With large moon eyes and soft green hearts, we flee from one overindulgence to another without grasping the consequences of our short attention span. We pour every fiber of our being, every drop of ignorant hope into our desires and it makes each stumble seem undeniably devastating. We crash. We burn. Then we swiftly dust off the ashes and find another flame to engage.
When they say that people fall in love with love, they are talking about the teenagers we once were. I’ve been lucky, blessed if you will, to have such feverish experiences. With each new and typically abrupt relationship, my heart plumped to what felt like double in size. The inflation sent me floating into the clouds, unmasked and unarmed, gleefully exposed and vulnerable. From photographs and hand-written letters graced with adorable misspellings and alarming innocence…from newspaper clippings of proud achievements, shaky sketches, borrowed knit hats and precisely selected mixed CDs, I collected lover’s paraphernalia and kept them bound to my journals - the heart of my existence. I stored each item away and tried to bury them in the furthest corners of my mind each time we severed our ties. Revisiting the baggage only tore apart old sutures and my bleeding heart was left to heal all over again but somehow that made me feel more alive.
Looking back now at each faded picture and every piece of crumpled notebook paper smeared with bold “I love yous” and “I miss yous”, I am offered a certain gratitude for these heartbreaks. Each of these boys held me on a pedestal and I clumsily tripped right into their arms even if for just a few heavy sighs. I was in love exactly the way a teenager is supposed to be: doe-eyed and whimsical. Dangerously head-over-heels, knowing damn well that no one would be holding out a safety net.
I’m not entirely sure when an adolescents love grows into adult love. Perhaps with each goodbye, we learn how to love and trust ourselves more than the mystery. Maybe with each world truth that we are exposed to, we start to realize that magic..those passionate tales of fatal attraction and soul connection that we romanticize in fictional literature…none of it actually exists.
Or maybe…maybe that fever doesn’t disappear. Perhaps we’ve just programmed ourselves to accept that with responsibility comes the incessant need for safety, for home and for reliability. So we bury that fire. We suffocate the flames with bitterness and unspoken resentment and tell ourselves it’s all just a distraction anyway.
There is no denying that love as an adult is a completely different ball game than teenage lust. The question is: how do we bridge the two?
Is it safe to even try?