that all books had been lying to me. I was convinced there was no other person capable of loving as I was able to, and if there was, then I was quite a disaster in picking a good guy.

LIFE AFTER SCHOOL

Once I graduated, the only thing I wanted to do in life was to travel. So off I went, to Australia. However, L. decided to step in the way. I was so damn confused when I met him, I remember thinking: God, make this date go very badly so that I can just forget about him and move on, or make it the date of a lifetime because I’m so tired of wasting my time with guys.

And somehow, that turned out to be the latter. In a way, we traveled together and lived quite a few adventures though he claims I’m too posh sometimes. However, this more adult love turned out to be completely different from the love I once chased. This love was more calm and gentle, this love made me feel comfortable and at ease, this love gave me a freedom I was not expecting. It took me a whole year to figure out this was The Love. Love was not the sparkle I longed for when dating, that was more of a phase I had to go through to live life fully and to understand who I was. This love is stronger because it allows me to be who I really am, it pushes me to improve as a person and it sets me free. Love is comfortable as the best sofa in the world.

 

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That’s the end of my journey, that’s where I’ve arrived so far. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading my post and I wish you the best week ever!

Love

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