‘Just remember in the winter / far beneath the bitter snow / lies the seed, that with sun’s love / in the spring, becomes the rose’ (The Rose, Bette Midler, 1979)
Come to think of it, even though I planned on writing about love today, I only just remembered that nine years ago this month, I was dating my first love. Hold on a minute as my head stops spinning…. nine years?!
I was 17, he was 20, and boy was I in deep! I remember one of our first dates on Clearwater Beach: it was a cold, breezy night as we cuddled on the closed lifeguard tower, overlooking the waves lapping at the shore in the dark, and the moon hanging above. We flirted and kissed and laughed. Admittedly, it took years to really get over what had happened in that relationship, much to the chagrin of my best friends. He might be reading this, and I wish him well, and to spare any drama I won’t go into depth about what exactly happened; except to say, I was dragged along for awhile and my heart was eventually broken. He was, however, my first Valentine, my date to senior prom, and the first man I was truly intimate with.
Love has been relatively elusive for me. Aside from the aforementioned man, I was only in love one other time. Both were short, intense, passionate romances that didn’t end well (but not horribly, either). There were a few other times where I was (or thought I was) falling for someone, or was quite infatuated, and it ended. Those hurt just as much.
I admit, there was also a time where I dated a few people because I was bored – or I became bored quickly. They were nice enough people, but bland. These were the guys I actually broke up with, but I’ve been broken up with more often than not.
I’ve been all over the board in terms of love- I’ve been through all the highs, lows, rejection, and people overly into me that I just wasn’t into. Too many great guys have come and gone (LOL) from my life due to bad timing or unfortunate circumstances on their end. Alternately, too many times have I been dumped because they ‘weren’t ready for a relationship’, only to be seen dating someone else several weeks or months later. My second love left me because he was scared I’d leave him or it’d turn sour, like what happened with his previous fiancée. Guess he wasn’t too scared- he met his future husband just a few months after dumping me.
All these experiences do not discourage me, despite that compared to most modern, young people, I’m an intensely love-oriented person. The title of today’s post is the title of one of my favourite songs, ‘La Vie En Rose’ by Edith Piaf. La Mome‘s iconic vibrato weaves through tenderness into bombast as she explains in French a love so wonderful, she sees life in pink. That sentiment is so beautiful and I long for my own similar experience.
In this month infatuated with infatuation – as commercialised as it is – I remain encouraged, but always a bit weary. After all, it’s been the same nine years since I’ve had a Valentine – yep, that first love was the last time I had one! But I’ll remain hopeful that someday soon, the snow will melt, and the rose will bloom.
Aside from romantic love, my life has been filled with love: my parents, family, and friends have provided an abundance of love, for which I am eternally grateful. Too many people don’t have this, or enough of it, in their lives. I had a beautiful, loving childhood. Many of my friends I’ve known a decade or more, and even the more recent ones, are a constant source of love and support. So in that sense, I am rich!
To expand further on love, the attached photo – aptly, a rose – was photographed sometime in 2016 as I strolled through Central Park with an out-of-towner I’d met. On Fifth Avenue, and in the park as well, were Muslim people handing out these roses as symbols of love and peace. In today’s climate I find this memory and gesture incredibly moving and important to note. Love is everywhere, you just have to be open to it…