Love Should Come With A Warning Label. But Also A Label That Says, “May Cause Extreme Happiness.” Either/Or


Love. This is a thing that has never come easy for me. I’ve been rejected, dejected, bitter and insecure all in the face of it. I’ve convinced myself I was in it and I’ve moved from place to place in order to avoid it. I’ve fallen for men who were married, in relationships, emotionally-stunted, men that I’ve kissed or not kissed, for men that have never known the depth of my feelings. I’ve done things I thought would fill a void I didn’t know I had.

Love is a fierce competitor. When it’s wrong, it aims to suck the focus from your life. When it’s right, it aims to fill in the gaps of all the happiness you hadn’t found before.

Love is a poem that no one can finish. An enigma that can’t find its correct form. An amalgamation of everything that exists in your head concerning the topics of romance and mutual respect. It’s an untainted, unvarnished mirror that is held up to you constantly, exposing the flaws, imperfections and perfections that have otherwise been overlooked or pushed deep within yourself. It’s heartbreaking and horrific and breaks open your chest in a way you can’t fathom until you’re in the middle of it, fully knowing that even if there was an escape route, you wouldn’t take it.

I went to Paris to find my love. I didn’t know it at the time. I boarded the plane with one suitcase packed full of all the belongings I couldn’t live without and set out with a determination that was unrivaled by any I’d felt before. Something, an invisible hand, a force stronger than me was not just leading me to Europe, but was throwing me at it, taunting me with the worrisome idea that if I didn’t go, I’d wander through life in an unfulfilled haze, this sort of gnawing sense that something is there waiting for me.

It was a month and a half into my Parisian adventure and I’d already had enough hardship that I was ready to board that plane back to America, forsaking whatever invisible force was, in my opinion, wrongly leading me across the Atlantic. I had been sick for months, lonely, mostly friendless and in a pit of despair so deep that I was crying on a daily basis, screaming to the sky, “WHY AM I HERE!?” If rock bottom could be any lower, that’s where I was.

And then, on a random Monday, I felt better and alive and hopeful. I went to Notre Dame at noon to wander and it was there that one single, “Bonjour,” led me to an incredible love.

I had gone to Paris to meet him, so that him and I could fall in love and tangle our lives together. We went from not knowing each other existed to spending every moment we could together. We haven’t been without hardship or volatile arguing or unstoppable tears, but it has all come back to that one reason it’s worth it: love.

Everything that I had been previously scared about when it came to falling in love disintegrates when I’m with him. This beautiful man who is slowly learning English, who is so different from everything I thought I knew about men that I sometimes wonder if he’s real or a hologram of what I want in a lover. He’s gentle and committed and manly and devoted to not just mine, but the happiness of his family as well. He’s a rare occurrence, a potent combination of romance and ruggedness, a man that gives his all, but not in a way that allows people to walk all over him. He’s truly a combination of attributes that I couldn’t have ever put on a list, for fear that it would be deemed unrealistic. He’s the needle and somehow I found him in the haystack.

Love. It has eluded me for years, tested my beliefs about myself, striving to understand if I think I’m inadequate, undeserving, unlovable. Little did I know that, all this time, when I thought the world had been terribly unfair in all my love life matters, all it was doing was saving my fragile little heart for this unbelievably pure union.

Love. A sneaky bitch, if I’ve ever seen one.