What is Love? Neil

Love is K-os: Neil

“When I was younger I could see it but I didn’t know that’s what love is. But now I look back I’ll be like that was love.”

Relationship Status: Single

What’s your definition of love?

When you’re completely comfortable with somebody, I know it’s totally cliche, but when you are feeling just complete. It’s as simple as that. Any insecurities you might have, they may know them all and they’re fine with it. All your imperfections, they know it all and they’re fine with it. And vice versa.

It could be I love pizza, but I don’t love you in that way, type of love. There’s different forms of love obviously, I love to cook, I love to take photos, I love to go cycling. On a romantic level, I probably have only felt it a couple of times and I can honestly say that they were two relationships that might have been wifey material, I think when I was young you always think that you can do better. I think that was my frame of mind: I took it for granted. They’re both married now and I’m happy for them—we’re civil, we get along—but I can honestly say they were two that I probably could look back on and be like, “Damn, I don’t know what I had.”

It was probably about a four year relationship, the longest one, which I can look back and be like “Yeah I messed that up.” And I feel like when I was with her I was more confident than I ever was. Obviously when you get older you learn about yourself, but by then I was about 22, and maybe if things worked differently, obviously my life would be completely different, but I can honestly say I’m happy where I am now, but hypothetically I would be very happy equally if I ended up with that girl.

Love… you can’t have it without feeling the negatives. You can’t really say you felt it unless you’ve lost it. I think that’s a huge part, some people are lucky enough to have one person, or a high school sweetheart—but obviously that’s not the majority.

What was the biggest lesson you learned through losing someone?

It’s as simple as don’t take it for granted because… I mean where I am right now in terms of my hobbies and my passions, photography is one of them and I never thought I’d be where I am. And she was always into photography, like her dad had a shop, so she was always into it, I kind of just got into it. And not only did we love each other back then as kids, but I can only imagine growing into adults, with her and sustaining that relationship, and then just sharing the same passions, like I can only imagine. It’s all hypothetical, it’s all hindsight. But I mean that’s one lesson is just don’t take it for granted.

And be grateful and appreciate day by day, not thinking too far ahead. When I was younger obviously, you know I thought I was gonna get married at 25, with a white picket fence, and kids. And now I’m 38 and I’m not complaining, but yeah it could have been a lot more different.

What is Love? Neil

Do you still believe in finding love?

I definitely believe in it, I haven’t lost sight of it but I definitely feel it’s not meant to be planned. As I grow older I feel love, or life in general, never goes the way you plan it, never ever. And I just feel like, organically I understand that term more in terms of relationships. I know that when I feel it I know it. When I was younger, I just felt like I’ll just spit game and I’ll get a girl. Now it’s more or less I know who I am and I’m not trying to be somebody I’m not. And if I meet somebody and things happen organically and sparks fly, you’ll know. And I can honestly say when I was younger I could say I might have known, but I really didn’t.

What was your perception of love growing up? Did you have anyone you looked up to?

Oh I had a lot of examples, I have a family of 12, I’m number 11. So always had a babysitter. I always had my kuya I always had my ate, and they obviously had boyfriends and girlfriends, I had that, I had my parents. It was an amazing, fantastic childhood, I went out all the time because I had a babysitter, they always took care of me, they always made sure I was safe, always made sure I was fed, and then when I could just focus on being a kid and maybe there might be times where it was tough love too. You know they would scold me, so just seeing their relationships with their significant others, seeing my parents, just always laughing and being in love. When I was younger I could see it but I didn’t know that’s what love is. But now I look back I’ll be like that was love.

And now that you see that in retrospect, how important is familial love to you?

It’s important, I do prioritize it. But I’m also really just all about enjoying life as it comes. Because a couple years ago one of the reasons I wanted to take care of myself and change my diet and all that stuff was because you those wake up calls from your doctor. So right now, as I speak, I’m really more focusing on myself and learning to love myself. Because I feel like, like I said before, if I see something organically happening with someone else the best thing I can do is to give my best sales pitch by being the best I can be. Because if I love myself first then I’ll be able to love somebody else. I didn’t always think that way when I was younger.

It feels good to know that I’m doing something to benefit me. We’re all over social media, everybody knows what you’re doing, so people see me, see what I’m posting, the dishes I make, activities I’m doing, and they see a big difference not only in terms of losing 30 to 40 pounds, but just overall wellness. And for them to be like, “You’re inspiring me, I might not go vegan but I will definitely eat less meat,” or something like that, it’s crazy. It’s an amazing feeling.

What is Love? Neil

So what would your advice be for others to reach where you are in life, in the sense of your understanding and love for yourself?

Honestly, don’t be so hard on yourself. Life his life and nine times out of ten, life will kick your ass. It’s that tenth time, you just keep coming and appreciating life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I feel like people look at failure as the worst thing that can happen. Honestly, I’ve had nieces and nephews that I look at and I feel the best advice I give them is to try everything and fail as much as you can. Why? Because that’s going to teach you a lot of things. It’s going to teach you about persistence, about hard work, and the more you fail, the more you succeed because you’re going to keep coming back stronger than ever.

Love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two.

I don’t wanna sound corny but: k-OS. So not the word c-h-a-o-s, but k-o-s, you know that artist? So it means knowledge of self and that to me is love. Because, like I said before, if you aren’t your best self, how can you give yourself to somebody else? I mean we all have inner demons, we all have skeletons, we’re all blessed, but we all have our struggle. But I feel like if, you can weather the storm and just come out on top, no matter how high the mountain, the struggles that you’re able to accomplish, beat, whatever you want to call it, as long as you’re able to get past that day by day, what’s not to love about that? 

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