As I write, I weep. Not because I have been naive,but what has always been quite recognizable, quite visible, quite identifiable, has also been blurry.
Blurry, not because at that point of time, we did not sit and ponder about the subject, but even though, we did, we were ill-equipped to understand what it really meant to be in love. In fact, It would not be surprising to see these blogs going to Part hundred as we strip off one layer after another, like we rip off onion skins.
I remember the first time I really felt quite attracted to someone was in school. Around class 8. ‘Qualities’ is what we went for then. If some ‘qualities’ in the other person reminded us or gave us peace momentarily about what we could associate with as the ‘perfect partner’, we would call it love. I am pretty sure these concepts of what a ‘perfect partner’ was, manifested out of qualities we could identify in a movie heroine, a book protagonist or a piece of art.
Then, as I ‘progressed’ into grade 9, I remember feeling quite at ease with speaking to someone who made school life meaningful, other than the academics and the sports we were exposed to, this person brought in a new perspective of the things i could do in school- companionship. But, then, because we were conditioned so heavily to pander to what society would say, about this companionship that was developing, ‘Friends’ telling me in particular, that I deserved ‘better’. Ultimately ‘friendship’ won over companionship and we started distancing ourselves from the person who introduced us to companionship only to find there is now a vacuum for it. It seems we really did not progress. We let others determine what was right for us then.
P.S. – After school, I did ask this person out to see if they would be interested in a long distance relationship. I apologized but it did not seem to work. She ended up reminding me of how she felt when I abandoned her.
In graduation, I recognized that there were different kinds of things we would have to do to really feel quite occupied. We had to look at academics, but we had a choice of when we would return home. We had a choice of choosing our friends. While we did need to sit in a classroom. We had a choice of choosing a group. I chose the music team. A few days passed, and while I was introduced to ‘beauty’ it did not add much to the definition of love I had gained over time. Again, reiterating, till now, love was – qualities we liked and a need for companionship. The music group fortunately did play a big part in making sure my definition expanded. A confident, fun loving, beautiful, funny and very original human being met me next to the window sill. ( realize that I am mentioning qualities). We sang old Hindi songs for hours while talking about where each of us was from. These conversations continues for a good 1-2 months when I decided I really needed to be honest with her. I had packed my bag with a chocolate and a rose (very naive, yet I understand a 19 year old me, did not know any other way to profess what I felt)
The day I decided to tell her what I felt, is the day she put her head on my shoulders and talked about how she felt about another guy. I decided to skip the idea of professing what I felt. I did not wish to lose the companionship + I did not wish to lose whatever respect I had mustered for myself through her eyes (security). The definition of love had hence expanded – qualities (the pursuit of which loses value when you find companionship), companionship (which has an independent value without which human need to belong finds no meaning) and finally security (the need to feel like we deserve happiness or feeling content with our decision to find someone).
Anyway, over the years I had managed to hold onto the companionship aspect of it, while finding that I could not find security in this person because they had an interest in someone else. I later found out that she found someone else to be in a relationship with, which lasted for a long time.
As I moved into another college, I found that people had their own definitions of love. Some of which I did not tend to resonate with. There were people who liked the material qualities we had – leadership, our vibe and our confidence. And there were people you felt sexually attracted to, you felt like you wanted to know them to push them into the definitions of love, but they chose to not find the same passion within you. Making me feel unloved. The concept of love was slowly evolving into something different. When people would not want to find love within you because of how you looked, I would end up doing the same. Finding love in beauty and infatuation. The definition of love had not expanded but became diluted – including physical bodily desires as well.
So love now became – qualities + companionship + security + infatuation. Unfortunately over time, infatuation took precedence over the initial 3 definitions of love.
As we progressed into our post graduation, these urges to satisfy bodily pleasures as well as qualities took precedence but along with that came the other aspects as well. I have had 2 very short lived relationships during and just after post-graduation where because, infatuation and identifiable qualities drove me into it, I eventually ended up losing the will to assess if the rest two important puzzles mattered or not. And before I knew it, I realized maybe the other two definitions of love were not getting satisfied at all. Even though we would say the right things, we truly did not mean it subconsciously.
I had lost faith in my own capabilities to find love after this. I had been shown the mirror, the various lies or identities I had put up to cover early school time traumas had took precedence and yet as human beings it is imperative that we need to shore up our courage to find love again.
I will not talk about my last relationship because although I might have energetically, physically gotten over it and although it did not end in the way I would have wanted it to. But Ego took precedence and we are not at a place where any apology will find forgiveness. I still love this person and out of respect for them, I will not share any information on this. I shall only leave you with the last definition I have been able to muster as of now – Love is companionship + security + trust + acceptance of the other. Trust drives the willingness to be together and while one cannot trust the other, there is no security or a willingness to be together. And finally acceptance of the other, where we do not expect anything of the other. When the other wants to be alone, you accept it. When the other does not want to be with you, you should accept it. One sided love is not infatuation, it is the fact that anyone can love another person. Trust another person. Respect the companionship of another person. Accept the other person irrespective of how they are, were, their family background, their beliefs or anything. Also accepting that probably in this life time, you are not meant to be with this person. And therefore, in my own definition, I am in love. I hope this definition resonates with you.