To My Friends Who Are Still Trapped In Toxic Relationships

My Symphony: Skeletons / Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Love is not a prison. Maybe at this point in your life it sometimes feels like it is, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not a prison. It shouldn’t look like one, it shouldn’t sound like one, and it certainly shouldn’t operate like one. You should be able to hang out with your friends, with your family, with your co-workers, even with the sidewalk fishball vendor you’ve gotten to know well over conversations about politics and religion on the corner of your street as you wait for the bus every morning. You need to understand that you are not behind bars. You can go outside and live. You are allowed to watch the sunset from breathtaking horizons with your loved ones. Your hands are not tied, your feet are not chained, your life is not limited by four rusty corners. You can breathe, and whenever you do, you should be able to breathe deeply and freely.

Love is not a game. You shouldn’t be tossing and turning at night debating with yourself about where you stand in someone’s life. You shouldn’t be losing sleep wondering if you are worth loving, because you are. And that person making you question that is nothing short of garbage, and you need to throw him or her out of your life as forcefully as you can. All of the mind games just need to stop. You are not a toy and your soul is not a punching bag. You should be looking at someone in the eyes and not feel like you’re staring at a stranger. You should be able to look inside them and feel like you’re home. You should be able to hold them without fearing that they’re going to let go first, because they won’t… because they never did… because they never will.

Love is not a test. You do not have to pass anything. This isn’t an examination where you have to burn the midnight oil to make sure you don’t fail. There is nothing to fail at, only bits of lessons you can learn, only glimpses of perfection you can sometimes miss. You shouldn’t ever feel like you have to prove something, or that you have to improve something – about yourself, about your life, about the world that you live in. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re walking around eggshells in fear of “fucking things up”, because “fucking things up” should be a thing so un-thought of that you have started to forget what it even means to fuck things up. And in the slim instance that you do fuck things up, you should be so engulfed in the realness and the greatness of what you have with that person that you are confident enough that love itself can straighten out what is crooked; that even though you know a genuine apology cannot fix everything, it is a magnificent start.

Love is not a contest. You are not trying to be better than anyone; You are not racing to the finish against anyone. It is not a competition, nor is it a race. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you should see how beautiful you are, even when you never explicitly acknowledge that. You shouldn’t feel less than what and who you are because of the relationship that you are in. You should never, ever, be compared to anyone in his or her past or present life. You shouldn’t feel insecure about how you look, or ever doubt that you are worth it, or ever fear being incomplete without your partner’s validation, because you know you were whole long before you even met this garbage person.

You should be looked at like a Vincent van Gogh art piece, listened to like a Beethoven symphony, embraced like the warm waves in the Pacific Ocean, and kissed like the first drop of rain after a long, dry summer.

If there was anything I wish could be learned the easy way, it’s that you are amazing, just the way you are. We all have doubts about ourselves, we all have insecurities about ourselves, and we all have imperfections we wish we didn’t have. We’re just humans. But when the time comes that you do share your life with someone, it has to be with a person who builds you up, who makes you feel better not just about yourself but about life in general. It should be with someone who brings the sunshine in any rainy day.

So get up. Get out. And start living the life you deserve, with the people who deserve you.

Truthfully,

Kenn Edward Tenorio ❤

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I Have All The Chill In The World (Until I Actually Like Someone)

My Symphony: Follow Me / Hardwell feat. Jason Derulo

Kenntativity

Today I just had one of the most major realizations in my life — I realized that I have all the chill in the world… until I actually, seriously, legitimately like someone. 

If we were just hanging out or, say, casually dating, I wouldn’t mind being my chill self at all times. You could text me those super cheesy Snapchat stickers and I would respond three or four hours later with a “haha” or a simple “omg you’re so cute”. 

Because I’m chill like that. 

You could choose to talk to me whenever, wherever you please, at your own convenience, and I wouldn’t feel stupid or taken for granted. We’d spend one night together having sex, making out, watching your favorite TV shows and hanging out with your pet cat, and then not see each other for another week or so, and it would be totally fine with me.

Because I’m chill like that. 

I would talk to five other guys on Skype and Messenger while you and I throw sweet nothings to each other. I wouldn’t mind you being with your girl friends, your guy friends, your gay friends, your lesbian friends, or your family for the better part of the entire month. I wouldn’t even complain if we made a weekend plan together and have you text me 12 minutes before we were supposed to meet up that you “couldn’t make it because of a social emergency” a.k.a. you having been invited to a high school house party last minute. I would read your brief sorry text and shrug it off, as I sip on my third glass of red wine at home, consequently opening Grindr or Tinder or maybe even Craigslist.

Because I’m chill like that. 

As a modern day nonconformist, I would be even more chill in the sense that I would never ever doubt you, or feel any sort of jealousy with the people you spend time with while we’re still just dating. I would never, ever, be the first one to ask you to spend some time with me. I would totally be cool with a couple of casual kisses and a couple of casual fucks here and there every other month.

Because I’m chill like that. 

But here’s the thing: I like you. A lot. And when I like someone, I don’t hold back. I immediately lose all my chill, and I like and love with all that I have.

Do you even have any idea how much energy it takes for me to hold back? To tread lightly? To “take it easy”? I am a lot of things, but stingy isn’t one of them, especially when it comes to life experiences that I very well treasure and hold close to my heart. Experiences like you, and your smiles, and all that you are.

I am one of the chill-est people you’ll ever meet, but expect the exact opposite once I have fallen in love with you. Because, babe, I love out loud. And I am not going to sit back, feel sorry for myself and apologize to anyone for being this way. Because honestly, if you ever get overwhelmed with the way that I love and eventually decide to walk away, I would rather be walked away from because of loving too much and showing too much, rather than loving too much but showing too little. I am not chill like that, no. Not when it comes to you.

So, yes. I want all of you with all of me. I want you in my Saturday nights, but especially in my Sunday afternoons. I want your name popping up on my notifications every now and then, and I want to hear your voice as often as possible. And no, I am not saying you have to be by my side every second of every fucking day; All I want is for you to at least want to be by my side every second of every fucking day. Because I want the same thing, and I need the same thing. When you can’t see me for the night or have to cancel a plan we made due to the other elements in your life propelling into action, I just need you to respect and love me enough to at least let me know, and make me feel like you feel badly about it, even if you don’t. I want your cool kisses in the morning and your warm embrace at night, and when I go hop in the shower I want to hear your voice saying “Wait for me”.

Because I am not chill. Not with you, no.

With you, I am honestly a raging, skyrocketing, samba-dancing strip of lava just ready to take over everything. I am not chill with you, and I don’t want to be. People always talk about settling down in relationships. Well, I don’t want to settle down with you; I want to freaking conquer the world with you and live out loud with you. I don’t want you to be my resting place; I want you to be the spring that catapults me up to fly into the vast skies above. I don’t want us to chill. I don’t even want us to “hang out”. We are better than that, and you know we are realer than that. Screw hanging out. Let’s motherfucking DATE. Screw chilling, let’s motherfucking have a DINNER. And screw “see you tomorrow”, let’s motherfucking “see you now”.

I am not a fan of holding back, and it sucks that I am feeling worried about the possibility of you being scared away by the reality of my heart’s functions. This is me, and this is it. I love you, and I wouldn’t be so non-chill if I didn’t. And, I guess, I just feel like life is too short to hold back when it comes to the matters of the heart. I’ll save the chilling and the holding back for the shallow, boring, non-engaging people I meet along the way, but definitely not with you. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I’m not going to just settle for a once-a-week kind of romance with you. You deserve more (way more) than that.

P.S. Yes, it’s safe to say that it’s not you, it’s me. 

5 Reasons Why I Do Not Believe In #RelationshipGoals

My Symphony: Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix) / Small Black 

taylor swift harris

It’s 2016. Now more than ever, our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds are filled with lots and lots of memes ranging from a trivial Leonardo DiCaprio non-Oscar win to the weekly “It’s Monday” comics featuring faces of grumpy cats and less-than-excited beavers who allegedly dread coming back to school/work after a weekend of drunk dancing at the club.

Another thing that has made its way to the social media stardom recently is the hashtag “relationshipgoals” or, as people are typically visually familiar with, #relationshipgoals . And while having goals in life is undeniably essential and even attractive to a degree, relationship goals are a completely different story. In fact, these relationship goals of yours may be the very reason you are still internally unhappy (regardless of your relationship status). I personally think that relationship goals are exponentially nonsensical and downright useless. Here’s why:

Reason #1: A relationship is an experience to partake, not a job to get hired for. 

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way: at the end of the day, a relationship isn’t exactly something that makes for a palpable goal. It’s not like a job interview that you can train for, prepare for and eventually ace. Relationships are foremost experiences, and they are on-going. You don’t just dream of a holiday in Maldives with your Special Someone and call that your goal. Because that would just be totally short-lived and sad.

What about after your Maldives vacation? What happens next? Does your goal end there? Will you then be super contented with your white sand beach getaway and go, “Wow, my hashtag goals just happened. I knew Dylan’s the right one for me, I just knew it!”?

Being with someone is more than just the vacations you take. There is a fine line between having an actual relationship and having a mere summer fling. So if you feel that crippling sensation of discontentment in your body each time you scroll down Instagram and see the strangers you follow post their 29th photo in Bora Bora, then you should probably reassess the label you and your partner wear around your necks.

relationshipgoals dreams

Reason #2: Your #RelationshipGoals are giving you anxiety, and you don’t even know it. 

Maybe you are already committed to someone at the moment, or maybe you have been single af your whole life. Either way, each time you share that photo of “The Cutest Couple To Ever Walk On Earth”, you are unconsciously allowing yourself to succumb into a severe case of insecurity-induced anxiety.

I’m not here to throw shade at you for admiring other couples out there, but I am here to remind you of your worth. So listen, here’s the thing: so what if you and your lover are not master chefs who go to the gym eight days a week and eat salad instead of popcorn when binge watching Netflix? So what if the man you love doesn’t have six-pack abs or if the lady you are with doesn’t skip bonding with her friends to play DOTA 2 with you? You need to remember that everyone’s different, and there should not be one exclusive model of what a relationship should look like.

It shouldn’t look like anything! Hell, it can even be faceless. Learn to focus more on what it feels like for you, rather than what it should look like for you…

Reason #3: Such goals take you away from the present moment and put you in a pretend place. 

You are with who you are with right now for a reason. You fell in love with that person because that one fateful night (or day), you looked into his eyes and felt like you could get lost in them. You were there, in the present moment, as he held your hand in the cab on your way to grab dessert at your favorite local bakery. You felt every centimeter of his lips as you kissed him goodnight. And then you both broke away from the kiss, stared into each other’s souls, and smiled. And it was magical. You wanna know why it was magical?

Because it was real. And you were both there, right as everything was unfolding. You were the players in your own love story, not mere spectators or some highly-sarcastic romance novel critics.

I don’t know if you’ve already noticed, but relationships are only made possible when two people are present. The minute either one of you goes off into some daydream that highlights a perfect world for yet another perfect love, that’s when your relationship gets taken for granted. You are not obliged to be like other couples. You are not supposed to be where they’ve been, to see what they’ve seen or to hear what they’ve heard. None of us is sitting in our sturdy futons rooting for you and your hubby to look just like Brangelina.

You are who you are. Your relationship is what it is. And you should be very proud of that, because you are writing your own story.

Come back into your own reality ASAP. You belong nowhere else but there. For you and for your lover, it is the only place where magic can happen.

couple travel

Reason #4: RelationshipGoals photos/videos/articles are aggressively deceiving. 

Nothing screams “LIES!” louder than #RelationshipGoals posts all over social media. I’m not saying that these posts aren’t real or didn’t actually happen in real life. What I’m saying here is that these posts do not determine how real or successful anyone’s relationship is.

We have to remember that these posts feature the highlights of other people’s lives. What’s sad is that there are lots of people who see these highlights and compare them to their regular day-to-day living. When you do this, you are basically comparing someone else’s annual 2-week vacation to your normal Monday morning at the office. Of course you’re gonna be jealous and of course you’re gonna wanna do what they are doing in those photos and videos! Because I mean, who loves Mondays, really? Nobody. 

You have to remind yourself that you, too, have your own highlight reel. You do have your weekends and you do have your annual 2-week paid leave. You will have weddings to attend, high school reunions to be a part of and concerts to watch, eventually. Needless to say, NOBODY (and I mean nobody) sips on Grey Goose cocktails in a private jet plane on the way to Cancun every single fucking day of his or her life.

Ponder that.

  1. The cocktails are eventually gonna run out.
  2. The person is probably gonna get shit-faced hammered by the end of the day if he doesn’t stop drinking the beverage.
  3. The trip is obviously gonna end as the jet plane reaches the destination (Cancun or whatever).
  4. And, most obviously, nobody in the history of mankind has ever reached Cancun via a private jet plane, and took the flight back to his origin right after, just so he could keep on posting photos and Snaps of him in the plane.

Bottomline: It doesn’t matter how awesome and rich someone is. NOBODY LIVES THE ENTIRETY OF LIFE VIA A HIGHLIGHT REEL.

Even the sun goes down when it’s time for it to go down (i.e., 5:30PM Philippine Time).

The relationship goals posts you see aren’t to be compared to your life. These are people either on vacation or a boredom-induced photoshoot with the help of VSCO filters. It ain’t got nothing to do with you or your love life.

Reason #5: By obsessing over your #RelationshipGoals, you are sabotaging your future with your partner 

It is already bad enough that we live in a society that enjoys constantly dictating how we should act, where we should live, and even what we should wear; now we’re voluntarily dictating our relationships how they should be?! It is pure madness.

I am not a relationship expert, nor am I a life specialist, but I do know this: when you truly love someone, you aren’t gonna need a guideline or an instruction book on how to do your relationship. When it’s real, things should just flow, naturally. Un-premeditated. Un-rehearsed. Unexpected. One of the things I dislike the most about these hashtag relationshipgoals is that they take away from young couples nowadays the spontaneity and the surprise factor that come with every relationship, with every human to human connection. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be in a relationship where I have no fucking clue how it’s gonna end up ten years later, or even how it’s gonna end up five minutes later. I think that it is important to experience the rawness of a genuine relationship. The candidness of every kiss. Those moments when you wake up right next to the person and see his face light up as he sees your face light up. Those moments when you see someone for what he truly is, without any filter, without any inhibitions. Just you and the person, in this crazy mad world that we all live in.

Love is Not a Thinking Thing; Love is a Feeling Thing – and This is What it Felt Like

My Symphonies:

  • It’s Only / ODESZA (feat. Zyra)
  • Veins / Palace
  • Drifting / ON AN ON

bohemianbash04

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” –  Thích Nhất Hạnh

I need to say this to you now, before the storm becomes so brutal that it breaks everything apart. I need to say this to you now, before we both turn into the exact people we once swore we would never be, before we spit at each other’s red face with potent fists all embraced with pulsating nerves, before you call me a demon and before I call you the devil, before the bags are packed and before the doors are slammed shut, before our smiles turn to straight lips and before our glowing eyes become darker than our own shadows. I need to say this to you now, before we hate each other so much to the point of violence, to the point of indifference, to the point of eternal condemnation. And I need to say this to you now, before the day comes that we no longer even have anything to say to each other.

You always told me that in life, it is better to expect the worst from people, to carefully take into consideration the most tragic possibility before enjoying yourself the benefits of the good times. You were admittedly the pessimistic one, and you never hid that from me or from anyone. And I secretly liked it. I secretly liked the contrast we’ve both created the second our paths crossed. I am air and you are water, and would the ocean even be that beautiful if either one was absent?

I was never rational, though, to the point of madness. If there’s someone who can be a perfect epitome of the saying “love is for the fools”, that would be me. Without a doubt or any hint of hesitation. I’d gladly walk right up the stage and get my trophy as this generation’s number one fool. You see, love is different from relationship. You can love someone without being in a relationship with that person, but you cannot have a meaningful relationship without at least a dose of love; otherwise, it would just be like a casual business agreement.

As much as I hate saying this, I don’t think I am the relationship type of guy. But I do believe (very strongly) that I am the love type of guy. I mean, how could I not be?

How could I not be when I have loved every second of our first kiss? How could I not be when my heart always exploded with misery each time we had a fight, or when you were far away? How could I not be when I have explored every inch of you that there was to explore, even the darkest shades of gray and the maroonest shades of yellow? How could I not be when every time I thought of something to do or some place to go, you were always the first person, the first name, the first face that came to my mind, even when my mind was always a crib of a rainbow chaos? How could I not be when each time I held your hand I would see the universe as a perfect place again? And how could I not be, when all of the romantic comedies I saw in the past all of a sudden became pointless when I met you?

Because it was real, you know. It was never a rom-com. It was never some kind of a perfect story with a promising ending, but it was definitely a story nonetheless. A story, where neither you nor I plays the part of the protagonist. We were, if anything, the cover of the book. I, the front page with the title – flashy, bold, loud, eye-catching, but incomplete. You, the back page with the price tag, synopsis and all the reviews – detailed, keen, mysterious, informational, but written in very small font sizes, barely even readable. We both make up this exhilirating story of two individuals, but the story isn’t about us – it’s about someone else, some other couple who existed at an unidentifiable period of time in the history of human existence.

Because a day will come, my love, when I won’t even recognize you and you won’t even recognize me. We will become so different from who we are now that we will solidly question each other’s existence. A day will come when this little fort we built together crumbles down, leaving no signs of human touch. A day will come when those road trips, those summer vacations, those dinners, those lunches, those nights out, those parties, those friends and those songs that we had when we were still the you and I we met, just disappear into thin air, making the ultra convincing illusion that we were only nothing but mannequins – well-dressed, but lifeless. 

I had a dream, once, where I was being forcefully pulled away from you and I was holding on for dear life. There was just this sort of faceless void that was sucking me in and away from you. I was bawling my eyes out, legitimately fearing the possibility of having to face the world without you by my side. It’s crazy how real dreams can get, right? You’re a semi-expert in dream interpretations, so I know you know what I mean. And that dream, it happened so fast, so abruptly. I didn’t even have the chance to talk to you in that dream, and say the things that I wanted to say to you, in case the void was gonna be successful in pulling me away from you. The surprising part? That dream didn’t have an ending.  I didn’t get to stay asleep and dreaming long enough to find out if I was indeed pulled away from you. I didn’t get to see if you even did anything to stop the void from pulling me away, or if you were just sort of standing there, looking at me sweat and scream, just trying to keep close to you.

And that’s what gets me about dreams – you never really find out, most of the time. It’s like this very climactic scene is presented to you in incredible detail, but you never get to know how it ends, or even how the next scene looks like. But I have a theory here. What if our dreams are trying to tell us something? No, I don’t mean each of our dreams specifically, but the way all of our dreams generally come to us. Dreams come to us when we least expect them to, and then they end all of a sudden, without giving us a proper conclusion. But what if that’s the point? What if there doesn’t have to be any conclusion? What if, afterall, in that dream of mine, the ending is exactly just that – an image of me holding on to the edges of your shirt, while the faceless void was brutally sucking me in and you were sanding there, almost expressionless? What if the ending of our story is the climax itself?

I never believed in endings, though. That’s why no matter how much of an artist I am, I am always just semi-impressed with most of the films I watch and most of the books I read. I mean, there is probably only one fiction film that has ever been created (and that I’ve seen) that has convinced and impressed me with its incredible amount of realism. If you’ve seen the film called “Like Crazy” (starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones), then you probably know what I am talking about. It’s a great film, for me at least. It’s this story about an international student in the United States who fell in love with this American guy just several weeks before her student visa expires. And then there’s this video montage of the couple having so much fun and being so in love with each other, and it was also a very realistically cheesy montage – with shots of go-kart rides, walking along the city streets hand in hand, strolling at the beach, looking into each other’s eyes with a blush and an un-hideable smile on their faces (because, I mean, couples do this shit in real life, especially during the honeymoon stage). And then shit happens right when it’s time for it to happen, and complications with the immigration prevent the two from being together, so they have to be in a long-distance relationship. So let’s skip all the drama, the crying, the challenges and the brief appearance of Jennifer Lawrence in the movie and get to the part where they actually were able to find a solution to their immigration problem (yep, it involves a wedding). So, this brings us to the last three minutes of the movie, where Felicity Jones’ character finally gets to take a shower with Anton Yelchin and they finally get to be together. In the shower, the couple are neither sad nor happy, they are just there, alive. And then they both have flashbacks of all the times and moments they’ve shared together, right from the day they met until they got married. They both smile, and then they frown, and then they semi-smile, and then they semi-frown. And then THE END. Roll credits!

Yep. That’s how WTF-ish the ending of this movie is. But in real life, endings are always WTF-ish, and the reason for this WTF-ishery is that real endings are not glossy or pretty or even anything close to smashing doors, or parting clouds, or setting suns, or aerial shots of the city with the protagonist walking his “ending walk” towards god-knows-where. Endings are abrupt, and they are often cryptic because they happen without you even knowing it. Hell, endings can even happen right when you think you are on cloud nine. Because the reality is, endings aren’t defined as the last part of the story – in real life, endings can be just as calm, boring, so-so and noneventful as the day-to-day life of a fucking house cat.

My love, just like everyone else on this planet, I do not know what the future looks like. But I am doing this now – taking my time to appreciate you in my own literary world, and think of you – because you taught me to expect the worst. And if what you’ve been telling me all this time is true – if you and I really aren’t meant for each other – then know this:

I have loved you, and it has felt amazing.

The Magician

My Symphony: Turning Page by Sleeping At Last

In a world that’s full of strangers, I think that it is way more than just luck to find that one person you effortlessly connect with. It’s magic. It’s magic because no amount of studying, research and overthinking can lead one to rationally explain why two people, who used to be individuals living in two separate worlds, at one point take down their walls and fall in love.

It’s magic because even though Science can intellectualize the how’s of every teardrop, every skipping of the heart and every movement of the lips, it can never completely justify why my eyes automatically close each time you hold my hand, or why I still get nervously giddy when you walk out of the shower wet and halfnaked, or why, even after a million times, I still stutter each time you look at me with your precious eyes and ask me how my day went.

Because that’s the thing about love – it isn’t meant to be intelligent, or rational. Love, in its purest form, is craziness. It is an indescribable mishmash of random laughter, happiness, misery and pain. It is this one rollercoaster ride that takes someone to scary but worthwhile lengths and heights. The Bible says that it is not selfish, but love (if you come to really think about it) is probably the most selfish thing in this world. It gives and it takes, but never in the same amount. It makes people happy, but it also makes them sad, angry, depressed and even suicidal. It causes one to be generous, but it also causes one to expect more, to ask for more, to inevitably feel that he deserves this and that because he is willing to give this and that. It is perhaps everyone’s bittersweet cup of tea because as much as it fills you up, you know that being in love puts you in a sort of a vulnerable state. To a certain extent, it makes you weak while it gives you strength. It tears you up while it builds you up. It makes you whole as it cuts you to pieces.

And that’s magic. 

Because just like a trick that initially looks odd and convoluted, love is actually pretty simple. You just have to close your eyes, and open your heart. And no matter how risky and scary it can be, deep inside of you, you know that it will always (always) be worth it.

This is a Love Rant

My Symphony: Walk In the Park by Beach House

__I_need_you_to_need_me____by_keepbreathingbaby

Taken from my personal journal, dated Sept. 4th, 2012

I’ve always believed that I am someone who is capable of love, and I probably always will. Even as a child, my mother told me I already had so much affection and sincerity in my eyes. But I think that after the things I’ve been through as a teenager, my view on love has changed as much as have changed. You know, I used to think love was easy, that it entailed all of the bright, marvelous things and everything else which is peachy (e.g. bunnies, butterflies, flowers, chocolates, heart figures and jellybeans… or whatever). But apparently, just when I thought I had love figured out, reality bitch slaps me across the face and leaves me wondering if I’ve ever really come to know, understand and feel love on the first place.

I’m not going to deny it – I am a sucker for love. Since I was fourteen, I had always been in relationships. Non-stop. As soon as one ended, I immediately got involved in another one, and it was all a never-ending cycle of what I believed were lasting relationships.

It doesn’t mean that it has been easy. It wasn’t easy. A lot of things about my past relationships were hard (or maybe difficult is the right word to use… or maybe at this point it doesn’t really matter). So yeah. Things were hard. It was hard that they all started and ended, it was hard that I had to move on literally thirteen times, and it was hard having to bear with the momentary feeling of being unworthy of a real relationship. But the hardest part, I think, was the series of nights and days when I was just spacing out, wondering if I would ever feel that feeling again — that feeling of being looked after, of being valued, of being thought about; the feeling that someone actually genuinely wants to get to know you, to be there for you no matter what.

Over the past six years of my life, I had my own share of grief, joy, laughter, sorrow, pain, pleasure and wonder all because of love. Love, love, love.

It hasn’t left my mind at all. The idea of it, the concept of it. It hasn’t left my mind since I kissed my first love in that old hotel room one fateful night in November of 2007. I still remember every detail – how dark the room was, how soft and tender his lips were, how fast my heart was racing, how the bed itself was so messy, how new and unfamiliar the moment was and how all of it, at the moment, screamed “forever!”

I have loved and lost so many times in my life. And quite frankly, I am surprised that I am still able to feel love now. I have grown amazed at how the human heart operates. I’ve put my heart through a hard labor, and yes it is already beaten up, worn out and exhausted, but I find, in all of my heart’s exhaustion, that no matter how hard I try to put up walls and pretend that I am a selfish, cold, bitter, self-indulgent cunt, at the end of the day, I know who I really am – I know that I will not survive alone.

So yeah, I have already established that love, indeed, may just be the central theme of my life. I have established that it can be weird, crazy and sometimes ridiculously hard to fathom. But now I ask myself: what is love?

Right now I’m wishing that time was infinite so I could write on and on in an attempt to discover and rediscover the bittersweet realities and surrealities that love brings to my mind. I know that I can never put a final period on a writing about such an abstract and incredibly peculiar concept.

Four months ago, I had my first encounter with a human being at a soul level. This is probably the deepest and truest connection I have ever been able to generate with another person. And I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t plan this. And I sure as hell didn’t want this. This is the first “relationship” I’ve been in where I legitimately do not know what the fuck I’m doing or what on earth is actually going on. Every time he and I talk, and laugh, and exchange moments of absolute trust, friendship and connection, every time I look into his eyes, I just instantly forget about everything I knew about love. I forget that I was ever in love before. Because every time we are together I feel like an infant, a newborn, a kid… just learning his first steps and his ABC’s.

I cannot ever fully understand whatever it is that I am going through right now. All I know is that for the first time in my life, I feel completely vulnerable. And I just simply do not know where to go from that. I just don’t know. At all. No idea.

Blank. Void. Hollow.

My Happily Ever After

My Symphony: Gotten by Adam Levine Feat. Slash

“Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
Andy Warhol

You know how when people say that there will always be that one person you can never forget no matter what? I think that’s pretty valid. No matter who we are, what we do and where we’ve been in life so far, there will always be that ordinary person who will always have an extraordinary place in our hearts. Sometimes we are afraid of confronting the depths of our beings, our very souls, and sometimes we just don’t want to admit it to the world, but it is true. It is true that somewhere out there live the people who once entered our hearts and never left.

I have loved. At the age of 18, I have been through 13 relationships (mostly not-so-decent-ones at that) already. Just like normal teenagers, I have my own share of first kisses, first dates, first LQ’s (love quarrels), first movie marathons and first sleepovers with the people I’ve been in a relationship with. Inevitably, I also have my own share of the lasts, of the moments that defy the end of each of those relationships. I’ve experienced last text messages, last phone calls, last kisses, last dates, last LQ’s, last movie marathons, last sleepovers and last everything because of the painful (and sometimes torturous) break-ups. Generally speaking, I have had my own share of happiness, sadness, loneliness and misery all because of love. Still, I keep on going.

A good friend of mine told me just last week, “Kenn, don’t you think your heart is overused?” Overused. Out of more than 220,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary, he chose that word. Nevertheless, I agree with him. I think that I have put my heart on constant work for such a long period of time that it has finally seemed to have lost its flair in its own duty. But despite the reality that I’ve selfishly deemed my heart to suffer a “death defying” hard labor, the fact remains that it is still functioning. All the gutsy creatures in this world always say that “If you snooze, you lose”, and I couldn’t argue that. My heart may be all beat up and tired, but is that any reason for me to just stop loving?

Since I was four, my eyes were already opened to the crazy world of relationships. It started at that age when I could already (though very slightly) understand it when my parents argued over something or when my 16 year-old cousin and his girlfriend yelled at each other for some reason I was still too young, or too innocent, to completely digest and incorporate into something logical. But even during those “innocent” days of my life, I already learned something bold, unusual and way more mature than many adults and adolescents would ever know. Even when I was just four and playing with Lego pieces, at the back of my mind, I already knew that relationships are messy, that they are a lot of work, and that in the end they just leave people depressed and miserable. It was already official. When I was four, I already understood that commitment is the root of all heartache. Yet even with that knowledge, I still got myself involved in those 13 relationships. I was too young to rationalize everything I experienced and too eager to just let all those moments pass. I fell in love a lot of times, and I let myself own and be owned. And it’s all because of this one thing that sets the youth apart from the rest of earth’s inhabitants: curiosity.

However, after taking life experiences in large doses when you’re living barely the last two years of your -teen age years, you find that a  vast portion of your curiosity has already been filled with blocks of satisfaction. And perhaps almost all of the questions you’ve had as a teenager have already been answered by those experiences. Relationship by relationship, day by day, little by little, you feed your mind not just with additional knowledge of what you already knew when you were younger, but also with wisdom that enables you to see life and everything else around you in a new perspective. You learn more about yourself, about the people in your life and about the world until such time that you begin to feel like you’ve learned enough to let go of the complications and get back to the simple conclusions you’ve come up with when you were a kid. I don’t know what your conclusions are, but I remain faithful to that conclusion I arrived at when I was four.

Do you really believe in commitment? I used to.

A well-known author, Paulo Coelho, once wrote: Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them. No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it. 

If you have read his book entitled Eleven Minutes, you’ve probably also been moved by his words and how he used them in a way that you, as a reader, would just be left so amazed and fascinated that you just find yourself questioning what you believe and what you used to believe. In my case, I have finally given up my journey towards the so-called “perfect relationship”. It is pointless, if not dumb. In fact, I give up my belief in human relationships as a whole. I choose to step out of the notion that two people can be committed to each other, face the world and live happily ever after. There’s no such thing. We live in a real world where there are sluts, thieves, homewreckers, delusional jerks and envious pseudo-friends. We’re not dwelling in a place of pink clouds and sweet-scented bunnies but in a jungle where only the free and the independent can ever survive. And that’s exactly where this all boils down to: the true nature of freedom and its vital role in love.

To put it in concept, I personally believe that one doesn’t have to possess someone in order to experience love. This is where my stable belief that loving isn’t owning comes in. I never really understood why people want to be in a relationship with someone they can call their boyfriend or girlfriend so much. I mean, is that really necessary? Is it really necessary to trap yourself in a protective bubble only for you to find out months or even just weeks later that you yourself have selfishly chosen to jolt out of it? Is it really necessary to walk around holding hands, planning the unpredictable future with someone you dream to have kids and build a house with? Is it really necessary to be labelled as a couple and try so hard to make it seem to the rest of your friends and family that you two have gotten it all figured out? Is it? Will you say it’s still necessary after you find out in the final stretch of your relationship with that “The One” that it was all nothing but a make-believe and a failed promise? Based on personal experience, I have learned that relationships are all the same. They all start as a cup full of hope and promises, and they end up as a bunch of broken vows. In other words, it’s all a myth– something we deliberately construct in our minds because it seems better and it seems more exciting. But it’s not. It’s not even cool, to begin with.

Most committed teenagers who, even with the slimmest chance, are reading this right now may say that I am just being bitter because of my ugly experiences with relationship. Maybe you’ll say I have issues, or that I am a troubled young adolescent. Well I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work that way. I am not bitter; I am just lucky enough to have the capacity to still face reality without being miserable. 

To love is not to do all those cheesy, over-the-top things with the one you love. It’s not to see movies together, talk romantically over coffee together, take a breathtaking ride on a rollercoaster together, sleep together, wake up together, live together or die together. If you really come to think of it, true love is actually associated with the person’s absence rather than his presence. The kind of love which is used to all the cheesy stuff mentioned above may be love, but it’s not the kind which is the deepest. As far as I know, the deepest, truest and most exciting love is the love that endures not just the lack of physical presence, but also the long and treacherous years of knowing that it will never be. Pretty ironic, ei? Well that’s what love is. It is ironic. And I am 90 percent sure that my readers won’t really get what I mean here immediately.  So let me just put it this way:

I think that love dies the moment you try to possess somebody. For me, it doesn’t make any sense to be in a relationship with anyone. It’s like trapping a beautiful bird in a cage. I hope the following story will help you understand:

Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers. 

One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two traveled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird. But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!

And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.

And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”

However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.

The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.

“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.”

And so, there will always be this person whom I will love for an eternity. We have never been together, and I hope we will never be officially a couple. I can just love from afar, and that’s honestly more than enough for me. Loving without owning. That is my happily ever after. 

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