Different kinds of love bring different levels of pain.
Some are temporary, some lasting, some accidental and some inevitable.
There is also the kind of pain that would make even the smallest glimmer of hope say fuck this I’m out of here. Luckily for us, the pain that comes from the first debacle of relationship hell, otherwise known as puppy love, is the pain that hope forgets about.
When I was 14-years-old, my reference for a perfect relationship was a John Hughes film. I don’t know why I thought that a movie seemed like it could be a potential reality to me. Maybe it was because my parents were happily married after 20 years, and I didn’t have an older sister to tell me that Jake Ryan didn’t actually exist. (Surely you’ve seen “Sixteen Candles“.)
No one in the history of ever has picked me up from a wedding, on my birthday no less (see how they planted the happily forever after seed there?), in a Porsche with a fancy cake. They didn’t sit on my parents kitchen table at 11:59 p.m. wishing me a happy birthday. And if by some bizarre chance Mars exploded and the planets aligned in total randomness causing such an event to happen, I’d still bet he wouldn’t look like Jake Ryan.
Nine times out of 10 puppy love ends in a prepubescent whirlwind of pain that feels like a slow death by a swarm of killer bees.
The pain that’s accidental can be an utter mystery. Perhaps accidental is not the right word—no, definitely not the right word. Let’s go with unexpected. When the hope of a new potential love (sure, let’s call it that) is going well, it’s a great feeling. You get butterflies when you see his name in your texts. You have late night conversations for hours. You talk about childhood, family, hopes and dreams. You wonder what his touch would feel like and intuitively know that his kiss will wreck you.
There’s a feeling that this could go somewhere. You have a romantic date that ruins you, and eventually his kiss does, in fact, wreck you.
What occurs next is not cool on any level. It’s usually something (insert really bad thing here) that happens as often as a blue moon or a shark attack, when you only swim twice a year. In one quick clearly god hates me moment, the potential love comes to a standstill.
You’ve hit a brick wall.
The wall is so thick, you wonder if you can maybe get around it, or climb over it. There doesn’t seem to be a sign that getting through it is possible. Then what? Do you call it a day? Do you use the “it’s just an early test” theory, because you see so much good in the other person that you want to just be there for them?
When you try to be there for them, you slam directly into the brick wall you already knew was there. Now I have a visual of the Energizer bunny in my head. Fantastic. Maybe it just sounds silly to put so much thought into something that hasn’t even had the chance to develop, but if you’re anything like me, you are a fighter—more often than not, to my own detriment. I will not date someone’s potential, but when things are new, and something unexpectedly strains things, its really awful. It’s confusing and horrible, and feels like the crash from a bad acid trip.
Baffling right? You wonder if it’s fixable. You probably wonder a lot of things. What you shouldn’t wonder is what the other person is thinking. You’ll never be right, unless you communicate. Perhaps I should take my own advice…
The worst pain I’ve seen in my lifetime isn’t necessarily over a love that is romantic. It is the death of someone you love, and that love can come in any form.
I don’t tend to bring up things so grievous in nature, unless I try and find some humor in it to share. However, it is my job as a writer to speak my truth. I would be doing myself and you a great disservice if I did not.
It may be a bit selfish to touch upon a subject that is so sad, but I cannot write wholly unless this is put on paper. Two weeks ago I lost a dear friend; someone whom I loved. This loss has evoked a pain that for me is massive, not that I haven’t had horrendous break ups or been through a divorce, but this pain is different from any other.
There is uniqueness to its depth and an uncertainty to its longevity. It lives in every cell at any given moment. It is brutal and seems to stay just underneath the surface of everything I’ve done for the past few weeks. It will not completely go away. It may never go away.
Saying goodbye was the hardest.
It took what seemed like days to walk inside, my feet dragging as if they were encased in cement.
When I stood over him I felt as if I was looking at him though someone else’s eyes as my head flooded with memories. Everything I had ever wanted to say to him stuck to my vocal chords, unable to come out. I tried to say them in my head, foolishly hoping to transmit them to him somehow, but I felt dumb standing there for more than a minute.
He was so still, and his personality and life force were massive, and gone too soon.
I wanted to say I was sorry. I wanted to say I love you. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him not to go. To implore him to stay with his sister Jess, to selfishly ask for more of his laughter and light and craziness. But when I walked into that room, I promised that I would leave any regrets there.
All of these things have made me wonder… with all of this pain why do we bother? What makes it all worth it to have our hearts trampled on or our guts yanked out to be left with a gaping hole that you think will never heal?
The answer is simple. There is nothing in this entire world real or fancied that compares to love. It cannot be replicated. That is why we tape ourselves back together with spit and a tourniquet and get back in the ring. Love is brilliant. It can paint the sky without paper.
Life is filled with loss and missed moments. Live it to the fullest. Take chances. Do a cartwheel on the beach. Find all the beauty that you can and love like it will rip you apart from your core—and when it does, don’t regret one single moment.
~ Editor: Anne Clendening