“You gotta know how to be happy by yourself. That was the main lesson I learned from that first love.“
What is love to you?
I think love is… love is in so many different forms. The most popular would be love for a person, for a significant other. It’s… I don’t know… it’s indescribable.
When is a moment that you felt love, either given or received?
I guess in a past relationship. It’s a feeling that no one can pinpoint with words, like “These are the symptoms of love and you go WebMD that, and you’re like did I catch the love?”
It’s so hard to be like that’s love and that’s not. I guess the closest thing I can describe is my own feeling towards someone. Like little gestures or someone going out of their way to do something that they didn’t have to, I feel that’s some sort of love. Even in friendships—it’s not exclusively in a romantic relationship—you don’t have an obligation to do something but you go out of your way just for the benefit of somebody else: that’s kind of love. Surprising somebody or being there when somebody needs you, that’s kind of it.
You’ve touched on love in friendships. Is it weird for you to tell your friends you love them?
Yeah, I’m not shy about that. I say it.
Do you think there’s a societal expectation that guys aren’t allowed to be expressive like that?
Yeah, I think so. Growing up I grew up with a pretty hard shell and I wouldn’t even tell girls I love them. I couldn’t even say the words. The word would not roll off my tongue. I found as I got older, I got more in touch with how I felt and I had a whole journey with that, where you get to know yourself better—an epiphany in a way or a realization—that I was more cool with feeling things. Because before I used to shut everything down.
It’s still a journey and that’s why it’s hard for me to answer that first question, because I’m working at it. I’m working at feeling more, because I walled myself for a long time. It’s getting better. I’m more okay with being vulnerable I’m okay with being sad, I’m okay with loving my friends and loving whoever now. But further than that, like romantic love… I’m making my way.
Did having those walls make previous relationships hard?
Yeah, I didn’t know how to love. [For why my relationships were hard,] I think that many factors come into play: timing, we were both young, but a part of it is was I didn’t know how to love. At first I didn’t know how to feel it, then I didn’t know how to show it. And I remember my first relationship not working out, got to me. It wasn’t a long relationship, it was just the fact that it was the first one I gave myself to. To give yourself and then to have it taken away is… I’m sure everyone’s felt that.
Did having your heart broken close you off again?
Nothing to do with the fact that relationship hurt me, but the light at the end of grieving was me realizing that I needed to be a better person, too. For years after that I was too busy trying to be a better me. I was too preoccupied to be in a relationship.
I wasn’t ready, I knew I wasn’t ready. Say the right person showed up, I couldn’t be the right person to them even if they were the right person for me. So I couldn’t do that. I took some time off in a way, I took a break, I went and changed a lot of things in my life at that time—which is kind of cool. So that was a very pivotal moment.
Do you believe in love now? Because I know you had a hard time feeling it.
I do, whether or not I’m ready to love right now is different from whether I believe it exists. I believe it exists to an extent. I think eventually I’ll find somebody.
I’m also, at this time, once again reworking on myself. It’s funny because I feel like every time you’re in a relationship in a way, I find it’s like traveling. I used to travel a lot on my own. And traveling by yourself is super liberating, super empowering, the most free thing you can do. And then I met my last girlfriend and then the travels became with somebody.
Then you kind of forget what it was like to travel by yourself. And so I just recently I talked with my friend group about traveling by ourselves. And you get nervous again, like do I still remember how to do this? Do I still have the skills to do this?
And in the same light, it’s like you find you’re happy by yourself and you work on yourself. Then you find somebody and they become this routine for you, and you learn to coexist together and they become this grounding thing and someone to lean on. And then, to some extent, you also forget what it’s like not to have them and to be completely by yourself again.
Once again it’s like I found more stuff that I should work on and more ambitious things I want to work on—like goals that I have and right now, relationships seem kind of distracting. But I’m not opposed to it if it happens, I’m just not looking for it at all or expecting it. Because then you subconsciously have this expectation and you have to fulfill that expectation.
What’s the number one lesson that all the previous relationships have taught you?
You gotta know how to be happy by yourself. That was the main lesson I learned from that first love. And I find a lot of people fall in this trap. You end up associating your happiness with another person and then when that person goes… well there goes your happiness. And then people are shattered, but that’s because their whole source of happiness is in that one person. And that person isn’t obligated to stay.
You have to find some sort of happiness that is beyond that person. That’s bigger than that, like within yourself.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two.
Hard. It’s such an individualized thing. You know the 5 Languages? Everyone receives and gives love in such different ways and when people are emotional, people don’t tend to communicate it the best. I mean sometimes there’s things that you do that they don’t notice, or maybe there’s something that they do that you don’t notice.
People tend to trial and error until they find someone that has the right frequency I guess, that they both work in the same frequency where they can accept each other’s love.
Love is a very difficult thing. No one teaches you. There’s no way to teach someone. And it’s also a very strong emotion that some people do crazy shit out of love. So there’s no way to very accurately describe for me what love is. It’s always this vague feeling… like you know when you know.