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June 5, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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Love Isn’t Real, Because You Aren’t Hard Enough

I’m 16. The clock hits 9:30pm and my mother tells me to get to bed and get an early night. My lamp lights up the room that was previously lit up by Minecraft and my phone alerting me that someone poked me.

The rain begin to hit my window as I turn on my speaker and play Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.
My phone buzzes. A text from my girlfriend, Bella. I pause my game, unlock my phone and the text lights up my room, face, and entire life.

“I think I love you.”
The rain stops. The lamp dims, and in my peripheral vision my turquoise walls have been painted battleship grey. Kendrick’s album promptly skips to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. I’ve forgotten how to breathe, as my chest twists and unwinds like a tornado flew around my room. Start.
This was where I was introduced to love. Despite being romantically inept, having no job, driver’s license, goals, sexual knowledge, or confidence, I submerged myself into a pool of intimacy and commitment. Age 16 1⁄2. We began to spend more time together during and after school. In town, on the rugby field, outside the drama studio, in my lounge watching game shows, and everywhere in between; places where I found love. I began to care about something other than myself, and worry for the welfare of young women like her. Lost.

Lost in the heat of it all.
Fast forward to my departure to university in 2015 and the inevitable heartbreak that followed. It sucked, but we don’t have to relive that in detail. I immediately meet someone new. Tayla. We commit and begin to grow like we’re knee deep in fertilizer; blooming like roses grown entangled by the torrential wind that is first year university. Away from home is difficult alone and easier when you share a bed with someone that reminds you of the friends and family you left behind. Someone that reminds you of Bella.
Thoughts of Bella can’t escape my mind as Tayla turns around and whispers through her tears, “I love you”. The street sweepers outside becomes mute as the humidity in the room begins to make the walls sweat my tears for me. To be polite I return the compliment. In the same way I spoke to Bella.

Wait. This isn’t right. This isn’t right at all. I don’t feel this shit. Why is that love? That’s just one person being polite to another. Why would I want to hurt someone’s feelings, when I could lie to them about something I don’t know the answer to? It’s easy, right?
I do it all the time. The barista at my local bakery asks me “How are you today?”.
“To be honest, I’ve had a shocker. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love and I don’t know whether I’m just scared of the response when I disagree so I just lie to make the situation more positive.”
Why the f*ck would I say that? She doesn’t need that on her plate. Maybe she’s just dying for me to say something dead so she can ask for my order. I respond with “Good, how are you?”.

I do it all the time.
Troy asks me if he should hit up the girl in the turtleneck with the hoops and boots next to the bartender, but I’ve just had a conversation with her about how creepy Troy is. Tell him what’s really good? Nah, I don’t have the heart. How could I?
How could I create a situation where someone I’m committed to loves me without reciprocation? I didn’t have the heart to. So, I continue. I continue to say it every night. Every morning. On the end of text messages, on birthday cards, post-it notes, phone calls and through lustful moments.

But, Bella never knew and neither would Tayla.

My head in one hand at the waterfront, with the other drenched in vanilla ice cream. Sticky with tears and ice cream, I confront my fear. I still feel lonely. I’m not in love and I never have been. I’m just too scared to say no and be a bad person. I never put myself first.

I begin to take care of my own ambitions. I build my confidence to the point where I feel comfortable in sweatpants and a sweatshirt in the middle of Courtenay Place for everyone to see. I could make the first move and invite you over later for milk and cookies, but we both know I’m lactose-intolerant. I vow to never change anything about myself if it doesn’t benefit me. Promise to never be put in a situation where I have to lie everyday about what I feel. I put myself first.
My confidence is perceived as arrogance, but it allows me to feel emotion. To feel every kiss, every intimate moment, and every tear-jerking goodbye as a sentimental landmark in my lifetime. Ever since I found that confidence, it’s been spreading like ivy, painting my black and grey feelings to pink and white.
My opinion? Love isn’t real because you haven’t been selfish yet.

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