I first read these words from F. Scott Fitzgerald a year ago.
Since then, I’ve become an observer, even within my own experiences, of the kinds of love I am surrounded by.
I noticed I was being molded by all different experiences of love and the outcome was how I now act, speak and think.
I wondered if it is the same for other people. Either way, they don't talk about it.
Why don’t people talk about it?
Is it a sense of embarrassment? Do they perceive love to be a weakness?
Do they attribute themselves to something other than a product of the love they have received?
I understand that sometimes words are not needed to express and feel love, but lately, I seem to notice people actively avoiding aspects of the conversation like the plague.
So here I am, ready to talk about how I have been affected by love. I'm starting the damn conversation.
Here are five types of love I have been a part of that have shaped my life beyond measure:
1. The Person I Loved, But Was Not In Love With
I wish at the time I could have known the difference.
What a strange thing it is to feel so deeply for someone’s soul and to see the end picture of happiness, but to have some of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle missing.
Honesty from this situation earned me friendship. It's an entirely different kind of love, but one I would not trade.
2. Strong Friendship
It's is a kind of love where your differences create a unique harmony and your similarities create fun.
It’s constant, it fuels creativity and there is truly nothing better than for people to say, “I love hanging out with you, just because you are you.”
There are so many good people around.
There are people who appreciate your realness and people you can learn from every single day.
It's a familiar bond without romantic connotation. I can’t think of a love more simple or more needed.
This kind of person makes your heart race. It's a dangerous, addictive, reckless abandonment kind of love.
It was one that left me shivering in February and my car fogged up in June.
It opens your eyes to how much you can let yourself fall and how willing you can be to hit the bottom.
Your awareness that the time frame is temporary is more of an attraction than anything.
It’s like watching a train wreck. It's gut-wrenching, but you just can’t turn away.
I don’t know what lesson I learned from this love, but I know I am a better person because of it.
4. The Game Changer
This is the person you accomplished so much with in such a short amount of time.
It's the one who you thought broke your heart, but who really showed you it wasn’t even pieced together.
You see, when you rely so heavily on someone else for your happiness, it's like a drug addiction.
When you're alone, you’re nervous, irritated and counting down the minutes until you get more of that person.
You crave the high, and it's just not healthy.
If I hadn't lost this love, gone through withdrawals and checked myself into emotional rehab, I would never have known my own happiness.
When the game changer enters my mind, I think, "Oh, we were lovely," and "You were what I needed, but not anymore."
This is another love that turned into friendship, the one you wave to across the room and drink milkshakes to for the nostalgia.
5. A Parent’s Selflessness
Now that I am through the angst of teenage years, I can appreciate the enormity of a parent’s sacrifices and love.
I’ve seen it with new mothers, parents who have switched off their child's life support and a mother who cooks, cleans and provides for her children instead of working a career she loves.
I have even been blessed to see it in my own parents, one working away to provide and one as a full-time carer of my sister.
I can see it there in the background, the hardworking and (most of the time) unnoticed love.
It's the kind that asks for nothing in return. It leaves me in awe.
These are the types of love I have endured, and this is why I am the way I am.
The point of me sharing this is that I'm now asking you to start a real conversation about love because it is an issue and deserves recognition.
Notice the love surrounding you.
There is love in someone saying, “Text me when you're home safe,” when someone looks after you when you have had one too many glasses of wine, when you get a hug and even when you get things like postcards or Facebook wall posts.
Sometimes, you are heartbroken or lose a loved one, move away or simply just go through a hell of a lot with love.
How does this shape you? Why don’t you talk about it?