“You should let yourself go, Sheng.” My cousin Simon said to me in a quiet, but caring tone.
I was sitting with my back arched in a hunchback posture on the single sized bed. There Simon sat diagonally from me on a white puffy leather sofa. We were in the guest room down in the furnished basement at my Uncle Dan’s house. I was having a one-on-one, man-to-man conversation with Simon about life, daily events, and most of all love.
My eyes wandered around the room searching for something relaxing to rest upon, but all I saw was the color white from every side and corner of the room. I gazed dreamingly on the ceiling wall and replied back softly trying to remember some love lingo I read before.
“Each love is like a marriage and will be a part of you forever. Each decreases by the smallest amount, your capacity to give yourself to another because each occupies a space in your heart that can never be replaced by another.” I recalled from reading Kent Nerburn’s book. “I don’t have the capacity to ever love another woman in this life time.”
“That is just an excuse.” Simon scolded. “That is your belief. And no you are wrong. You can love again, you just don’t want to.”
He continued. “Why do you tie yourself down over a woman you hardly ever knew?”
I slowly looked up at Simon. My head started to sway back and forth, while my eyebrows clenched up around the bridge of my nose. “I don’t know…” I muttered softly while hiding some private hurt behind my words. “I just do, love needs no reasons or logic for me.”
Simon eyed me cautiously; he paused for a few seconds before he began his bombardment of questions, “What makes you so sure? What if she’ll never love you back?”
“You know what Simon?” My eyes wandered around the intersection where the side and ceiling walls met. “I have been in love with love for so long. I don’t care if she’ll ever love me or not. All I know is this: my entire being is influenced by love.”
I continued, ready to tell a long story. “Some people are obsessed with drugs. Others are obsessed with money. Some are obsessed with love. I just happen to be the type of person obsessed with love. When I first fell in love with Lindsay in 6th grade, I said to myself that she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I fell head over heels for her. I spent the 3 years of middle school obsessing over her. I spent the 4 years in high school obsessing over her. When I found out where she went for college, I made the decision to go after her. I spent all 4 years of college obsessing over her. Though the intensity of being in love may have lessened over time, I still love her. Where ever she goes, I followed. To this day, I had spent half of my entire life obsessing over a girl I hardly knew, doesn’t that sound crazy?”
As my emotions ramped up and my eyes started to water, I recalled some of my private thoughts throughout the years. “Whenever I dream about her, I would spend hours in bed trying to recollect every detail of my dream. Whenever I gaze into the starlit night sky, I think about her and wish that she’s staring at the same amazing scenery. Whenever I sing love songs, I imagine her sitting right in front of me as I look intently into her eyes while singing my heart out.”
Simon stared at me with increasing discomfort and worry. He shook his head and spoke, “You are not in love, you are just obsessed with love. And a love obsession is unnatural, unhealthy, and destructive.”
A faint smile appeared from the corner of my lips, “I already know all that. Every concern you have, I am well aware of. What if I told you I actually allowed myself to fall head over heels for her? What if I told you I wanted to fall so madly in love just to go crazy? I wanted to feel its full effect on my entire being because it makes me feel alive. What if I told you, if I could go back in time I would do the same exact thing again?”
“Are you an idiot?” Simon responded in a shocking and angry tone.
I smirked at Simon. “Yes, I am an idiot in love with love and there is no cure for that. But you know what? I’m going to re-channel all this love energy and become a better person. How else could I grow and mature if I didn’t dive straight into all of the mysteries and life lessons that love presented in front of me?”
“You are weird. Dude, I just don’t understand you.” Simon said confusingly.
I laughed and slowly rolled my back onto the soft bed. “Not many people can understand me, but those who can will understand this: Love is complex, yet simple. Love is the incarnation of pure motion and energy, yet an embodiment of stillness and harmony. Love speaks volume, yet it is silent.”
“What the fuck does that even mean?” Simon asked in a demanding voice. “You make no sense at all!”
“You want to hear some stories?” I amusingly looked up at Simon and waved my hands in the cool basement air. “I’ll narrate it for you! Maybe you can understand my love obsession!”
“I don’t have time to hear your crap!” Simon jokingly replied back at me before standing up to quickly excuse himself from the room.
“Ok, but you don’t know what you are missing…” I hollered back at him.
As I stayed lying on the bed that night, my thoughts wandered to the deep subconscious part of my mind. The past stories began to unfold one by one. And there I was 13 years old again, chasing after the ‘love’ to fill the void in my heart.
The In-Love Experience
“YOOOOO! Stop hiding underneath the desk!” Mr. Getz, my 6th grade math teacher, yelled in a nonchalant voice. “Stop fooling around and get back to your seat!”
“No I don’t want to! I’m having a time out!” Lindsay hollered back gently at our math teacher. Underneath her school desk, Lindsay was squatting to hide from our math teacher. She was positioned in an egg like posture where her knees barely touched the tip of her chin. Her flexible abdomen curved into her thighs while her back arched up like an egg. Barely being able to balance herself, she held the tip of her earlobes with her index fingers and thumbs. In this submissive posture, she laughingly whined and joked that she is in detention and is held captive by our teacher.
Sitting diagonally about 3 desks to the right of her, I observed the entire spectacle from the corner of my eyes. “What a weird, yet playful person.” I said to myself. “I wish I could be more like that. I wish I can be more spontaneous, fun, and open.”
That day was just a normal day like every other, but like every day at school, she was in the center of my attention. Lindsay always had a cheerful and playful nature. She was always smiling, laughing, and beaming. My curiosity with her grew because her laughter was contagious. My desire for her grew because I felt her positive energy prodding at the doorway to my empty heart. I was constantly staring at her, with a yearning to know more about her. I saw within her all the characteristics that I longed for in myself.
Looking back, if there’s anything that can explain the phenomenon that I experienced, it would be this one quote from The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Chapman.
We needed love before we “fell in love,” and we will need it as long as we live.
When I was a kid, I didn’t really feel loved by my parents. They were always busy at work and I would always be alone with my sister. They provided for all my physical needs. I always had food to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear. However, deep down inside, I was struggling with an emotional need to be loved by my parents. It is this sense of unmet love that drove me to unconsciously search for it elsewhere.
“If you don’t perceive a sense of love coming back to you from someone, you will move through your life searching for it elsewhere.” I always believed this to be true. Love is an essential need just like any other physical needs. We, as human beings, need it in order to grow and function. If we don’t have it, then we are devoid of something crucial to our very own existence.
Lindsay was the stimulus that triggered the gathered power of desperation within me from years of loneliness and solitude. Her unique behavior only served to amplify my desire for her. I wanted her. I wanted to be just like her, a free person with the capacity to smile and laugh all the time.
Being in love with her was so euphoric. It was like I was dancing in the anteroom of heaven, beckoned by emotions of pure ecstasy and energy. It was as if I was high on a potent drug that lasted for years without an end in sight. It made me addicted and weak. I was a love addict.
The butterflies in my stomach slowly started to develop out of nowhere whenever I saw her. At first it was a minor twitching sensation that crawled from my stomach to my diaphragm. Next thing I knew, I was getting panic attacks just from her staring back at me. I could hardly breathe. It actually got that bad.
I was drunk and mystified by my unusual experience. I never knew I could feel this way. Words couldn’t describe it. But most of all, I was just a teenager falling in love. I always recalled my middle school years to be the best years of my life. Why? Because it was the initial period of falling in love, when I started to grow consciously.
Like all teenagers falling in love, I was not a smart person when it came to showing affection. I ignored her whenever I saw her and avoided direct contact. Being in love brought me into a frantic state. I didn’t want to expose my emotional self to her or to anyone. I was too scared of rejection, but at the same time I was obsessed with her. I still wanted to know her, so I became a stalker.
I remembered some of my creepy activities in the past. For example, during our 6th grade social study class, we were assigned simple projects based on Providences in Canada. Both Lindsay and I got Nova Scotia. On the last day of school, she threw away her project papers in the trash bin. When everyone left the room, I scavenged through the piles of paper for her project. I have kept it to this day nearly 12 years ago. It was my memento of her. Doesn’t that sound incredibly creepy and clingy? You bet. I was and probably still am a desperate man, clinging onto a perpetual sense of “love” that gave me salvation from my own deplorable self.
Everything was wonderful when I was in love. I thought I lived for the first time. I thought my life had meaning for the first time. However, everything was but an illusion that I created. It was an ideal fantasy I created to delude my mental state. It wasn’t about Lindsay. It was about my idea of what love is.
It’s Not About Love, It’s About the Idea
Being in love with Lindsay was phenomenal. However, I was not satisfied with just being in love. I wanted her to love me, but that is not the case. I was the only one in love with her. She was not in love with me. In fact, she hardly knew me at all. It was just a one sided obsession of a guy who was desperate for love and affection.
Being in love didn’t magnify my spiritual or conscious nature. It only projected my desperate qualities into visible characteristics. If you were around me, you could feel my desperation and rapid mood swings. I felt neediness and a clinging quality in me that I have never experienced before. Those qualities didn’t develop out of nowhere. They were always inside me. I just couldn’t hear them or recognize them until I became addicted to Lindsay. It was an unconscious act of the mind to attach itself to something that felt pleasant. This something just happened to be love. And this love was manifested because I was looking for it in the wrong place. I was looking for it in another person and not from within me.
After a short while of being in love, I developed unrealistic imaginations, qualities, and virtues of hers. I imagined that she is a literal goddess who is lovable, kind, and genuine. I put her on a pedestal, worshiping her every moment and being. I never thought of her as someone who I wanted to have sex with ever. I couldn’t imagine her in such a primal state. She was just too pure for sexual imagery. She was an angel and an embodiment of spiritual union. She was an ethereal idea that I created.
This perfect imagery I had of her is not real. It existed in my mind as an illusion. It was an overwhelming expectation I had of her. However, reality showed me otherwise.
All this self-made imagery of Lindsay shattered when I saw her at a party during my high school years. She was dancing pretty wildly, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. I was shocked and incredibly devastated to find out that she was not who I imagined her to be. She was not a goddess or an angel. She was just a typical high school girl who loved to dance, drink, and party.
I was incredibly unhappy because my ideal love is not so ideal at all. I was tormented by my so called love obsession when I finally saw the truth within me: That my perceptions of love are harmful to the person I love and to myself.
If I keep holding this self-made imagery of love, then no women can ever satisfy me. It’s not because there are no perfect women in the world (that is subjective to how you interpret perfection), but because I am resisting and denying the very essence of womanhood and humanity. Women are not angels. They are humans just like me. They have flaws. They have their own shortcomings. So why was I denying her own flaws? How can I call that love if I can’t even see beyond her flaws? Are her qualities even flaws to begin with? Why am I putting a label on her natural disposition just because it differed from mine?
I knew from that moment that I don’t know anything about love. What I thought was love was just an egoic clinging to an identification of what love is that I made up in my mind. I don’t know what love is. I was infatuated with the idea of love and the feelings it invoked in me. I saw Lindsay as nothing more than a vessel that triggered such emotions in me. It was a selfish delusion of mine.
Being in love with Lindsay wasn’t about her. It showed me who I really was and what kind of person I still am. I needed her presence. I wanted to see her smile. I wanted to be taken away by the eternal bliss of being in love. I desired nothing more than the salvation and the wholesomeness I felt from her.
Maybe she was nothing more than a vehicle to a sensation. And maybe I was in love with love and no girl will ever be able to satisfy my desire to love. But for a moment, I was in heaven. I breathed for the first time. I lived for the first time. I over-glorified love and put it closer to dream than reality, so I came crashing down back to earth. I understood all that. I was in love with love…