The first experience of love for most of us is from our parents. I am no different. I always knew that I was loved as a child by the people I call “Mum” and “Dad.” I was also brought into the world with three older brothers as siblings. And no doubt, even as a child, I knew that my brothers loved me very much. They always made a fuss over me and they are part of the reason that growing up, I felt very spoiled with love. But I think the first real lesson I learned about how to give love and not just receive love was the day I became a big sister.
Thirteen years later, my favorite memory and the best day of my life is still the day my sister was born. I will never forget the feeling of that moment of looking at her for the first time and that sensation of pure and utter perfect love. It’s the only honest love at first sight I have ever experienced. From that day, I think I knew what giving love is supposed to feel like. Because it felt like I would do absolutely anything for her in the world. I was going to love her with all I had and give her everything I had to offer. It was really that simple.
And my sister’s love is probably some of the purest I know in the world. Maybe it’s because she is young enough, and life hasn’t ruined love for her in the way it does for most adults. Even though we are separated by oceans, I know that her love for me is honest, unwavering, and so independent of moods or motives or anything else. I know that I am loved deeply by my parents and brothers and a few very good friends. But there is something about being loved by a child that can teach you that love can be simple and pure and uncomplicated.
I go back and forth between being a cynic about love and a hopeless romantic – an often closeted hopeless romantic, but one nonetheless. When I look around me and I see most of the relationships of my peers, the truth is I do not feel comforted. I see people who are selling themselves short just to have any kind of love. I see people who want to engage in unnecessary fights and quarrels under the guise of passion. I see people who are so dependent on each other for validation and an identity. And I see lust and the fear of being alone and the need to be wanted by anyone, as substitutes for love.
But why does this generation feel the need to make love so complicated? Is it just limited to this generation? Is love complicated regardless of space and time? I don’t know. And maybe this is where my hopeless romantic comes into play. Because I don’t need romantic love to be the be-all-end-all of my existence. I just need it to complement who I am and the person I love to be. I don’t need love to feel like I’ve given up on trying and will settle for what’s available because I’m exhausted. I need it to feel like we deserve each other because we authentically want each other. And I don’t need love to have this ever-burning fire of emotion. I need it to be sincerely passionate but calming and playful, in a world where so many things can stress you out. I don’t need love to solely prevent a lifetime of aloneness. I need it to feel like a true friend, a true companion, will care for me simply, purely, and as uncomplicatedly as possible. And I will do the same.
Maybe love is the easy part and everything else is complicated – relationships, marriage, etc. Or maybe it’s just people who choose to be complicated and choose to make their love complicated. And as the cynical part of me is trying to die slowly each day, I realize more and more that I just don’t want complicated love. It’s not that I think love from any person is perfect because it’s not; people are not perfect. But it shouldn’t feel like the difficult task and burden that I seem to witness. It shouldn’t feel like constantly wrestling for a sign of certainty from the other person; anxiously waiting for their phone call, endless tears and never-ending fear of making one minor mistake that could leave you heartbroken. Because this is what I mostly witness from my generation. But I just can’t believe that this is it – this can’t be it especially when we’re so young.
Love is a sacrifice. It’s a desire to want to take care of another person. It’s putting that person’s needs before yours. It’s accepting the disappointments and imperfection of that person and dealing with the pains that come with that. But love, especially when you’re young should also be fun. You should feel the heat but not feel like you’re getting burned. It should be about laughter and it should be light; it should be simple.
And if the other stuff that comes after love is complicated then we learn to deal with it along the way. But if the love is so complicated in the first place, I just don’t know if that’s a road worth travelling. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I just have no clue what I’m talking about. Or maybe you and I as The Perks Of Being A Wallflower famous quote states, accept the kind of love we think we deserve. Because I think the kind of love that we let in our lives tends to change us; it defines us. And thus we become defined not only by the love that we give, but also by the love that we are willing to receive.