It's taken me a long time to realize that love isn't about what you look like, or even how you act or how you treat others. It's taken me a long time to realize, with horror and excitement, that love is irrational; loving someone has no meaning, no sense, no rhyme or reason. You can love someone hateful; you can love someone who has hurt you so bad, so often. You can love someone beautiful, you can love that someone is beautiful, but if you love someone because they're beautiful you don't love them at all. I've learned that it's possible to walk away from someone you love if they've made you play with fire, you can walk away when you've had enough, but you don't stop loving them.
It's also taken me a long time to realize that there are many different kinds of love. I've learned that loving friends can be as intense and tempestuous as the other kind of love. I've learned that, out of the people you love, you don't love one more or less than the others; it's different stuff but of the same strength, the same capacity for miracles and danger. I've learned that love can border on hate; I've learned that love can drive you insane but make you deliriously happy.
I've learned that I am not the kind of person who can live without love. I've learned that there has to be people, people not of my own flesh and blood, that I would live and die for; people I would do anything for. I cannot live without that kind of happiness that comes when you know someone you love is happy; even if their happiness has cost you dearly. For me, that kind of love outside my family is strictly one-sided, and I feel a little hollow, a little vulnerable. But it does not matter that there is nothing for me to take; I have to keep giving.
I understand why people shut themselves off from it. I really do. I understand why people run away. Maybe they're the brave ones, maybe they're the smart ones. I can run away from people but not the institution itself. I wish I could, for a little while, until I can hold my own ground. I want what every girl wants; cute guy at the bar, flirts turn to deep and meaningful, etc. I don't mind switching it off until then.
It was horrifying when I realized that some people could do anything to me and I wouldn't stop loving them. It makes me weak, vulnerable, too easy to forgive and fall into traps. When people, when movies, make goo-goo eyes and start talking about unconditional love, all they really mean is that they don't mind if someone's going bald or puts on a few pounds. I don't think Hollywood, or even most of the population, has come to terms with the fact that you can love a monster, you can love them even in the acts of monstrosity. And it's terrifying.
Obviously high school is not the right place to have these kinds of revelations. The people I pass my days with are frightened of this. I'm sure at least some of them would have come to terms with some of this, privately. High school is a place where we trivialize drama and dramatize trivia. I'll have to wait until I find someone to say 'I agree,' and love me, for no particular reason.
I'm not in love, not in the strictest sense of the word. Not anymore. But I still love, some people, enough to make me vulnerable. I don't think I'll ever grow out of that, but let's just hope something good comes out of it.