Love and Blueberries

While on my lunch break today, I was carefully inspecting blueberries before putting them in my yogurt. For some reason love popped into my head. Maybe it was due to the special care I was giving each blueberry…I really don’t know.

I was 13 when I experienced my first “I love you”. I’ll never forget that boy. There he was asking me to dance at our 8th grade graduation. And then he starts crying. This boy, who showed no previous interest in me, shed tears while saying he loved me. What does a 13 year old girl do with that? I’ll tell you what I did…I made fun of him to all my friends. I know, how awful. But like I said before, I learned from a young age that love isn’t something you guarantee someone unless you know it’s real.

Before that night, I remember me and my friends discussing for hours about the boys who didn’t like us. I’m talking about those crushes that you just can’t shake. One of my friends told me once, “Erika, when you get to high school every guy in that building will be after you.”

Welp. Let me tell you. The whole senior guy chasing the freshman girl scenario was very much real in my story. HAHA imagine how my dad took that one…anyways. I wasn’t used to a guy that I mutually liked giving me so much attention. I fell pretty hard. He appreciated my athletic abilities on the track and we shared some deep discussions about depression. He didn’t get my first “I love you”. I almost just told you guys a lie but I had to erase it. I did tell that boy that I loved him…and then pretended that I meant to send it to my grandma. How embarrassing. He went to college that August…never heard from him again.

Now that you’re caught up on my first “I love you”s let’s move forward. In the next six years I heard a lot more “I love you”s and even gave a couple back. Onto the summer before senior year of college…

There was a guy. We kept in touch for probably the first part of the summer and then nothing. We moved back in August for senior year and it was as if nothing had changed. He knew I liked him. And you know what he did about it? Messed with my emotions the same way we all have done to our crushes at least once. How crazy it is to see the power we can hold over someone else. Almost invigorating right? After he dragged me along far enough he dropped me off a 100ft. cliff. Hard. I mean one day here the next day gone type of drop. But this “I love you” that I felt was different. It felt mature. Like I knew what I wanted. That I had life figured out. I could lie to you all and say I’m fine…but why else would sorting blueberries make me think of love? Or the sound of cicadas almost make me cry? The dude has invaded my mind.

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I could tell you that love stinks. But let’s be real. Love is great. I mean it’s even more amazing when it’s reciprocated but eh. The problem is that people get all these funky ideas about what love is. Someone says love and the other person immediately thinks of babies and weddings. But what if we thought of it this way:

Love is being intrigued. It’s the thirst for wanting to know someone more. Attraction to their heart and soul..okay maybe their hair too but that’s only a plus. After years of trying to figure out love I learned that all I knew how to do was run. Run because I had a false idea of what those people meant by “I love you”. Now that I’ve had some time to ponder it…I don’t believe that 13 year old boy wanted to marry me. He was intrigued. Something about me caught his eye. Obviously as time goes on and we age, the things we are intrigued with become more complex. The 13 year old was intrigued because well, he was 13…hormones, man.

But my latest “I love you”, that I never got to say, was because I was deeply intrigued. Intrigued by his individuality and the big heart that he tried so hard to hide. I longed to know everything about him. “I love you” was the biggest compliment that I had to offer. Does that change since I was thrown into the wind like a crumbled piece of paper? Yeah, duh. But the messed up part about the heart is that the intriguing sensation doesn’t leave. No matter how much the mind throws fact after fact…the heart will make every excuse to not give up.

I know, you guys are thinking…okay? What did I get from that?

Stop and think about your first “I love you”s. Think about every time someone has told you they loved you. And every time you told someone you loved them. Now think of those words as if they were the biggest compliment you could ever have received. I’m talking more than just romantic relationships now. Friends, family, mentors, coaches…the list goes on. Those “I love you”s that everyone seems to throw around….those are the BIGGEST compliments that could ever be given. Not only should we use them wisely, but we should also accept them a lot more caringly than we have in the past.

Much love, from my fortress. ❤

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