“…to be genuine and to be shown authenticity, despite our imperfections… are important components for love to be present.”
Describe one moment you felt love: whether it was something you felt from someone else or something you felt toward someone else.
For me, it’s always been in the quiet moments: those intimate times where we lose ourselves in each other’s presence, where everything fades away and there’s simply the two of us together in our own rhythm. We lead, we follow, we fall, we get up, and we keep going. And when we do begin to break away from our little world, we linger to stay in the moment as long as we can. Maybe the band plays another song and you get another dance, maybe it’s the end of the night. It’s in those types of moments with people that I’ve felt love: to be genuine and to be shown authenticity, despite our imperfections, to have trust and to be vulnerable, are important components for love to be present.
What influenced your perception of love from a child to now? And has that changed or stayed the same?
As I look back, I think the biggest change was recognizing different types of love. I placed a lot of emphasis on romantic love when I was younger because I saw it as the main source of happiness. To be in love was a lot of things: it was exciting, it was scary, it was painful. At the time, I wanted to jump right in and feel what I saw on TV and in movies. Sadly, like most people, I broke my heart. It took a few more times and a death to realize we lose a lot in life to time. Taking a moment to consider what’s was important, I saw a trend of anxiety and worry in my romantic relationships. I found that I placed a disproportionate amount of my happiness in the hands of people that I didn’t truly know. That uncertainty and that emotional investment in “what-could-be” was disastrous for my mentality.
I decided that that I needed to find a balance that I felt was reasonable. Of all the things I wanted to carry in life, worrying and anxiety about the past and the future was not one of them. I still feel anxious and I still worry but reframing how I think about them helps me accept them and then discard them. In this way, I can carry more important things like love.
In any relationship in your life, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned and what is the foundation to keep those relationships strong?
There is an ebb and flow in every aspect of life: there will be ups and downs. Although the low points are more memorable and feel like they last forever, it’s important to remember that they don’t. Some problems take time and some take reflection to understand—it’s within this flow that we develop and grow.
With that in mind, my relationships also have periods of decline and elevation and it’s important to be aware of how people are and where you are, in relation. It is important to know when it’s better to speak and when it’s better to listen. It is important to know when it’s better to give space and when it’s better to engage. Throughout all my relationships, the biggest lesson I’ve learn was how to be sincere and how to be empathetic towards myself and others.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two and explain why.
Love is calm. My experiences have always bounced between extremes: heavenly highs where I could walk on clouds and devastating lows where I would crash terribly. I grew up thinking that this was what love was, an unsteady ship in turbulent waters, where sailing into the beautiful sunset was as just as normal as drowning deep in darkened waters. The smallest of gestures were exaggerated and I perceived them as immediate indication of the strength of the relationship. I found the only firm grounding was through the progression of the relationship. I pushed for further commitment even when I knew it didn’t feel right. My partner was my main source of happiness and needed to be tended to with the utmost care, dedication, and protection. I specifically recall speaking to you in Grade 6 about love and that it required 100% of yourself and your response was that although it was sweet, it wasn’t necessary. Eventually, I understood the full implications of our discussion in the broader context and the need for moderation.