What I learned about myself through my crushes

What I learned about myself through my crushes

To all the people I’ve loved before.

I am not marupok by any means. At least, I don’t think I am. I’ve only had three major crushes in my entire 19 years of existence, and they’ve all resulted in some kind of emotional transformation in me. A lesson is always learned, a fact is always faced, and I always turn inwards: Why do I fall for certain people? What does that say about me?

So, here’s me trying to break down all these feelings and attempting to turn them into a character study. These things allow me to be stupid and act unpredictably, but when the smoke clears I find that I can think about what had happened with a better head. Most likely I’m just overanalyzing, but it’s a constant learning experience, so I won’t pretend that I’ve got it all sorted out. 

 

The first love

It was around the beginning of my senior year when I realized that I was starting to fall for a really good friend. This wasn’t like anything I’d ever felt before. My heart tightened whenever I saw her and I was hypersensitive to every little thing she said around me.

I was so overcome with whatever emotion was bubbling under the surface of my repressed self that I was compelled to actually confess. It was the first time I’ve ever been in love, so everything was too real and too intense. She asked me once why I liked her, and I said it was simply just because she was her. There was no rhyme or reason to why I had fallen, and I couldn’t understand it at all. Getting tiny crushes on random strangers or untouchable celebrities is sometimes comforting because you know it could never happen, but I couldn’t reconcile why someone I considered a very good friend wouldn’t like me back.

My first love made me realize that it’s not anyone’s fault if they don’t reciprocate your feelings; it’s not theirs and it’s definitely not yours. It’s also necessary to tame expectations. Just because she was single and my friend didn’t mean that I would automatically get the outcome I was searching for when I confessed to her. I still love her as a friend, but looking back I can genuinely say my emotions were real. 

 

The schoolgirl crush

My first college crush was on a guy I barely even knew. I ended up filling in the blanks of his personality with my own ideals. 

Coming from an all girls high school, I didn’t have a lot of outlets to release my inner juvenile-lovestruck-schoolgirl tendencies, which I actually denied to being prone to at first. But I was drawn to how boyish he was; my cheeks would heat up and I’d get butterflies in my stomach.

Yet, I did nothing to get closer to him. Despite all the kilig moments I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I am extremely loud but he made me so shy, so I took every chance to get out of a situation that involved him. Admiring from afar was better for me; he was easy to crush on, and he drew in a lot of other girls with his looks and his personality. 

He unearthed all the insecurities that I buried in me, and upon further reflection I noticed that I want what others can get, but don’t have the courage to chase after myself. I told everyone and anyone who could listen about my infatuation, the words slipping out during drunken sessions and vulnerable moments. It backfired on me, and I learned to not trust just anyone with my secrets. People started teasing me with him and that’s when the emotions died down, so maybe telling all those people ended up being a good thing. 

 

The difficult one

Fast-forward to the present, where I am very much entangled in another boy’s web. I am unsure if this one will have a happy ending, but after having my emotions worn out I seem to have finally found something a little bit more calm. After everything, I seem to be just going with the flow. 

It kinda scares me how much I care about him, with a strong sense of endearment and need to look after him. It’s difficult when you can’t stop your feelings, despite how messy the circumstances are or how awful the consequences could be. If I end up pursuing this (which I won’t) it’ll only end in disaster, with our friends choosing sides or me losing him completely. 

I also can’t avoid him, not only because of how physically close we are but because I can’t bring myself to keep away. He’s a good friend who’s easy to talk to, and we like to joke around a lot. It’s easy for me to initiate moments that make my heart beat really fast and my head spin, but it’s also so much easier to play these off as casual affection. Where do you draw the line between friendship and something more? I wouldn’t know, that’s for sure. 

I can’t tell you what I’ve learned yet, because as far as I’m concerned, I’m still on this boat. I pride myself in being mature in a lot of ways, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I am a child. I don’t know anything at all, and I am much more nuanced than I thought myself to be. 

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