It dawned on me on a Sunday morning, as I lay awake in my bed…alone. I had woken up surprisingly early that morning; and sleep never came back to me. The level of alertness that I was astounded me to an extent. I had been going over my life the past few years. It had been anything but boring. The people I’d met; the places I’d been—in my head and on the map—it had culminated in that Sunday morning.
I remembered the first time I had ever loved someone who wasn’t my friend, or family, or pet. I remembered the first time someone who wasn’t my friend, family, or pet, loved me back. It was a very interesting thought. It made me realize something that day…
That there are, essentially, three different kinds of love.
Here’s how I characterised them.
1. The First
It’s the irrevocable kind of love. It hits you and it hits you hard. It’s like a gun to your head and a bullet to your brain. You’re shot; you’re wounded and only one person can ever heal you. It’s like being made aware of your own existence. It makes you realize that you could feel so much; you didn’t even know you had so many emotions in you. You didn’t know you could feel the things you feel right now, before this moment; this person. It’s new. You’re new. The world around you is new. You’ve been born for love. And so, you hold this person’s hand and stir up a storm; throwing caution to the wind, the earth and the fire. You’ll light up together and burn everything in your path even if it means you’ll illuminate each other’s hearts. It’s you and it’s them and no one and nothing else matters. You could create a world of your own, start a war with the world because you know you have this person and this person has you. You’re so blinded by their love that you block out all other feelings; all other realities. All you see is them; all they see is you. You’re a mirror staring into a mirror.
And then, the very storm you stirred up, uproots you. The fire you started burns your soul. The war you fought leaves you shattered and worn. Suddenly, the realities come crashing down and you realize that you’re holding a grenade. The gun goes off; the bullet gets out the other side of your brain and you’re falling to the ground… all by yourself. You’re crashing against the waves of the ocean and you’re drowning in the sea. You reach out to gasp for air but you’re suffocating and choking.
This is the kind of love that shows you can feel—in ways you thought were unimaginable. This is the love that shows you can hurt in ways that could break your heart into a million different pieces. Your heartbeat is never the same again. Your mirror is broken. And so are you.
2. The Second
It’s the careful kind of love. You’re getting back up again; dusting the past off… with a little help. Someone walked past you and noticed you, fallen; struggling to get back up. They offered you their hand; so, you took it. They helped you back up. You learned to walk again; sure, there’s a limp in your walk; the bounce is missing. But, hey, you’re walking again. All thanks to this person. They’re always there, by your side. They offer you a shoulder to cry on; they give you their hand to hold. They hold you when you’re shaking and they carry you when it gets tough. They’ll smile to show you that there’s still hope. They’ll even wipe away the tears. They become your walking stick, your pillow to sleep and your blanket in the winter. They warm you in the cold and they shelter you from the rain. They know you’re not ready to get back out again; so they’ll go out there for you. They’ll stand in the rain for you. They’ll carry your burdens for you, hoping and waiting that you’ll share the load one day. They’ll wait. They’ll show you that you can still feel good; that all is not lost; that love still exists for you. All you have to do is reach out.
You’ll learn to feel again, for the first time in a very long time. And so, you’ll confuse that good feeling with love. You’ll substitute it with love. Because they love you back. Because. This love will have a reason. You will love them because. They become your comfort zone because you’re too scared to accept that you’re too wounded to go back out in the real world. You’re comfortable because they’re convenient. They’re your trampoline; your buffer; your sojourn. There will be reason to your love. And that’s when you’ll know; it’s never really love.
3. The Final
It’s the kind of love that makes you realize why the first kind never worked out because you were blindsided; the second wouldn't work because it was a backup. This kind of love comes when you've fallen, and bounced back up; when you've grown into the person you were meant to be so you could meet the person it was truly meant to be. You’ve hurt in every way that you could and you’ve healed. But, you’ve learned to heal others along the way, too. You’ve been broken and bent; but you’ve put yourself together again. You’ve been scarred; but you’re done hiding them. They see the hurt; they see the scars. They show you theirs. They touch you in ways that you’ve never been touched; not just physically, but, mentally. They really see you and then, they see through you—all the facades you’ve been putting on, all the walls you’ve been building up come crashing down. They don’t wait for you to come to them. They demand you to meet them half way. They’ll open you up like a book they’ve been waiting for all their lives.
From the first time you see each other, you know there was a reason why you went through life the way that you did. The broken roads led you to one another. The first and second kinds prepare you for this kind of love. And when you get it, it's about loving unconditionally. It's not about stirring up a storm, lighting up a fire, ro starting up a war. It’s about facing the storm together, even when you’re in the eye of it. It’s about igniting each the spark for each other and taming the wildfires. It’s about winning battles together and fighting each other’s demons. Yes, you will still fall. But you will never hit the bottom. You will fall; but only to rise together. It will be like standing at the edge of the cliff, knowing that you’re rooted to your spot, as long as you’ve got each other. It’s about riding on the waves and swimming the seven seas. It’s about loving, holding on and never letting go. It’s about fighting and making up. It’s about untying one another from the chains, yet not leaving each other.
That's the kind of love you want to wait for. It comes later than ever. And it will never come easy. But, when it comes, it comes to stay forever. It may not come at the time you want; but it will come when the time is right.