Love is an energy. Deeply rooted within each person’s core. It is the force that mends nations and builds aspirations. It never fits just one of us because it lives within all of us. It will never resemble just one thing because when you love, you feel so much. Love is health. In all of its states. Love can nurse you from a place of despair to a place of rebirth. It will care for your every whim and will never leave your side. It will listen to you even when you have the most preposterous things to say. The saddest things to say. It will listen until the only thing you now have are tears echoing within the walls of your mind and body. It will hold you and let you. Love will let you.
As a millennial, I’m a part of the population that really tells the whole world ”What’s on your mind?”. With social media being a form of communication for some and form of expression for others, 280 characters and a caption are the closest things to saying how we “feel” as we’ll get. So we’ll easily pick a lyric from the last thing we listened to or subtly express our dismay with an emoji.
The only times we express our thoughts on love are when we’re either in a relationship or in the deepest state of singlehood. The in between and its unraveling is left to memes and anonymous owners of pages that secretly depict who we really are behind closed doors.
As a teenager and a millennial, a single one at that, Valentine’s Day is the most dreaded and yet sadistically funny time of the year. For those of us that quickly scroll past pictures of roses and boxed chocolates, the “Fuck Love”, “Guess who my Valentine is this year? No one, that’s who. I’m single as fuck.” memes are the Kings of the realms we travel to through our screens to find a way to feel better about our relationship statuses.
So the question is what is it with us and love? Single or in a relationship, we’ve all related at least once to “Relationships aren’t worth it”. Are millennials immune to the idea of love or are we simply afraid of the idea of falling and falling so deep and hard that we might bruise really badly when we reach the bottom?
At the Essence of love is your true self. From the features and parts that everyone compliments you for, to the parts that you hide inside a closet and tuck into the small space you have left in your jeans. In a society where finding “bae” is the ultimate goal, we’ve once found ourselves out on a night where we would’ve preferred sleeping. We’ve found ourselves repeating words we memorized from a Buzzfeed quiz on how to get someone to fall for us. And it goes from that one night out to a “will you be mine?” text sent.
The next thing you know you’re both in a relationship with the answers you submitted to quizzes you both took. The slightest glimpse of the version of you that preferred sleeping in that one night you met, turns into a fight and soon enough into a breakup. You’re single again and you hate love.
To face facts, social media’s version of love simply doesn’t get along with us. So why do we always go back to it instead of truly putting ourselves on the quest of what love really could be? And to that question, the answer consists of two words; catching feelings.
“You live in my dream state. Every time I count sheep, it’s the only time we make up. You exist behind my eyelids. I don’t wanna wake up.” Tyler, the Creator (Flower Boy, 2018)
As millennials, we are afraid of catching feelings because the ultimate outcome of it is heartbreak. Though this may sometimes be true, that is only one aspect of what the quest to find love is like.
As a Rwandan girl, there’s a controversial set of “rules” to the whole love game. You are clearly told that you can’t bring just anybody to your parents as your significant other but the thought of you starting to date is triggering to them and should be made anonymous and non-existent until you’ve found the “right one”. The conversation is “open” with a society built to resemble an impenetrable mural. Once you’re “of age” and are barely starting to date, the famous “Fiancé se ari he?” (Where’s your fiancé?) is uttered from your mom and aunts. Love is realms you ease into but in this scenario are expected to know all the cheat codes to.
A sum of those scenarios and just a few to begin with, are what lead to a mismatch between us millennials and love. We either stay stuck because you have little to no space for movement or run and find no way of stopping ourselves.
But love is what helps us discover our true selves. Through your own eyes and those of others, are revealed unknown parts of ourselves. Love is an adventure with its good and bad turns.
Love is beautiful. It is charming and seducing. Caring and nurturing. It looks at you with depth; it touches you with precaution and holds you with confidence. It speaks to your soul; never cuts corners or hides behind bushes. It is ever present. It never leaves; it in fact, longs to be more and more present. No warmth is ever enough, it wants to give you more. It deserves you and you, it. Love is harmonious. It is kaleidoscopic. Once an anaphora of sensations and next an alliteration of illustrations. It strings together the most beautiful of melodies. Percussions, Strings, Base. Touch, Sight, Taste. Infinite combinations of joy. It brings you joy.
Love is hopeful. It never stops believing. With doubt, it can take you far and wide on the coasts of pain. But once doubt has battered you and left you trembling, thinking it has ended you once and for good, love rolls you over carefully and you start again. It believes in do-overs and old beginnings. It believes so much in you, in all of us.
Love is everlasting. It will continue to be explored and spoken of. Sung and recited from generation to generation. Because unlike so many other things, love never seizes to grow. An everlasting complexity. Never to be understood but always to be felt.
I would like to thank Ian Masozera, Giramata and Jade Umwali for inspiring me through our conversations and showing me their unique forms of love that led to the creation of this piece. But ultimately, I thank my heart for allowing me to love everyday. In every way.