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Modern Love

At the beginning of 2017, I made a short video lying in bed with some fairly realistic goals to start off my year. Throughout my highs and lows of 2017, I found myself remembering that video and those goals, reminding myself that I had some work to do and to not let the January 1st, 2017 version of myself down.

My goals were simple: 

  1. Write at least 1 blog post every two weeks on my personal blog
  2. Get a pay raise or start a new job
  3. Submit a piece of writing to the New York Times
  4. Hang out with more people one on one (and make them play Pie Face)
  5. Help as many people as possible with things involving writing

 

They were all fairly easy.

Ok jk they totally weren't, and I was going to give a quick overview here, but as I started to develop a little on each topic, the post got longer and longer, so click here for a separate post on a brief overview of my goals and how they were/weren't achieved. 

A good way to set goals for yourself, both long-term and short, is to set realistic goals for yourself; there's no way I'm going to learn how to be invisible by the end of the year, so I'm probably not going to set a goal as "Learn how to be invisible," unless I'm talking about being invisible in a social setting, like metaphorically, in which case, ok maybe. However, setting a goal that isn't impossible but is challenging enough, and is well within your Zone of Proximal Development (ayeee Masters Degree in work okaaaay), is optimal. 

And long story short, I kind of achieved all or parts of each goal that I set for myself…

except for one.

 

3. Submit a piece of writing to the New York Times

Specifically, the "Modern Love" section.

I've written about love since I first started writing professionally; I was around it, I had been in it — well, circumstantially, as in my high school first love was all I knew as a 16 year old lol, and I had fallen out of it. I'd witnessed friends meet their Miss/Mr. Right's, or Miss/Mr. Right Now's, and I'd gone through many highs and lows that made me feel qualified enough to submit a piece.

One of my rules as a writer is to never write about something I'm currently experiencing with someone else; I feel like a connection is so personal, so fragile, so intimate that it wouldn't be right to publicize a love I was currently in. I let time pass from loves and losses until I was fully comfortable talking about them, and I had go-to stories of good and bad loves and relationships from my past:

A high school first love that was not reciprocated in the ways that it needed to be, thus making me constantly feel unwanted and unworthy.
A relationship that ended with my realization that I was not mentally or emotionally aware or equipped to be in a real-ationship, thus labeling myself as unprepared and unwilling — oh, also, after he broke up with me, he admitted he had cheated on me and then spent the rest of the year trying to win me back, and I foolishly entertained the idea because I was unsure of what my self-worth really was in a relationship.
A relationship that consisted of a one-sided infatuation, yet he was infatuated with ideas of me that he had created, that weren't actually real reflections or representations of who I was.
A relationship that finally seemed comfortable in all aspects, only to be ended by my discovery that I was the other woman.
A connection that seemed familiarly comfortable, but for all the wrong reasons (the choice in vocabulary "wrong" isn't meant as "incorrect" but moreso as "risque").

It seemed simple enough to take one of these stories and write a deeply thoughtful piece on my experience, reflecting on the actual event from the past and the circumstance, and then looking at the story in my current perspective, divulging on what I learned from this love and loss. It seemed simple enough, but as I would read the latest "Modern Love" article on a couple losing their love throughout their years of marriage, or losing a loved one from cancer, or struggling with mental health and confidence levels in a relationship, my little stories seemed so…

trivial. 

Just because the section of the Times was called "Modern Love" didn't mean that it centralized on the idea of love in a modern time — and how did I define "modern" anyway? 

Was it modern as in young millennial
modern as in technology based
or as in it's simplest form of the word: modern, as in now.

With the emotional depth and magnitude in all these peoples' stories, how can my adolescent and young adult anecdotes even compare? My loves were about fuccbois being fuccbois, about seeking immediate gratification from "IT'S A MATCH!" screens on Tinder, about boys not liking me the way I liked them.

Do I really know what love is, or do I know about millennial emotions that I labeled as "love"? 

As I took a step back from this mini-existential crisis I created myself, I questioned whether anyone truly knew what love was. Having polled plenty of people throughout the years, many would whole-heartedly declare that love is synonymous to words like "trust" and "loyalty" and "respect", and I would accept those answers with feigned profundity.

Those words were synonyms, as in they were lateral to the word.
They might be related to love, they might reflect love, they might be a partner to love,

but can they define what love is? 

Reading these "Modern Love" articles + thinking back on my own experiences + thinking of friends' loves and losses, didn't give me a definition either, but everything started to provide more clarity. 

Love is personal, indescribable, and has depth that changes constantly; just because your love is deep and passionate and heated doesn't mean Susan from HR has access to those same levels of love. But does it mean Susan can't love? Absolutely not. Unless Susan's a bitch, but even still, bitches get some love here and there.

3. Submit a piece of writing to the New York Times

Specifically, the "Modern Love" section.

In the beginning of 2017, I was absolutely positive that I would be able to write and submit something thoughtful, fresh, and unique. My story telling skills about the loves I've been in were A1, my voice had an interesting way of speaking through text, and my grammar ain't two bad. After having reflected upon "Modern Love" in all its entirety, I think my newest 2018 goal is to explore the depths of love.

 

We all have a love story, we just don't have too many people to tell.
Let me take a listen, only if you're willing to share. 

 

 

 

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get vulnerable.