What I Mean When I Say I Love You

 

Whenever I log into Facebook, it’s typically a crap shoot of whether I’ll see 20 consecutive selfies, a client embarrassingly ‘liking’ see through yoga pants, or a racially driven political rant. But today I logged in and hit the jackpot.

One of my dear friends shared this article, “Love Is Not Enough“. I recommend you go right now, ditch this blog post and make that one your read of the day.

But if you must stay, let me tell you that this article was probably one of the best things I’ve read this year. It got me to thinking about that little word LOVE, how much it means, and how much I use it.

If we’re friends, I tell you I love you. And if I haven’t recently, please know that I love you. (More on what that means soon.)

I’m a love whore. I love a lot of people. Granted, a lot of them are the wrong people that I shouldn’t love. I still love an ex boyfriend that is such a pain in my ass, but alas, I love him. But that love doesn’t rule my life, make it impossible for me to love other people, or more importantly, prohibit me from loving myself. It doesn’t take up enough space in my heart to be all consuming, but he has and always will have a little pesky place.

I feel like when we fall in love with someone, often times that relationship takes over our lives, and not always in a good way. We lose sight of the little things. Plans with your friends become fewer and farther between. You’re focused on spending every available moment with your new boo that you forget to go grocery shopping, mail out that bill, wish your friend a happy birthday. (Thank God for Facebook on that one!) We don’t realize this is even happening mostly because we’re so love drunk on the feelings of, well, love. It feels so good to be around him/her. Before you know it, when you’re not at work, you’re with them. And one day you realize you haven’t texted your BFF back in 6 weeks, all you have in your fridge is expired milk, and you’re paying some shitty interest on that credit card bill you forgot to mail out.

I don’t know about your credit card company, but they don’t buy it when I call and say “Oh, I’m just so in love, I forgot to mail it!” And my girlfriend would shit and entire brick if I said “Oh, I’ve been so in love I haven’t called you.”

I know this might make me sound like the girl who has been hurt by people who love this hard and forget their friends, but I’m honestly speaking as the person who historically loves someone else so hard and forgets to love herself first. My hair gets cut. My waxing gets done. I get a shower. But is that for ME? Or is that to ensure my dude isn’t like “Yo, you smell like a foot, and can you please move your leg hair braids? They’re in my frozen TV dinner.”

As the years have passed, I’ve become more aware of how I love, and making sure I keep myself in check, especially during that amazing obsession / honeymoon stage where everything that the other person does makes you feel like a million electric sparks are going through your body. Nothing else matters because DING DING DING, he just texted you and life is instantly better. About to get fired because of bad work performance. Who cares? Boo just sent me a selfie! Rent late? Life goes on, we’re going out for sushi tonight.

Love doesn’t solve anything. Love doesn’t fix broken lives. Attention and action  fix broken things. Some of my most healthy relationships have failed because I didn’t focus on the other part of my life – my life outside of the other person.

And that was a hard lesson for me to learn. But once I did, I realized that I truly do love the people in my life, no matter how miniscule their role is. If it wouldn’t make me look like a freak, I’d tell my barista I loved her every day.

Even if you’re not comfortable with saying “I love you”, or if you reserve the word for those really serious times, that’s okay too. I, myself am a writer and I feel like I can be more creative with “I love you” and make it more meaningful. For me, I use the term a lot. But it isn’t any less important. Nor does it mean that I want to intertwine my body with you forever and ever.

What I want you to know, internet, is that if I ever tell you I love you, here’s what I mean:

I love you. I love that I can love you and love myself at the same time and not feel guiltily pulled in either direction. Your mere existence makes my life better in either a big way, or a little way, but no matter, you’ve changed my life and are a part of my journey. I’ve learned something from you. I love you.

Even to the asshole ex that I still love, that entire statement still applies. I love that I don’t love him obsessively, nor does that love prevent me from loving myself or others. I love the lessons he taught me, and I love who I’ve become as a result of those lessons.

So, I love you and stuff. That’s all I’m trying to say.