Why I Hope I Was Wrong About Every Time I Thought I Was In Love


Before even writing the first sentence, I can hear the comments:

     – But those experiences have made you who you are!
     – You should have no regrets.
     – You’re strong and resilient- don’t believe that!
     – It’ll happen when you least expect it.
     – Something about “growth experiences”.
     – Something about “love”.
     – Something about, well, something…

But I do. I really do hope that every “I love you/ I love you more” has been a lie, a story told to each other like fables told to children to teach them a lesson.

Every “you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen” has come with a lesson.  Every “I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope you’re in it” has come with a lesson. Every “I’ve never connected with anyone like this before” has come with a lesson. Every “I love you/ I love you more” has come with a lesson to be learned.

I’ve learned the lesson that “beautiful” does not imply ageless or everlasting or anything beyond just a pretty face. I’ve learned that neither the stars nor psychics nor ex-boyfriends can predict where the future may go. Wishes and words in birthday cards are easily forgotten in the bottom of the underwear drawer or the discard pile of the mail. That if connections were non-parallel lines on the same plane, they’d only intersect once. But if connections were parallel lines, they’d infinitely never cross — no matter how close they began. I’ve learned the lesson that connections are usually just interceptions — that for a brief moment in time two lives meet at the same place. Co-existing for an instance.

I have co-existed in this instance. Learning lessons I thought I already learned years ago. Or never needed to be taught.

At fifteen, I stayed up till two or three in the morning breathing on the phone with a boy with curly hair while he played the most recent Nirvana song he had learned. Or staring at the stars while talking about the Universe and all its glorious mysteries.  

In college, my heart was broken by a boy with good shoulders and a sweet laugh. “It takes two seconds to grab someone’s hand” was the advice from a friend on the dorm steps. With more electricity than I remember at fifteen, at eighteen I held his hand. Electric and innocent.  And short lived — crying on the bathroom floor on New Year’s Eve.

Later that year, I was kissed at a stop sign returning from a trip to the lake. After a week of staying up until the sun rose in Tennessee, we went to the lake. I smiled and touched my lips the entire drive home. I was nineteen. He was twenty-three. At nineteen, twenty-three seemed so mature. He had “plans” and a future. I was in love with the idea what was right. When he was deployed to Afghanistan, my heart broke. Again. “You can never love someone as much as you can miss someone.” And I didn’t miss him.  After almost four years of family vacations and movies and meeting best friends, I didn’t miss him. After over a year in the sandbox, he returned home to another girl that wasn’t me.

At twenty-two I was in love with a country boy who had camo seat covers, was a Republican, loved to ride a four-wheeler, and used chewing tobacco. But, my God, did he have pretty eyes and made me laugh. I would send him song lyrics to my “hippie music” and he would talk about country stars in cowboy boots and sundresses long before I ever listened to Taylor Swift. At twenty-two, my life plans were coming together. I had a co-op with NASA and my career was beginning. He was a year older and graduating in December while I still had over a year until graduation. But long distance didn’t seem like a bad idea. Long distance never seems like a bad idea when you’re in love.  

And, I was in love. Love meant miles on the road and waking up at 5:00 AM on Monday mornings to spend another night at his place. Love meant flying kites and shared sitcoms. Love meant frustrating phones calls because 23-year-olds get drunk and say dumb things. Love meant hiding my phone with a friend so that I couldn’t see if he had called or texted. Love meant “I think I need more space…” followed a few days later by “I miss you”. Love meant pridefully telling a stupid boy “Ok…So?” then crying to my best friend.  Being in love meant losing my friend. Again.

When I thought love had arrived, after years of innocent emails and long nights in Nashville, I greeted it with hand-written letters and searching for that song with hopes that he, too, would appreciate the lyrics like how I did. It was welcomed with an awkward first kiss and the longest hug as he packed-up and drove 10 hours away. Because when you’re in love, long distance seems like a good idea. Because when you’re in love, you believe in completion and compliments. You believe in sprinkles and sparklers and confetti. And so much glitter! You believe in redefining Love. Again. And again. Until it fits. …Or until it rubs you raw. We were two parallel lines that should have never touched. He was twenty-three, and he had never been touched.  We rubbed each other raw until the moment no longer existed. We no longer existed. As anything.

So, why?

Why do I hope that I was wrong about every time I thought I was in love?

Being in love meant losing my friend. Again. We no longer existed. As anything.

“You can never love someone as much as you miss someone.” 

I have exhausted so many feelings. Feelings. Emotions. Love. Butterflies. Joy. Fear. Heart-exploding happiness. Anxiety. Jealousy. Sadness. Love. Love. Love. Into so many relationships. Into so many people that I thought I was building memories with.

And now? 

And now I refuse to use their names… even in a blog.

I have said “I have never felt this way about anyone before” and “I am so glad that you exist”. I have said “love”and thought I meant it. I have felt like exploding open with so much joy and happiness thinking my insider were just a time-bomb of sprinkles and glitter! I have painted the word LOVE. On canvas. And made mixed tapes. And have written my heart out into the most beautiful and real words I have ever thought. Or thought I have ever thought?

I know… I know…

You’re thinking the stuff I wrote at the beginning.

      – But those experiences have made you who you are!
      – You should have no regrets.
      – You’re strong and resilient- don’t believe that!
      – It’ll happen when you least expect it.
      – Something about “growth experiences”.
      – Something about “love”.

Something about “love”….

There is still this “something about love” piece within.  

There is still this gigantic Hope that I’m going to meet someone that is going to knock me head over heels, be the patient and strong man that I need, and redefine again what Love is. For the last time. For that person, I never want to compare any twenty-three year old to. It is the reset button. Starting over. Starting new. As if this is the first time I have ever felt like exploding sprinkles and glitter while running around in circles holding sparklers.

Because we both deserve that.