“…if you are willing to forgo the anxiety that being vulnerable brings then you’ll understand what it’s like.“
So what is love to you?
I guess it all depends, really, on how you’re feeling, because a lot of the time, when you first start something with someone, everything can feel like love. Everything can really actually look like that.
Love is the things that wake you up. It makes you want to do more than what you think you can. It’s the things that make you reconsider. It’s the things that make you challenge yourself and the things around you. It’s the things that drive you. Love is many things. But at the end of the day it makes you want to live and see [the other person] grow.
What are things that you love or make you feel loved?
Warm hugs. You would be very surprised how easily a compliment can disarm a person. I mean, just like genuine support, too. I can say that I love my brothers, sisters and anybody else that’s around when they show support. But it’s also about celebrating the other person.
When is a time you felt love, either given or received?
Well, there was the time when, Tiffany* actually purchased a really important piece of equipment for me. It sounds so small. But it was something that, like has legitimately helped me in everything that I done since. Even though we don’t speak as much now. It felt like love in that situation because it wasn’t asked for. But the lengths that she had gone to to bring that to me, made a big difference to me.
That’s an example of receiving love: that that love can be in the form of an actual item or it can be in the form of just understanding. I mean, nowadays, when I share information or I share anything about myself, a lot of the time I see that as love because it’s something that I have to maintain. Something that, you know, if I open up do you understand or even just listen? Something as simple as that can really influence how you feel about yourself.
So how did you perceive love growing up?
At first, I thought it was just liking being around the same person. I grew up with just one of my parents. I didn’t really have any kind of lived in examples of it. I understood love from a woman’s point of view and more so than I did from a man’s because had never had examples of a man loving a woman unconditionally.
And, you know, as time went by, I started to understand it a lot more. As you get older, you realize that it’s more about sharing yourself more completely. If you can completely share yourself, if you are willing to forgo the anxiety that being vulnerable brings then you’ll understand what it’s like. You really do have to put yourself in a situation that could potentially hurt you.
What about self-love?
It is the hardest and most essential thing you have to do. There are two ways you can look at it: you can look at it as you building mental armour for yourself or you can see it as you transcending yourself.
There’s different methods. I started out with distractions. The distractions, don’t let you deal with the trauma. They almost force you to hold everything until they manifest into something much worse or ill-timed.
So when my distractions ran out, when I exhausted everything, that’s when I started to ask the questions. And I feel like that’s when you really start to actually grow. And even if you are practicing healthy self-love, your definition of healthy self-love can change too.
Can love be traumatic?
Oh, yes, I think a lot of trauma comes from a lack of or a confused understanding of love. There’s physical trauma you can get from it, there’s mental trauma. It can really sour the world for me. But it could also make it so much better.
Love is…? Fill in the blank.
Love is weird.
It’s like an ebb and flow. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low. Sometimes it’s just chilling right in the middle of the flow. And it just goes back and forth, you know? Like when it’s consistent people grow a lot and they learn from it.
And because it could be so many forms there’s no one way to look at it. That’s what makes it so weird, because it could not be easily defined. It’s weird, but it’s not foreign. Like, you can understand the different sides of it and you may even experience all of them without actually being in love. It’s different.