isn’t it funny that, with a vocabulary so rich and descriptive as English, we only have one word for “love”? greek has four – agape, eros, storge and philia, which all differentiate romantic, family and platonic love. carrie bradshaw told me that eskimos have hundreds of words for snow (but three times as many of that for relationships, which we’ll save for another post). why have we been starved for just one? it makes distinguishing our true feelings a lot more complicated and difficult to convey. for example, I love the show how I met your mother, but I also love my dog, I love diving and I have loved ex-boyfriends. these are all different types of loves, but they use the same verb. I had to stifle my gratification for an ex-boyfriend by exclaiming “I love you” when he would bring me my duvet downstairs so we could share the warmth comfortably by the television in a ridiculously cold student house, in fear of him taking my appreciation the wrong way. of course I could have just said, “thank you for doing that for us”, but instead I panicked my overactive brain into exhausting the disastrous possibilities of the former option.
I am a bit of an I-love-you prude in terms of saying the phrase, and I have a tough exterior to break through to. but that doesn’t mean I haven’t loved, and in a way I think everyone I have been romantically involved with I have loved even for a fraction of a second. this doesn’t make me a love slut either, it just means I appreciated that person for everything they embodied in that moment, and that is a truly magical thing to experience.
of course then there are different degrees of love aswel. there’s romantic love, platonic love, mutual love, unconditional love, unrequited love … not to mention initial physical attraction, lust, infatuation. in addition, each love is different from the last, bringing something refreshing and exciting that you’re yet to experience – something to keep us on our toes – which is why we keep on loving. love is such an evolving emotion that it is inevitable it will change and continue to change with time. and through all the heartbreaks we suffer where we believe our worlds have undoubtedly ended, they are integral to us finding ourselves and discovering what we want – not just in our partners, but in our lives. failed relationships are important in shaping us as individuals. I have drifted from many friends, but living abroad has realized who my life friends are. my first love was brilliant and tumultuous, but it was adolescent in terms of maturity and experience and indeed age itself. although I no longer see the person the way I did back when, I still understand why I did feel that way and it was wonderful. he was important in allowing me to grow as a person. but it is completely different to the way I would view my last successful relationship, where if it wasn’t for distance and my undying aspiration to travel, I would perhaps still be committed to making us work. because we were awesome. and still unfinished business.