It was at the point of embarrassment. I don’t mean embarrassing like spilling all your food on the ground in the middle of the café at school with hundreds of people staring at you. It didn’t make me blush and get over-heated when he walked past or any of that monotony. It was just humiliating. I spoke of him as if he hung the moon in the sky and painted the stars. I found myself uncontrollably staring and examining him, trying to find a flaw, something to make him unappealing to me and end the insanity, but I failed each time. The butterflies that I had assumed were deceased in the pit of my stomach all came gracefully dancing back to life as even the briefest thought of him passed through my mind. I had fallen in love with the world in him.

Let it be known that these kinds of facts humiliated me. Kindhearted people like him made me feel dirty, as if I needed to cleanse myself of all my wrongdoings. He was one of those people who inspired you to look at yourself in a different light and question what you thought you already knew. He made me hold a mirror up to my life and reevaluate all the chaos. These are the type of people worth keeping around, right? I once was one of those mysteriously compassionate people. Somewhere along the way I veered off the path. I allowed others to have power over my life and dictate the rhythms, and then acted astonished when there were scratches on my surface. Becoming this scratched and distorted version of myself had obstructed my heart and emotional capacity with a massive brick barrier. It seemed more likely for my heart to jump out of my chest and keep running until it reached someone who wanted it then for someone to break that brick wall down, or even to thrust a few pieces aside to slither through.

Coming from a society where love is one of those mysterious words that had an extensive list of rules on the parameters of using it made it even more frightening to communicate authentically and to understand.  I had grown up with the impression that true love is rare. So rare that society tells us it can only be experienced in definitive conditions. Loving too quickly is considered to be apocryphal and meaningless. Loving too many appears superficial and shallow. The catastrophe is that society claims love can only be beautiful if it is extraordinary, rare, and properly follows the rules.  My brain dwelled upon these societal views and tangled up the meaning of the genuine rarity that had been placed in front of me to grasp onto.  As someone who is typically out of touch with reality, it had been a struggle for me to absorb this outlandish expression known as love. Until then, the feeling had been placed in a dictionary of obscure sensations that I would never be acquainted with.

Although, after contemplating it, I did know love. I had fallen in love numerous times every day: with a word, a sound, a thought, a face, a song, with everything. But, to place that meaning of love parallel to a person who was not my family seemed absurd. If you genuinely love someone, you risk the danger of not loving him one day, which was another reason I had disputed this feeling for so long. When you carelessly tumble head first into love, it does not magically carry you off into a fairytale world. You have to keep the feeling alive yourself by devoting a critical subdivision in your mind and heart to that person. This idea sounded terrifying to me; that’s because it was.

I battled myself for weeks on end and tried to talk myself out of it. To my astonishment, it wasn’t as easy to shove aside as other emotions had been in the past. I had begun to struggle with saying goodbye because each time I wanted to blurt out the words, “I love you!” Alternatively — of course — I would panic and sob sporadically. My emotions had become tangled into this intricate, incomprehensive web that I was petrified to unravel. When he asked me how I felt I would spit out excuses rather than explain myself. In reality, I could explain, but that scratched and distorted version of me was clenching my tongue too tightly. I decided it was time to slay this demonized version of me once and for all.

To explicitly display my true thoughts and feelings, I had to shamelessly admit them to myself. This may appear as the simplest and most painless idea, but I begged to differ. I had to consciously allow myself to feel an emotion that in the end might lead to the path of heartbreak.  As a realist, it seemed nearly impossible to let myself wander leisurely onto that path, but I knew if I wanted to slaughter distorted-me I had to close my eyes and plunge full-speed ahead. So, each time I felt myself hesitate I would expose my mind to the terrifying world of possibilities and attempt to escape the prison of my own thoughts.

There was also the societal obstruction that I needed to dispute. Every place I turned was a movie, a song, a television show, or a book about love. This made it quite impervious to place individual connotations to words or to isolate thoughts and feelings from the standard.  To my expectations, the steps to battling this demon got progressively difficult as I reached this stage. Though things seemed perfect to my assessments, the extensive list of rules society thrust upon me deemed otherwise.  However, the closer I got to having faith in myself, the less I was concerned with the nonsense society proposed. The journey to reach the authentic meaning of the word love, to my discovery, was within me entirely.

Admittedly, I may never genuinely comprehend a word so controversial, irrational, idiosyncratic and peculiar. But, after countless days of dissecting each redundant definition, I decided to compose my own meaning through my personal ideas. Love is the little things. Love is appreciating the world through another person. Love is rearranging your priorities. Love is unconditional, uninhibited, and unintentional. Love is learning a foreign language. Love is touching infinity. Love is listening. Love is not judging. Love is not flawless, but is understanding that it doesn’t have to be. And most of all, love is not how society portrays it. It is an imaginative and inspirational discovery of another human being, as well as yourself.

After reaching this moment clarity, it was impossible to deny that the feeling I was experiencing was anything other than love. There is no textbook written about how or when or why it happens, it just does. And it happened to me.

I fell in love with another being. I fell in love with the universe, the way the sun rose each morning and the way the moon appeared each night. I fell in love with bliss, with sadness, with every emotion and I understood that one could not exist without the other. I fell in love with words more than ever before and wanted to place them in strands of perfectly eloquent phrases. I fell in love with a beautiful, frustrating, talented, eccentric, awkward, and extraordinary individual. Rather than dwelling upon the ‘”what-if’s,” I allowed the once-sturdy brick wall to come crashing down while observing with an invigorating grin.

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