A crazy little thing called love

Matt Busekroos

What is love, anyway?

As a journalism student, you’re taught not to begin a story with a question unless it can be answered immediately.

I’m not typically a rule breaker, but when it comes to love, I think all bets are off.

Three years ago, I wrote a piece in this newspaper inviting love into my life. I didn’t know what love was then, and I still don’t know what it is now. It’s only been three years, but there is a lot I wish I could’ve told my 19-year-old self.

My thoughts on love were misguided and slightly embarrassing in hindsight, but earnest nonetheless.

“I need love. I hope for love. However, I do not expect love. I do not want second-rate love. I do not wish to settle,” I wrote then.

All of that is still invariably true to an extent, except I don’t know what “love” is.

Anything was possible to me at 19. However, I never faced as many disappointments then as I have in the last three years. I understand now that not everything turns out like the movies. I’ve learned sweeping, grand gestures should be saved for Hollywood and people more swift than myself.

Despite not fully comprehending “love,” I know that I’ve never been “in love” before.

It takes time away from particular situations to gain perspective on them. I realize now my feelings for most have been shallow and fleeting. I tend to confuse real emotions with superficiality.

I fooled myself every time, except once.

I never felt the same for anyone before (or after, for that matter). I suppressed my feelings because nothing about the situation seemed right. I ultimately looked past every reason for us not to be together and said something. My initial instincts were correct about everything, and I was alone in the way I felt.

I knew the outcome ahead of time, but I went for it anyway. It meant something to me that I could put myself out there and not be afraid of rejection.

I don’t necessarily think everything happens for a reason. Not always. Sometimes shit happens and we’re left thinking about what could’ve been. But I certainly don’t need to be with someone to be happy.

We make excuses for ourselves as a crutch until we know our next move. We can either dwell on the past or move on. I choose to move on.

Sometimes you have to let yourself fall apart in order to start over again. I let myself break to see any sign of hope for myself in the future. Along the way, I discovered that picking up the pieces is difficult, but it’s much better than staying broken.

I don’t have any regrets about anything I’ve said or done in the last three years. I risked a lot, but no one told me it’d be easy. I’m not sure anything in life is worth having without some effort put in.

Maybe I’m not destined for something great right now. At the moment, it means more to me to see my friends find love. Their happiness is my happiness.

After all this, I still don’t know what love is, but I imagine it breaks all the rules. And one day I intend to break every single one of them.

Matt Busekroos is a graduate student studying interactive media.