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I’ve had two great loves in my life.

One was that love you dream about when you’re a naive teenager. A beautiful boy you never would have expected to look in your direction is suddenly smitten with you and you haven’t the faintest clue how to react. He’s gentle and makes you laugh and makes you feel like maybe this isn’t real, like you’re going to wake up from a blissful dream. He gives you butterflies and everything feels new and unique. There’s only the two of you in the world, everyone and everything else are just the background for your story. Every girl deserves a guy like this for a first boyfriend.

The other one was the love that saves you from yourself and makes you believe in loving again, in loving in a different way, but just as deep. Maybe deeper even. It was the kind that doesn’t give you butterflies like the first one, but does something much better – it makes you smile the whole day long knowing that there’s no doubt about where you stand with each other. It makes you want to not just dream, but also plan. This was the love that made me feel seen after I’d been invisible in much too long. This love was deep and enveloped me without realising this was happening. This love saved me when I needed it the most, when I was close to the precipice and about to lose myself.

I miss the age of innocence sometimes, when I still hadn’t been truly hurt yet. Could you walk into a relationship from a better position than not knowing the fear of the ending? This is how one should step into it, otherwise it’s like dooming it before it’s had the chance to become anything worth living.

Love is misunderstood nowadays. So many circumstances warrant the use of another word – infatuation, lust, desire, excitement, adrenaline rush – but love itself can be replaced most times by a more accurate synonym, kindness. It shouldn’t be called self-love, it should be kindness towards oneself. Kindness is the foundation of any loving endeavour or gesture, not anything else. 

When stepping into a relationship, it should be falling in love like falling into kindness. Nothing is worth it without love – I say nothing is worth it without kindness.

31 now and true love to me isn’t butterflies that fly away, it’s the love that’s kind and keeps you true to yourself.