The Boy Who Loved

The 20s are all about knowing your personal truths. College is definitively a time for self-exploration. It's the place where you get to be whoever you want and define what it is that makes you ... well you. What is most profound about the freedom to demarcate yourself as whomever you'd like is that in doing so that is who you are. We really cannot choose to be someone else, all the versions of ourselves that we portray are still us. It's kind of a circular argument but a necessary one nonetheless. You can only ever be yourself - yeah everyone else is taken, but that's fundamentally what it means to be you. Now more than ever I finding out things about myself that I never knew before. I am the boy who loved.
As someone who has spent nearly the entirety of their life trying to be perfect - knowing with complete certainty that it is an irrational and unrealistic goal -  I have always felt that there were certain truths about me that I had to subscribed to. In high school I had defined myself as an intellectual and kind of a busy-body. In college I went from an appeaser to and an overachiever, and lastly have to know myself as a lover. For the longest time I thought my greatest gift was my ability to write, and to do so eloquently, powerfully, and unrelentingly. I have come to know that my most significant contribution to the spaces I permeate is my ability to love, love often, and love freely - no strings attached.
It wasn't really until now that I finally understood it. There are too many people in my life. There should not be this much love and adoration for one person. Nothing I am could garner the type of hype that welcomes me wherever I go. It has to be love. It has to be my love. It must be the love I demonstrate outwardly and inadvertently. It is the only logical explanation for the affection that people have and continue to express towards me. Love is one of those things that you send out and it comes back to you in a variety of different ways. It's not always people telling you that they love you. It's what they do for you, make time for you, and look at you. It's the subtle things about their interactions with you that tell a larger love story. Put love out into your world and I promise you it will find it's way back to you. It may just be in ways that you least expect. How about the boy who loved?
This week has been an eye-opening one. Looking around more and more I see my personal truths and that of others in relation to one another and myself. There is something sincerely profound going on and it looks different every time I see it but now I know it to be love. Love used to come for me in one form, that is the unconditional aka the ultimate love that I see throughout my family, but this week has shown me that people love in powerfully dynamic ways. Whatever way it shows up is equally as valid. We miss out on fully recognizing the love people show when we are consumed with only looking for one kind of love. Open your eyes, open your heart, and let love in. So says the boy who loved. 
Even more frequently do I find myself in this euphoric state of recognition. I look around and see people loving one another and it makes my heart soar. As someone who feels a lot (and sometimes whisked he could off his empathy) it's positively overwhelming. I'll highlight moments from each day that took me there. At my Onein4 Men's Outreach program meeting there was this moment where I realized how much I truly loved the people in that room. I had gained even more brothers that I never would have expected. We're there to talk about sexism, sexual assault, and rape culture but this bond between us has formed. It's special and always makes me feel genuinely safe and comfortable. Tuesday came and it found me helping my friend Kyle out with French. I don't know what is was but I knew spending my afternoon with him was worthwhile. Later that night my  educational program on class, ability and religion had a strong showing where vulnerability and knowledge were shared which was a testament to the kind of trust necessary to facilitate such a space. I was happy, plain and simple. The boy who loved did what he did best.
Wednesday in talking with one of my professors did I feel that distinct sense of rapport. Even later in shooting an #Itsonus video with the TV station crew did I feel that same sense of camaraderie. Thursday rolled around and with it came big moments of emotion. I attended a lecture on the N-Word and other oppressive language and it deeply moved me. It empowers me and gave me new ways to talk about a touchy topic. There I saw unbridled support with the presence of my brothers Elliot and Will that spoke volumes to me. Even the full embrace I received from  Benjy was meaningful to me. From there it was on to a community discussion on the SAE fraternity racist chant incident at OK U. It was heavy but it saw my fraternity little brothers David and Tanner speak up in unique but awe-inspiring ways. Others who came surprised me for the better and I was overcome with affects at the authenticity present there. Going home afterwards made me reflect and realize how much love I had witnessed throughout the week but even more at my time in college. How could I have missed it? It was so apparent. I am the boy who loved and was loved.
My blog post question for the day is ... What does your love look like? Mine I think comes in two ways, what I saw/write about you and what I do for you.  


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