Approaching Love With Logic and Cynicism

Tattooed woman pulling a funny face
Tattooed woman pulling a funny face

What do you think it means when people say they love love? When I hear people say those words, I get the impression they're enamored with the blissful elements of relationships. If your fascination with love is based around the idea of perfectly timed kisses, rain that doesn't f*ck up your eyeliner, marrying your ex after crashing his wedding, or literally bumping into your soulmate, cancel your Netflix subscription and start living. There's an unrealistic hunger for the love we see in movies. I hate those ideals. And above all things, I believe that most rom-coms set feminism back. How many girls actually give up their dream careers in a new city for a guy who didn't realize he loved her 'til she made it to the airport?

I could be wrong. I haven't done any surveys or studies on the topic. I don't know what percentage of people are walking around with their heads in the clouds like Gigi from He's Just Not That Into You, but I know enough people who feel that way for me to have formed the opinions I have, including my younger self. I saw myself in Tai from Clueless; the shy, tomboyish girl who magically became popular after her friends combed her hair and dressed her up. So at 10 years old, I thought I could live happily ever after with my older brother's best friend when I stuffed my shirt and stole my mother's lipstick. In case you were wondering, lopsided toilet paper boobs and makeup like The Joker don't do the trick.

How I choose to love

I don't love often and I don't mindlessly fall into it (anymore). I've trained myself to view love logically, it keeps me safe and I waste less time. I can usually identify deal-breakers before the first date ends without emotions clouding my judgement. Have you ever been in a relationship where an issue continuously presented itself until you broke up? Do you remember ignoring that problem in the beginning because you thought you could change him? Some men have called me cold, unavailable, and unforgiving and I'm alright with that. I'm not here to force my beliefs onto anyone and I won't feel obligated to someone I barely know.

Just yesterday during pillow talk, a man I've been seeing on and off for about nine months asked if I had ever been in a real relationship. I laughed and told him I had been through it all. I said that I've experienced everything from the butterflies to the broken hearts, loving someone who didn't love me back, and completely losing my identity for a boy. He was shocked and that amused me; so I told him something else I knew he wouldn't believe: I love love despite lacking the desire to be in it. After that, I kissed him to remind him he didn't have any business trying to get into my head. He understood.

What does it mean to love, love?

I'm not sure there's a one size fits all answer that question, nor do I think the question can possibly be answered incorrectly. Until about two years ago, I was a hopeless romantic. Experience taught me I'd live longer and hurt less if I gave my emotions a brain, so I have.

I am an impatient, self-serving cynic with a good heart. One that has been broken and stitched up, it has a few pieces missing, and plenty of ugly bruises, but it's a good heart nonetheless. When I love, it is dangerously unconditional and intense because I want to. My mind is always clear.

The emptiness, pain, and confusion that accompany broken hearts are the strongest, most distracting feelings I've ever had. The beauty in the pain is that when you're hit hard enough, it helps you grow. The wisdom I've gained from my heartaches aren't fear inducing. I'm not afraid to love again, I'm cautious. Allowing my heart to be abused and having sections stolen taught me that my heart's precious and should only be shared with a very small number of worthy men. This is why I love, love. It has taught me to protect my fragile pieces and put myself first.

You can't wholeheartedly love anything or anyone without accepting the good with the bad. You've gotta love the fights, breakups, tears, and loneliness just as much as you love the candle lit dinners, chance meetings, and roses. I'd rather sleep alone, I rarely cuddle, I don't think flowers are a thoughtful gift, my heart and body are not a package deal, and PDA makes me sick, but I love love. The ugly, realistic, I will punch you if you try to take food off my plate, but I'll defend you against anyone who tries to harm you kind of love. Did I miss the premier of that movie?