The L-Word

Truth - Love is the most powerful force on this Earth ... that I know. When people say that love conquers all, they are speaking a powerful, undeniable truth. Love is not something to be trifled with. It cannot be stifled, hidden, or silenced. Love is louder. Love is everything. Love is life. I sincerely believe our entire purpose as human beings is to love; to give it, receive it, and to pursue it to no end. Nothing should ever stand in its way and nothing ever can. This the L-Word.

"Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life" Leo Buscaglia

The uttering of those three little words in succession, "I love you" can sometimes be so easy and other times so difficult. It wasn't until the past few years that I understood the absolutely crucial importance of saying I love you. It was only in recently times that I switched from the taboo conceptualization of the l-word to embracing it in its monumental magnitude. I think for me the complication of telling someone I loved them was the distinct weight I put on it. I reserved the words for the few people in the world that I literally (not even in the millennial frivolous way but legitimately) could not live without. My immediate family, best friends, and my closest inner circle were the only ones who would hear it from me but I have come to expand my usage of the world. I had been selfish with my love and it was too much of an overwhelming to contain. I had too much to give and too many people who had expressed love towards me. Love has become more encompassing and less exclusive in my life. I find myself saying it to others more often, and being even more confident in doing so. It comes out of my mouth with sincerity and this ferocious passion. For me, I am able to feel comfortable putting forth my love and relishing in its magnificence. The-L Word is meant to be passed around and shared with others.

What stops people from saying "I love you?" I used to think it was fear but more and more I have observed it to be rather the ambiguity of never knowing how others feel about in return. Love though does not necessarily have to be reciprocated. I've definitely loved people and never clued them in to it explicitly. Love shows up in so many different ways though. It's of course the verbal enunciation, but it's also the ways in which we interact with one another (that extra demonstration of care), why we treat one another certain ways, and how we discern who/what matters most to us. Love is guide but also the medium through which you arrive at yet again love as a destination. I think it's possible to truly, madly, and deeply love someone and for them to not feel the same way (not just because everyone feels things differently by nature of existence) but also because love is often requited. Unrequited love has a bad reputation but it seems misunderstood to me. It shows up as love that is so efficacious it does not require retribution or acknowledgment. That's the fortitude of the l-word.

What a wonderful week for love it has been. First and foremost, the landmark establishment of marriage equality in these United States by way of the Supreme Court determination of the unconstitutionality of bans on espousal comes to mind. While it was a major win for people everywhere, there is still so much work to do in order to create safe environments, supportive communities, and social norms that celebrate the diversity of simultaneities of sex, sexuality, gender, and gender expression in regards to nuptials. The bans may have been abolished but that does not immediately change the hearts and minds of people who believe sexuality to be a choice, a topic for debate, or the heterosexism in which our society operates. Hell yeah, wave the rainbow flags but I'm going to continue to amplify voices that have been long been silenced, erased, and devalued.  I'm looking also to this with intersections with minoritized identities that often are missing from mainstream representations of queerness (people of color, modest income, people with disabilities, etc.). I'm going to challenge/interrupt heteronormative, homophobic, and transphobic words and actions, not only in myself but in others. I'm going to rally behind, not stand in front, of those who been seen as less than because of the actuality of their sexuality. Love is love, is love is love but love is also different for each and every one of us - that's something I want to respect.

Love has shown up for me in four distinct ways. I noticed the moment I received I video of my niece crawling for the first time that it brought me to tears immediately. Loving her has been the easiest and yet most powerful thing I have ever been able to do. Saying goodbye to my two fraternity little brothers David, and Tanner was a struggle. Years of college memories flashed before my eyes as we said our final "see you later" and again I found myself moved to tears with the realization that I will be separated from them physical. They have and will continue to be some of the most important people in my life. I love them both, plain and simple but also confusing and complicatedly. In the last few days of my second summer as an orientation leader I have seen my fellow staff members and our guests display instances of selfless. It's been the ways we have shown up for one another and those we were serving as well as for ourselves. It's been heartwarming and I am filled with such pride and admiration for their humbling humility and awe-inspiring love. My love for them has fostered so quickly and they are people I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life. It's only been 6 weeks but they have made an irrevocable impact on me for the better. They challenged me to show and speak the truth of my l-word.

Last but not least, in the rare department of relationships known also known as my rather nonexistent love life, I went on my second ever first date. It was too much fun. It was so easy and felt so natural even with its artificial inception. From getting drinks at a local coffee shop, to walking all-movie like in the rain to a screening of Jurassic World where I had a jumpy good time. Honestly, she was beautiful inside and out. I was enthralled with her soulful brown eyes and her warm smile. I noticed the little things she did like tucking her hair behind her ear, the subtle touches she gave to let me know that she was there, and the way the dimples formed on her cheeks whenever she grinned. Well-spoken, intelligent, funny, and above all compassionate - she was almost too good to be true. What a gift it was to spend time with her. Even if we never get to spend more time physically together, it's good to know that I can do this whole date thing, and that all that's expected of me is to be myself - the one I love best. X

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