When I was young, I thought love was as simple as saying, ‘I like you’ to another. When my fingertips lingered on the photograph of adorable couple from a glossy magazine, I thought to myself that it was the kind of relationship that I wanted to have, once I became an adult. When I read a fairytale book, I convinced myself that happily ever after could happen in real life.
And maybe I still do.
So when you came into my life, I was ecstatic. I had my hopes all stacked up in front of me, and I was totally ready to experience something that made everyone’s hearts jump. I was confident that I would get love right the first time. I was positive that our story was meant to be told across the world, to encourage people, to give them direction, to inspire them.
Because I believed in you, I believed in us.
I believed that you were sure about your intentions when you approached me, and told me all the lovely words that your tongue could deliver. I believed your unspoken words when you stared at my eyes for too long. I believed your smile, and the way you somehow lost your footing when I approached you.
I believed you when you called me out of nowhere, and told me that I was incessantly drilled in the corners of your mind.
But when I asked you about the status of our relationship, of what we were — you suddenly froze.
You began questioning every moment that we shared, every night that we talked, every movie date that we went to, and every park we walked hand in hand. You got frightened that we were heading to a direction in which you hadn’t yet made up your mind.
You came up with any excuses to call it quits.
And I was left disoriented. I was suddenly confused about all the kisses, late night confessions, weekend cuddles, dinner dates, late afternoon runs, hand holdings, and heavy laughter that we had. I doubted whether every word that you said to me was genuine. I wondered if what we had was real.
Because I really thought we were in a relationship. I thought we had the same expectations and goals. Until you made me realize that I was wrong, so wrong.
We weren’t in a relationship. But maybe, almost.
And that term “almost” killed me. “Almost” meant we were everything but. “Almost” implied we could be something great, but never would, never did. “Almost” changed me.
I learned that people can change their mind last minute, or all of a sudden. I learned that people are willing to throw everything and run away when they get scared. I learned that you can hear all the best words, but know that they can also be taken back by someone who said them.
I learned that love can sometimes be complicated, messy, faulty, frustrating, and heart-wrenching. But I also learned to accept the imperfect side of it.
I accepted that you can’t control people’s emotions and decisions. I accepted that the best way to move on is to understand the reason behind their actions. I accepted that heartache is part of the risk that comes along with loving someone. I accepted that people can say one thing but mean the other. And I learned to be okay with it.
I accepted that you can’t stop people from leaving you, but you can stop yourself from clinging to them.
I accepted that love can be painful sometimes, but I will always choose to love, regardless of how many scars I get from it.