We can’t stay away because this person’s presence makes us lighter and warmer. This person makes us laugh—a real laugh that is not forced but easy. When we meet others who can make us feel at ease it is only natural to want them to stay. We want to get to know them. We want to know how they were brought up, how they write their alphabets, why they only do laundry on Sunday’s.
I stayed with someone for five months. But this kind of stay is not the typical definition. This kind of stay is when you still linger on after so much time. This person could have left the state for the Florida sun and you would still be thinking about them at 2 in the morning. You could spend the whole day in the city and still end up thinking of them on your drive home when it’s very quiet and near dusk. This kind of stay is when you are nowhere near their presence yet you feel them there just as strong.
You talk to them on again off again. The same repetitive things are repeated back and forth like a seesaw, “I swear this is the last time I’m calling you,” or “I really wish I could’ve been the right person for you.” You keep being thrown up into the air because the other person outweighs you.
They outweigh you because they carry a burden that cannot be seen with even the strongest microscope. They are so heavy because of their insecurities, flaws, and overthinking. Sometimes when we try to understand them, their defense mechanism is to make jokes instead of showing a nakedness. To them, showing vulnerability means weakness.
But when they give us glimpses—a bare back or a bare arm—we become intrigued. We become intrigued because we begin to connect with them. As human beings, we do not easily let go of people we’ve connected with. This doesn’t have to be romantically connected at all. A connection is when we learn to understand someone—not know, but understand. Understand why they are the way they are. Why they seem so wistful, why they want to leave their hometown so badly, why they don’t like to drink coffee. All these things stem from moments in time—or a cluster of moments. These moments make up our being through what we take out of each one—if we’ve gained wisdom or learned something new about ourselves. When we exchange these understandings we feel less alone. We blend our moments together and empathize. It’s hard to let go of people we’ve blended moments with.
Hope is the second factor. In our wildest dreams there they are with all their skin exposed. They realize that you won’t leave once they open up. You see past their imperfections and love them just the same. You were what they were looking for all along. How could they have missed it?
Unrequited love teaches to love and not to expect anything in return. To be selfless when they are selfish. There will be self doubt in the beginning. You will wonder what is wrong with you, when really nothing is wrong. You will wonder why this person won’t love you back and how you could make them love you—but love cannot be forced. Once the stage of rejection is over and the situation is accepted, a zen is composed in you. Maybe you embrace your flaws a little more. Maybe you make a positive change not for that person but for yourself. You learn self-love—something the one outweighing you on the seesaw may never have the joy to experience. They won’t love their scars or lines. They won’t give themselves positive monologues in their head the way they would to someone they loved. Them not loving you back teaches you to love yourself.
Love isn’t an easy thing to keep giving when it is not returned. However, if you stay persistent, it makes your love greater and your understanding deeper. People will gravitate towards your light because of your ability of self-love. It means that you’re ready to love other people. You love other people not to make yourself feel good, not to fill the hole in you because you don’t know who you are, but to learn and grow from them. You want to connect and blend moments. You don’t love because it’ll fix you—you love to make yourself an even better person.