A month or so ago I found myself writing in my journal: “Maybe showing symptoms of a crush isn’t the same thing as having a crush.” Which made me realize that I view love much differently than the girl who tried to kiss a curly-blond-haired boy in preschool she just met.
My last completely submerging incident of love happened two summers ago, and since then I’ve been introducing a myriad of words and qualifiers to my vocabulary that indicate interest but just shying away from a proper crush. I went through a gigantic senpai phase, which is a Japanese honorific appropriated to mean an older someone to whom you have a fawning affection for. Following senpai were orbits, “testing the water”, flirtationships, “vibe-ing”, and most recently, “girl crushes for boys.” And of course: “he’s attractive but I don’t like him!”
I’m not discounting any of these phrases. They are not shallow disguises for deeper attachments, because I feel like they are all valid descriptions of my emotions at the time. But I’m noticing that I have more requirements for “love” status now, more boxes to check off. It seems like I keep finding nuances in passion that narrow its definition, winnowing it down further.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I think — it’s good to develop a more complex and mature view of love. It’s good that I don’t bleed myself dry for random boys who sit next to me in class anymore. It’s good that love means something more to me than a mere infatuation.
But there’s a fear in the back of my mind that I’m going to whittle down the definition of love into nothing. That there’ll be so many requirements to check off that no one is going to cut it. That I’ll live life with only lukewarm feelings for others, liking people but always dissatisfied enough to fall short of love.
I consider myself as someone who loves liberally and freely. I make a point not to fear love and I have my own personal definition of the word that is more relaxed. I hope that doesn’t change. Simply put, I love being a lover of life.