Why I love love


Kaley Mendoza-Pineda

Valentine’s Day: the celebration of love!

I’ve always had a soft spot for romance. It all began with the innocent, relatable love story: book one of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (I say book one was innocent, but the books get progressively more risqué as the series progresses. Though, I’ve gotta admit, I am thankful my first encounter of the word “sex” was not on Urban Dictionary).

Since then, I’ve always loved everything to do with love. Books, movies, ingeniously crafted song lyrics (that I end up cringing at when listening in the car with my parents), the lot. Some say I devour all of this romantic content because I’m “toey as a Roman sandal,” but that’s not it. Romance is just so comforting. It just fills my heart to read about best friends, enemies (but not really, because I’ve never been the biggest fan of enemies to lovers, sorry, everyone) or nobodies slowly realizing they love each other and making out… and eventually screwing it up until they make up on the very last page of the book, at which point I’m extremely disappointed because I expected more content of an actually healthy relationship. (I mean, is an epilogue so hard?) Then, I have to go find yet another sweet, cute romance because I’ll never be satisfied when the protagonists finally get together for real, and I turn the page and boom. Acknowledgments. And I never know it’s the end because I only read ebooks. Which I kind of hate because I love physical copies too, but ebooks are the only way I can read in bed without my parents noticing because my dad thinks romance novels are silly. (I made him a list of totally respected classics that are all romantic, yet he is not swayed.) Which is so hypocritical because this is the same guy that, after a year of dating my mom, came up with a word puzzle, don214u, and told her he would “give her everything in the world for the rest of her life” if she could figure out what it meant (it’s “the only one for you.” Two in Korean is pronounced “ee”).

Regardless, I can’t very well read my cute little heartwarming romances in broad daylight with a hopeless-romantic-who-hates-romance-novels-for-no-reason hovering over my shoulder, trying to get me to play basketball with him because “jumping makes you grow taller” (he should go into marketing, for goodness sake). So I snuggle up at night, pretend to sleep, and immerse myself in the love on the page (well, screen) for a couple of hours. Or more. Once, I only got two hours of sleep because I was reading.

But that’s okay!

Because I love love.

One time, I met this guy at church who told be he never sleeps because he’s stupid. I told him that I never sleep because I read books. I thought we were soulmates. I thought wrong. He ended up telling me through a mutual friend that he liked another girl, who ended up actually being really mean to him. I’m not salty. I’m not! He was a weeb, and he was short. Not to hate on weebs because anime is cool, but he was like a creepy kind of weeb. Which sucks because I totally knew he was a weeb before realizing he was a loser who led me on when he had a crush on some other girl, but I ignored it and all his other stupid red flags. Why?

Because I love love.

Or maybe because I needed a rebound, and he had really really cute hair. Anyway, heartbroken me decided that, in order to find myself a rebound-rebound, I should make a boyfriend application form (as a joke). Though perhaps not a joke because I seriously do need to get over the weeb boy and my OG crush that I was trying to get over in the first place. Maybe I am concupiscent, but who knows because I’ve only got a 96 on the Rice Purity Test. (This is an A though, so go me!!)

No, I just love love.

My mother often asks me why I read so much romance. Not judgmentally, like my father, but sort of… amusedly (though she’d also rather I read more classics). I tell her every time: “I don’t know, it’s just fun.” That’s my answer to why I love love. Maybe there’s a deeper, more complicated feeling underlying my desperation to have fun in a relationship, but to love someone so much and have them love me back just as much—that sounds fun. Then my mother always proceeds to tell me that she loves me, probably even more than I love her, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

So that’s what I tell her: “It’s not you mom, it’s me.”

I’m aware that I fall in love a little quicker than other people, which says two things about me: 1) I like to see the best in people, and 2) I’m desperate. (and maybe that I’m an earth sign.) My desire to be loved has nothing to do with my lack of self-love, my declining worth as a single human or not receiving enough love from the people around me. In fact, I love myself. I’m kinda pretentious and I receive more than enough love from the people around me. The problem is, I don’t really love anyone back.

In wellness, we took a quiz that ranked how prominent different personality traits are in you, and love was my last. I’ve always been embarrassed of loving and expressing my love; it feels uncomfortable. So maybe my aspirations of love are actually my dreams of finally being comfortable with expressing my love for someone, just like they are comfortable doing that with me.

In my dreams of love, I’m everything that I want to be— happy, loved, loving, attractive (because why would anyone love me if I were ugly? Love twists looks and if someone loved me, I’d at least be attractive to them, so I’ll take what I can get)—which means that those dreams are the same as my dreams of success. Many say that love is not success and you shouldn’t put your entire self-worth on a relationship, but I’m not. For now. Because these are just dreams. And they’re fun.

That’s why I love love.

I’m sure it’ll change when I experience it, but for now,

I love love.