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The Pros and Cons of Being in Love with Joe
Growing up, every girl somehow ends up with her own idea of what love is. At a young age, she probably envisions something straight out of a Disney movie, complete with a handsome young man who treats her like a princess. As she grows older, she imagines a perfect kiss under the stars or on the beach or in the hot new guy’s car. Fast-forward a few more years, and she’s a teenager, waiting for the right guy to ask her on a date.
We grow up developing expectations. We imagine what our first kiss will be like. We fantasize about that one person we think we might love loving us back. We dream about that one person we haven’t met yet that will change our lives forever.
As a seventeen-year-old senior in high school, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve fallen in love every other day for the past six years of my life. That boy over there has a gorgeous smile; that guy there has a wonderful, melodic laugh. The lines get blurred, and before I know it, I’m head over heels.
Before we know true love, we guess at what we feel. We think we love him or her. We cry over that boy or that girl, because we “love” them. We even say that we’re in love, that he or she is for sure, beyond a doubt, The One. In middle school, we talk about love, but in truth, it is a foreign concept. What we call love in those early years is usually just a crush. Easy come, easy go. But when does “like” turn to “love”?
At seventeen, I still feel ridiculous for saying that I’m completely in love with a certain boy. To make matters worse, I’ve loved him from the start. I managed to stay single for the first seventeen years of my life. Three days after I turned seventeen, Joe asked me out. To add to the mess, that was only the thirteenth day I’d known him. Somehow, in less than two weeks, we’d fallen in love. A lifetime of love was folded and stuffed and forced into a timeline so short that it made everyone wonder where it had gone. Our love was food, and the timeline was the stick-thin girl across the room. Somehow, all that love was compacted into a timeline so neatly that it was hard to believe it could all fit.
Well, love makes us all crazy. Unfortunately, the crazy that this love made me was not the good, cute crazy. I was driving thirty miles round-trip almost every day to see this boy that made me smile like no one ever had before. But somehow, I was still taking him for granted. Everyone was telling me I could do so much better. My mistake was letting that get to me. I should’ve been happy knowing that I was sure. In the end, all the talk made me say goodbye to the only person I’ve ever truly loved.
Life is never simple enough for me. Some things can’t be fixed with an apology and an “I love you.” I tried. I’m still trying. But in the end, sometimes pain scares us so much that the happiness the pain could lead to isn’t worth it.
Skip five weeks of complete misery, severe depression, and many new scars, and I’m still in love—hopelessly so.
The thing about love is that it can be so terribly beautiful. It can be the gentle whisper of lips brushing, the caress of three words, the pressure of a hand against a hand. But love knows no limits. Love can lead to bad things.
The love I knew was beautiful and wild. The love I knew was walking around town hand-in-hand. It was him standing up in the movie theatre and announcing that he loved me. It was him meeting my parents and my grandparents. The love I knew was him walking me to work and picking me up. It was the sweet kisses in the parking lot. It was knowing he cared more about my life than his own. It was talking on the phone for hours. It was him walking by while I was at work just to see me for a few seconds. It was me kissing the skin of his arm when he got his first tattoo. It was him protecting me with his body and his life when we were in danger. It was sitting in the park or on a bench downtown. The love I knew was the alternating silence and noise of just existing.
But being without him was miserable and black, black, BLACK. Being without him was blood on my arms and new blades and tears. Being without him was losing a battle. It was a battle I knew I could not win, but the only other option was surrendering. Many times, surrendering was a welcome alternative. Being without him was seeing him with the rebound girl. Being without him was knowing she could call him hers. It was hearing his name and breaking down. It was me fighting every single bad thing my friends said. It was knowing he was miserable and wanting so badly to stop his pain. It was a constant fight between being unselfish and being happy. It was stealing a kiss here and a hug there. It was whispering “I love you” even though it was too late. It was knowing I was stuck waiting until he took me back. It was knowing that I would be stuck forever. It was knowing he was drinking away the pain, even though he was clean when we were together. It was knowing I may never get him back. It was knowing that some other girl would get what I took for granted. It was knowing that every time I saw him might be the last. It was knowing that every kiss was numbered. It was knowing that we wouldn’t grow old together. It was knowing that some other girl would dance with him at prom and kiss him and cuddle with him and wake up to his sweet messages. It was knowing that I had lost the greatest part of me. It was knowing that the loss was my own fault.
Being in love can be such a treat, such an adventure. But being in love can be pain and misery. Being in love can be beautiful and wild and free, but it can be blood and tears and sadness. Please come back. I love you. I miss you.
I don’t want to be without you. You are the best part of me.