When I was 15 I had a love so deep for a boy, it compelled me to sneak out at 3am on school nights. Starry eyed, I thought that this was perfectly normal behaviour: mould your character for compatibility, prioritise their desires ahead of yours and play reckless. Little did I know that the encounter of a first love is a pivotal moment in one’s life; defining what a relationship is and how that person should treat you. At that age, I was also a fan girl of tragedy and fantasised about being “saved” in order to function as a human being. I was quite a melodramatic teen whose upbringing was along the lines of abandonment and neglect with a touch of daddy issues.
*Cue Daughters by John Mayer*
While that plays in the background, let’s clear the air. The male protagonist in this narrative was not an asshole. He was kind, lovely but ultimately naive. He was in a different place of life than I and knew that out of the two of us, he had to be the one to call it quits. Which at the time, my 15 year old self considered a bullshit excuse. How dare you prioritise your life ambitions over my love? Ah. How silly. You learn a lot about love once you fall out of love.
The mention of my poor upbringing was also not for sympathy but context. You only understand the inner workings of a person once you’ve been invited to a family dinner. However, you’d never be invited to any of mine since my parents never really cared for such things but I’d still like for us to get acquainted. It’s a common phenomenon that how you were loved as a child parallels how you love others. If you were raised with neglect and distrust in your family home, by default you learn to love your partners with the same characteristics.
Parents are usually the culprits in this equation and as unfair as the cycle of life may be, you may also have a high chance of screwing up your own kid. I blamed my parents for all my problems. I’m selfish? Blame my mum. I run away from my commitments? Blame dad. Tough luck, I can’t help the way I am. And that’s basically how it went for most of high school until the dawn of enlightenment came crashing down on me. Could it be, after all this time, that I may have been responsible? Nothing quite says welcome to adulthood than realising your parents are just as human as you are. (Mum, if you’re reading this thank you for teaching me this valuable lesson.)
A ground breaking discovery: you are just as capable to teach yourself how to love despite not having it taught to you. You may have been born and raised with shit traits but it is your decision to cut/add/mould these traits in order to become a decent human being. People who deny this suck.
Now I am 19 and not as tragic as my 15 year old self and (thank god) not nearly as stupid. I no longer mould my character for compatibility, nor prioritise people’s desires ahead of mine and will often be in bed by 9pm. My current definition of love (in case any of you wanted to grab coffee or something) is along the lines of; I still kind of suck despite this ground breaking discovery and you most likely will also suck, so lets figure it out together? The concept of love is difficult by nature by the simple fact that people are difficult by nature. Like any skill, it should be practised and will take a lifetime to get good at but perhaps that’s what love is.