To understand love is to look blankly into a pitch black tunnel and convince me you know the way through it. I can't say I understand very much about what love is, and by that I mean I legitimately have no idea. In the most heartfelt, soul baring explanation of this for a large portion of my existence I didn't know love was a thing that exists that people feel and experience.
I grew up believing that a single parent household, and seeing your dad once or a few time every couple of years was a normal occurrence. There was nothing in my life to tell me otherwise. After eighteen years of life I can legitimately say I've never witnessed a successful marriage.
At this point in my life love seems like somewhat of a ghost to me. I hear about other people's experiences, and have a vague belief in it's existence but I can't say that I've encountered it myself.
Because of this, I looked to so many other places to reaffirm this jaded belief that somewhere out there this mythical story about happy marriages exist, and I found some.
I found people all over the world: online on TV and every corner of the globe that could attest to these fairytales of a happy ever after being completely true, but they didn't hit home. If anything they fuelled the belief that it was this ghost-encounter like experience, that only a few lucky people witness. I've been trying to convince myself all my life that love and marriage is something I so desperately want, which I still believe it is, but right now it's something I simply need to understand. I've got nothing.
I've found people online who became my definition of love. What else did I have? It's a situation of who do you look to when you've got no-one to look to.
If CNN reports to a group of people living in a secluded part of the world that aliens exist, there is a good chance they will believe it. With no-one else to look too for news, they're going to trust aliens are a thing. I believed that the short videos you can see of someone else's existence on the internet can tell the full story, and it doesn't. I more than anyone know that we don't know the people we look up to, especially if they're famous but again fell victim to the belief that I did and finally thought I'd understood love...based on what I'd seen online.
That, like most other sources of information on the internet, failed my expectation leaving me again in a place where I don't know what love is.
I have friends who's parents have stayed married, I've had friends who watch their parents' loveless marriage exists, friends who've heard their parents having sex at night, friends who've lost their fathers twice, and friends much like myself, who've had their fathers leave with not much knowledge of the relationship our mother may or may not have had with the man. My father, whom I love dearly and do have a relationship left when I was six months old. I've only ever known the life of flying between parent's houses for extended amounts of time and maintaing the bond by haphazard, every few months, phone calls. Most of my closest female friends have had similar experiences. A friend of mine who I've known for in excess of ten years now and I were joking the other day that after ten plus years of friendship we've never even seen each other's fathers in person.
That short snippet aside though, a definition of love comes largely from a witness of it. For so many years of my life, I genuinely believed happily ever afters were only for the fairytales, and even reflecting on this now I can't 100% say that it isn't, because I'm still yet to find testament to this real life love that's apparently so reachable. I do not believe people should stick around after the love has died, or hell even pretend the love was ever there when it never was. I don't believe my parents, or any of my friend's parents or any of the celebrity couples I found so much solace in made the wrong decisions separating. In the long run, it was probably what was best.
For now, I'll stop looking. I'll stop trying to understand something that so many people can't seem to either. I don't know if I'll ever be able to recognize it if it comes my way, or trust that it's not a fleeting emotion that yanks itself out of your grips in the middle of the night. I don't know if I may ever even give it the chance to get that close, but for now...the search is going to remain on halt.
Maybe it's just going to be a thing I'll be the first to experience and share a story about. Maybe a definition doesn't exist, and looking for it in witness is idiotic. It's a search with no foreseeable answer or end, but rather an endless journey that I'm going to have to find my footing in alone.