"To love would be an awfully big adventure." - Peter Pan
It may seem a little dramatic to know that a twenty-four year old theatre advocate often uses the phrase I hate love, however the reasons behind it are personally deemed just and true. To understand the story in its entirety, itís best to (as one of my Musical Theatre greats would say) start at the very beginning. I havenít always been this bitter towards the glorious four letter word and what it entails. In fact quite the opposite. For years I dreamed of Peter Pan flying into my bedroom and taking me away with him. Admittedly, when written in black and white, my aspirations towards love seem a little creepy and misguided, but I promise you this isnít so.
I grew up in a loving household, a family the bigoted Bernardi would deem normal and acceptable. Lucky me. No law breaking foreseen for my future. I went through life using the word love in reference to many different realities I faced. I love ice-cream was one that was said often. I love my bike is also a favourite. I love you mum is one that became less frequent as I graced my teenage years, however still poignant. Love was all around me, and I adored every minute of every day encompassed in it. It wasnít until I reached the terribly misunderstood age of fourteen that I started to grasp the understanding that love wasnít all ice cream and non motorised vehicles. No, love was this strange feeling that sprouted from your stomach and sent a warm gurgling feeling gushing through you. Love was Aaron Smith.
I met Aaron in my year nine maths class, and fell head over heels giddy for him. I would laugh at everything he said, and smile when he entered the room as my stomach did a little back flip of joy, and spend my nights filling my private journal with the dreams of one day getting to tell him about this incredible feeling I felt when he was around. I only ever came close to telling him once throughout my high school years; a task that felt like a triathlon performed five times in a row, and I am sincerely grateful for the mysterious fantasy that was left inside me at the wonder of what he may have replied.
I got my first boyfriend not long after I turned fifteen, and again fell head over heels in what I could only summarise as love. This feeling. This giddy joy. It had to be the real deal. However, to my great surprise that giddy feeling didnít last, and suddenly his obsession with electronic games and the local football team became annoying traits that made his attractiveness dwindle terribly. Yet for some unknown reason, somewhere along my developmental journey, I had created an understanding for myself that to have this boy as my own was far more acceptable than to have no boy at all. Thus, I stayed with him until the inevitable day when I received a text message that ripped my heart out, and one that made that feeling in my stomach turn to a swarm of angry sharp beaked birds chipping away at me from the inside. Falling helplessly into my motherís superwoman arms, I cried for hours on end rueing the day I ever met him, and therefore swearing I would never love another boy in my life. A promise I kept for approximately eight months.
The next relationship would prove to be an ongoing mental hindrance for years to come, however at the time the buzzing butterflies of desire trumped the warning signs. Yes I fell hard. This boy was different, He knew what he was doing. We didnít discover things together. He showed me and told me. I had warnings being thrown at me from everywhere with his mother even yielding caution, and yet I remained impervious. I was in love, how dare they try to stop it, those jealous people. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and as I spend the years dealing with the experience, I often look back and wonder what would have happened if one of those caring voices had gotten through the wall of love - but the task is pointless. This boy, this single human being, was allowed into my mind and granted subconscious permission to destroy all aspects of my self esteem.
A year of solitude and embarrassing life choices saw me take a stand against love. That despicable four letter word was not coming anywhere near me. I built a solid wall based solely on the foundation of my second relationship and its demise. Then I met the third boy. The clique I had been working so hard to destroy came bumbling at me not unlike my over excited Labrador when he smells food. That one syllable; those four letters - they came creeping back into my stomach with all the fluttering and knots they usually did. Donít get me wrong, I had learnt that the butterflies were lust; but that little voice; the one I found right back at the beginning that said I needed this person to be happy - it was still as loud as ever. I had failed to make the wall sound proof.
This relationship was different to the others. I was in control of everything. I made the plans. I set the boundaries. For the first time, he said the ĎLí before me; a sentence I soon reciprocated for fear of him leaving me. This relationship came in waves with me subconsciously pushing him away each time we became too serious - an act I was unaware of until my own mother pointed it out to me. It wasnít until this relationship came to its close that I realised who I reminded myself of. I was like him. I was acting like number two in all his dictating glory, and I despised myself.
I have had many people share their great advice with me over the years. From just let it go and not let him get to you to one of my favourites, youíre better than that. All statements are viable in their own cause and seemingly fitting to each situation. It may sound unreasonable to a stranger that my view on love has been tainted so dramatically by only three boys, but know that there are other contributing factors. Through watching close family members battle with the suffocating pain that is divorce, to hearing friends say I thought I knew him better than that almost religiously at the end of a relationship; I can come up with only one conclusion. You will never really know anyone, and you have love to thank for it all.
Love isnít those butterflies and smiles I thought it was. Love is a blanket. It is a blanket that engulfs people, and shows them in a glorified light. Some blankets are more like lap rugs and take only months to unravel, but others are intricately woven master pieces. Regardless, they do unravel and slowly reveal what is underneath; something that I am yet to discover as a good thing. My young mind canít help but think it is because I dared to know. I pulled at those blanket threads with such force that they unravelled without any warning, and I was left with slimy amphibian remains of princes. Donít worry though, I havenít lost it all. I still have my Aaron fantasy to hang onto, and there will always be Peter. The hope that one day he will fly in my window and take me away and I will love every creepy moment of it.
Key points to take away:
Love is a fantasy. When grounded love is also real.
With inspired and intense effort, true love does last - although not forever.
All things pass.
Love is a roller-coaster. Just like life.
Fantasy can keep couples up on pedestals. True love has no euphoria, lust or boundaries.