When I was a freshman in high school, I had a crush on a guy who didn’t like me back. I had classes with him, so I saw him every day. He reminded me of a prince. My journal entries were filled with pages about the way he looked you in the eye (as though that was not something everyone did) or how his jokes were so stupid that it was cute. There were also many pages where I recorded my despair because I already knew from the way he ignored my messages that the feelings were not mutual. It terrified me that I wanted to be close to him — that he had the power to make me happy or sad — but that I didn’t have the same power over him.
Loving someone who doesn’t love you back feels like a loss of control. You can’t help but think about him all of the time. You can’t help but be happy or sad depending on how he treats you. He has so much power over your every mood. You know that it’s dangerous to give someone so much power that they didn’t necessarily ask for, but it didn’t feel like a choice. I didn’t choose to find someone attractive or unattractive; it just happened.
Accompanying the happiness that comes with being infatuated with someone are feelings of jealousy, helplessness, and futility. How ugly. Suddenly “love” doesn’t sound so good — it sounds more like hatred and selfishness to me.
In one of the many pages of my journal that I wrote about him, I expressed this:
“I wish all of the writing in this book wouldn’t amount to nothing.”
If this sounds like something you can relate to, you’re not alone. What’s even better than not being alone, is that it doesn’t have to amount to nothing. It surely didn’t amount to nothing for me, even though he never liked me back.
When you feel like you love someone so much that you hate them, you can either choose to turn that energy into something positive or something negative. After feeling like a drained, miserable pile of human for days, I suddenly came across a day in which I felt inspired. Possibly, it was something I read online. I was reminded that the key to a good life is making others happy.
I started making origami roses — ones with wire stems and paper leaves. I made a lot of them. With the time I usually spent online, hoping the guy I liked would start a conversation with me, I folded petals and taped leaves on to floral wire. When I was upset and when I felt lonely, I got out my origami paper and began folding.
It was my coping mechanism. I felt angry, so I made something beautiful. I made a flower for the new friends I made that year. I made a flower for our overworked, yet absolutely incredible speech teacher. I even made a rose for the boy I liked. As I folded these flowers, I was filled with appreciation for the people who had brought happiness into my life. It took me about half an hour to make each rose, but it was exactly what I needed — a reminder that I was the luckiest person in the world for having such amazing friends and teachers.
A week later, I had folded enough flowers to be satisfied. I arrived to school with a bag full of origami roses. Every time I gave a rose to someone, they lit up with joy, whether it be from the surprise of never having seen roses made of origami or the amazement that someone had thought of them.
That day became one of the best days of my life. It was a triumph. I was able to take all of these negative feelings and turn them into art. I felt powerful again. I could control whether I brought people joy or whether my hatred would be contagious.
When I was finished with roses, I made yellow paper stars with eyes that looked like they were from Mario. Then, I made friendship bracelets. They were my stress relief during finals. They brought me closer to people. They made me happy.
When you feel your heart breaking, never forget what it feels like to give love. Don’t feel like you have to ever stop loving someone just because they don’t love you in the same way. Be proud of your capacity to love people. Love yourself, too.
In the end, love is just an appreciation for the happiness someone has brought into your life. That is not inherently dangerous unless you make it all about you; all about how he won’t talk to you, or how he doesn’t care about you, or how you deserve something from him. How exhausting. When did something so happy and pure turn into something so selfish? Love the people you love, and love yourself too. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth a shot.
The world is so full of hatred and unhappiness. It could use more love.
“In the end, the love we take’s got nothin’ on the love we make — so give love!” -Andy Grammer