Love. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot. In the big emotional moments and in the small insignificant ones. “I love pizza!” versus “I love my family”. Same word. Totally different meaning. Right now I’m here to talk about my personal experience with the emotion. Because, while shame and grief are my least favorite emotions, love is by far my favorite. And, despite what the songs and films will have you believe, it’s not an easy emotion to explain. But I’ll try my best.
Tonight I went and saw the musical I was cut from. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, my all-time favorite Disney film. To say that I was hardcore fangirling is a major understatement. The show itself is all about showing compassion to those who are different, to those who don’t belong, and to those who don’t fit the “status quo”. The show is all about unselfish love, too. Loving someone without needing to possess them. It’s a beautiful show and it was expertly done. I was sitting there grinning like an idiot, feeling my heart soar, and even getting chills during multiple parts. It was one hell of a performance and to say that I loved it would not be an exaggeration.
On top of this, I finally met my sister’s long-term boyfriend and learned that my brother has been dating someone for awhile now. All of a sudden, for the second time in my life, I’m the only single person in my family. While I’m happy for my siblings for finding love, I can’t help but feel left out. Like everyone is slowly leaving me behind and I am alone. I love my family and seeing them find love is really a wonderful thing. But there’s a sense of loneliness and fear to the realization, too. It’s like everyone’s finding themselves, finding happiness, and finding a partner. And here I am. Still confused. Still lost. Still trying to find my place. And still alone.
On top of this, the show starred two men who I have had feelings for since I was ten years old. Which is insane to really think about. But, watching them tonight, all I could feel was nostalgia and pride. They’ve grown up, they’re kicking ass, and past me had really solid taste. I’d be lying if I said the butterflies weren’t still there, even now. I also saw a bunch of my old friends and acquaintances, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. Yet it felt like I’d only seen them yesterday. I felt like a part of something again. I felt like I was returning home, however brief it may be. My heart felt like it was being crushed under the weight of love that I was feeling as I looked around at everyone. Old friends, old crushes, my family…this is what love feels like.
Love is a difficult emotion to describe. It’s this warm feeling in your chest of safety and contentment. A feeling like you’re where you are meant to be, where you belong, and everything just feels right. Like it’s all clicked into place just as it was meant to. It’s a feeling of intense fondness for the people who matter to you. It’s a mixture of familiarity and newness. Like when you reread a book for the millionth time, yet it still feels just as exciting as it did the first time through. It’s seeing someone and the overriding thought being “damn, I’m glad this person is/was in my life”.
Life comes with a lot of shit attached. Death, loss, heartbreak, failure, and mistakes are amongst some of the struggles of life. But. Love really is worth it all. That warm feeling in your chest that comes just from being around the people you care about. It’s such a genuine and pure emotion. It’s a wonderful gift. And it is absolutely worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I have never regretted loving. Sure, sometimes it hurts more than I can bear. Sometimes the memories are agony. Sometimes I end up unable to sleep and afraid that the tears will never stop. But I wouldn’t take back any of it. Not for a second. A life of high highs and low lows…well, that’s the only way to do it right. A life safely half-lived? No thank you.
“We are only human and the Gods have fashioned us for love. That is our greatest glory and our greatest tragedy”-George R.R. Martin