Don’t tell me you’re in love. I’m not impressed by it. If anything, I feel a little worried for you, and depending on how well I know you, I’m slightly worried for myself. Because at some point, I’m either going to receive a wedding invitation, or a leading text that turns into a night of strong alcohol, a loaded-up charcuterie board,* and a repetitive chorus of choked sobs — but let’s be honest, I’ll probably get both within a two-year period.
Now, this is probably my own fault, as my general demeanour somehow seems to beguile my acquaintances, and often the general public, into thinking that I am an apt and willing recipient for their bullshit. The reality is that I am probably the least useful person to profess your strifes to, because in my head, you’re being illogical. Or perhaps the better way of stating it is that I think you were illogical, past tense being the focus here.
The way I see it, you fell for it. Not for love, no; you can’t fall for that because it isn’t a trap. Love is [insert archaic/poetic excerpt here], and I don’t think you silly or superficial for having it. However, what you’ve fallen for, and what I will openly lambaste you on, is an inability to separate this love from literally any important portion of your life. For clarity, here’s an analogy:
After hacking through dense thorns and brambles, dodging fire swamps and ROUS, you find a person you’d like to annoy for quite a long period of time in the future. Then, as the momentary feelings of euphoria pass, the other person eventually mentions that they’d like to escape this underbrush, and wouldn’t mind doing it without you. And this is where you realize that you’ve been clinging to them so voraciously that you physically couldn’t hold on to the tools that brought you here in the first place. Now, not only will the other person continue on their journey with their own tools, but they will leave you standing amidst dead leaves, cobwebs, and oddly alluring, neon-bright fungi that seem far too tempting to be safe to eat. And you have no tools. You lost them, you see. Forgot about them. Let them dissolve and disintegrate unceremoniously into the forest floor at your feet. So what now? You have two choices. You can wait for someone else to come along while you wither in this dead place; or you can get creative and forge a new set of tools. But be warned: this option takes an excessive amount of both time and effort. The point is, had you never dropped your tools in the first place, you wouldn’t be trapped in the doom-and-gloom woods for nearly as long as you will be now.
Alright, so that probably provided little-to-no clarity. Let me try again. One sentence this time:
Love is neat and everything, but it isn’t everything.
Outside of this other person, keep your life. Your hobbies, your passions, your friends, and perhaps most importantly, your values. If you discard these in favour of filling yourself almost entirely with another person, you will invariably feel an emptiness. If they suddenly feel unfulfilled with themselves, the chain reaction dictates that you will feel this just as intensely as they do, placing you in a relatively useless position where being of help is concerned. And if they suddenly leave, whether by choice or fate, the expanse that they occupied in your existence will now be characterized by a gaping void that you will have to laboriously re-establish using existing, scarce materials. It’s like trying to rebuild a burnt house using leftover wood that was salvaged from the rubble.
The alternative is to be a catalyst in your relationship. Speed up the reactions, excite the chemicals; but avoid being entirely used up in the process. Do not be so earnest in your advances that you forgo pieces of your world in exchange for someone else’s. They won’t satisfy you, and when you’re willingly abandoning the instruments that compose you, the person that loves you back may not even have the ability to bind you together. Do not accidentally rip yourself into fragments, only to notice when the reason you’ve done so has left, and then subsequently blame him or her for making you feel this lost. Be fair to each other. Be respectful of yourself.
Learn to be alone. It really is quite lovely. It’s a chance to expound upon the inner workings of your soul. Tinker with your thoughts, examine your opinions, engage in a little introspection. You might really like what you find, and realize its worth hanging on to. It will inevitably give you further insights about the person you love, and help you appreciate what you offer to each other instead of focusing on how you rely on one another. Reliance is a dangerous word, so I’ll say it again: learn to be alone.
So, you’ve fallen in love. Remind me to pat the person on the back who has managed not to repulse you in some way. But for the love of [insert applicable deity of worship here], please keep your head on straight after the part where you feel like rainbow, marshmallow fluff has subsided.
And with all that said, do be earnest sometimes; it can be quite endearing.
Jack: “Gwendolen, wait here for me.”
Gwendolen: “If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.”
*Ice-cream is cold, and melty, and sugary to the point of tooth-ache. It is the anti-Christ of true comfort food, and so in this case, I present my savoury, comfort alternative that is simple to prepare for all you non-cooks out there.