I have spent much of my life trying to figure out what love looks like.
For so long I was mesmerized by the Disney princess tales of Prince Charming and knights on white horses. I lived for the glittery romance and thrilling passion of these love stories.
Over the years I have discovered that the real life versions of these stories come with so much more trials and heartbreak.
The frogs seem to outnumber the princes.
The days spent in high castles waiting to be rescued seem to be endless.
The happily ever after often requires tears and compromise and a whole lot of things which must be written in the fine print in the Disney tales.
But as brutal as it is, I love the tragedy of our real life love stories. I love the high stakes, the tangible expressions, the depth that cartoons cannot begin to capture.
I just wish I had known love wasn’t meant to be hard.
I think love should be soft like freshly washed sheets and warm like the morning sunshine on your back. Love should be gentle like a boat bobbing along a small stream and safe like your bedroom when a storm is battering outside on the windows.
You shouldn’t have to make them want to be with you. They should just want to be with you.
You shouldn’t have to become someone else for them. They should just love you for the wonderful person that you are.
You shouldn’t have to try so hard because love should be easy.
And so with this in mind I wanted to reminisce on my past loves…the lessons I’ve learnt from them and the poems they inspired.
To the ones that didn’t know I existed…
Oh how I obsessed over you. If you only knew all the silly nicknames I gave you. If you could only see all the journals I covered with your name.
You gave me a first glimpse of the intensity of love.
You showed me just how overwhelming, confusing and all-consuming these feelings can be. You taught me that I can bounce back rather quickly from heartbreak and that crushes aren’t really love at all.
Crushes are superficial and hardly ever based on facts. Whereas, love is substantial, built on truth and knowing more about someone than their favourite ice cream flavour.
To the one who didn’t want me…
I tried to be the girl for you, oh I tried so hard.
I laughed at your jokes before I understood the punchline. I walked at your pace even though my legs were working twice as hard as yours. I listened intently when you talked about politics though I thought it was about as interesting as watching the washing machine swirl my clothes around.
I suppose it’s not your fault, I fell for you and you didn’t even know it. But that’s the way you are, stuck inside your head you leave little room for emotions. So of course you had no inkling of mine.
But you taught me what a gift it is to feel so strongly. What I take for granted is such a struggle for some. You reminded me how precious it is to know love and how difficult yet thrilling it is to express it.
To the one who wanted to be ‘just friends…’
I thought you were different. I thought this time it might stick. I thought perhaps if I wished it hard enough, you would want me enough to stay.
But I was wrong.
We should have only ever been friends. You shouldn’t have toyed with my heart the way you did. You should have been honest from the start instead of allowing me to push you into a relationship you weren’t interested in.
But you taught me how much it hurts to love someone that doesn’t feel the same. And you reminded me how good it feels to love so even though losing you almost tore me in two, I knew I would search forever to find someone who would let me love them like you couldn’t.
To the one who loved me back…
I promised myself I’d never write soppy love poems or I’d certainly never publish them but for you I will make an exception.
Because I cannot talk about heartbreak and hopeless love without mentioning how it feels when it goes right.
So here it is. You are my sunshine, my safe place and my favourite song I could keep singing all day long.
You taught me how to love myself again. You showed me what trust looks like. You made vulnerability seem so effortless. You took the hardest thing in the world- opening up my heart again- and made it feel like the easiest.
It has always frustrated me that we have to live life forwards. With the knowledge we gain, in hindsight we would do things so differently.
But that’s the way life is. We can’t dwell on the past but rather try our best to make the future better.
It gives me great joy to know that the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learnt because of them have shaped me into the person who I am today. And that through these experiences I can help others learn from my mistakes and hopefully do better than me.
And so I hope that this will be true for you.
That you will continue to love with your whole heart but to only share it with those truly deserving of it.
Remember, love is really quite simple…if they love you, they’ll make sure you know it.