Let me tell you how I did almost anything and gave up everything for one person. I emptied myself from the get-go. I poured it all out. And there I was, an empty vessel, pining for someone to fill me. Let me tell you how desperate I had been and how lost I was. I realized this the hard way: when loving empties you and seeps out of your core, it is not love. Love should be the fulfilment of the soul, the enrichment of character. It never binds, rather liberates. It confines but never asphyxiates. And when love feels otherwise, let me remind you: it is not love.
Let me tell you how I did nothing. And that I had been the receiver of affection—the passive, the affirmed, the beloved. Sometimes, you don’t have to work for love. In its finest hours, love works for you. Let me tell you how wrong that is because love is a commitment and you have to put some muscle into it, endlessly and always tirelessly. Love may be as perennial as the grass, but without care, even grass can wither.
Let me tell you how I came to understand love more. I tried to comprehend even the abstract—the minute facial reactions, the quivering of the hands, the trembling of the stomach, even the weakest of sighs. Loving someone means getting to know their language, both spoken and tacit. Love, after all, needs to be understood, for one cannot love something that they don’t understand.
Let me tell you that there were times love was overbearing. And that no matter how much I pushed forward, it just seemed hopeless. It became an overwhelming task to stay in love and preserve the relationship. And even when I was doing everything I could, barely holding on by the skin of my teeth, there were moments that love didn’t see how much effort I poured into it. But let me tell you this: even the biggest foes can never surmount a loving person. So when love seems hopeless, love all the more.
Let me tell you that love matures. It did for me. The affection trickled down after the honeymooning—the hugs loosened, the sweet nothings became less sweet, and companionship seemed insufficient. Love became this remnant of a past, that sweet and savory taste of thrill and intimacy. This is when friendship came into play, because when everything else withered out, it was the only thing that stood the test of time. Truly, friendship is love lost in translation.
Let me tell you how love broke me. Ironic as it seemed, love made me unlove myself. Yes, love shattered me into pieces. And even though love challenged my affection, never did it invalidate. It made me assess my core but never did it doubt. It questioned me but never did it lose faith. For with love comes anxiety for us to take heeding on trust, commitment, and belief. So if love puts you in a crossroad, relish on the anxiety, the self-bargaining, the finding, because it is the wandering that makes love wonderful.
In the end, I regret nothing, not even the over-pouring of affection, not even the breaking and burning. I have come to love love in all its forms, in all the people it substantiated into. Cliche as this may sound, love is a journey. We all have to constantly venture the world and open our doors to people. Yes, even in the large possibility of getting wounded in the process. We just have to endure every pain and loss. This is the cost of finding true love. But trust me on this one: when the right love comes, you’ll get to know why all the previous loves left you.
As for me, I found love and love found me. In the genesis of our story, we were two tables apart amidst the flickering lights of Manila. It was just a usual night—no sparks rocketed, no butterflies fluttered, nothing that accentuated love’s presence in my midst. After all, love doesn’t need to be storybook perfect—no background props, visual effects, or daring plots. Sometimes, love can just be two people staring at each other’s eyes, completely enamoured by the one person who means the most to them. Let me tell you that love can be just like that, and it is enough.