Conor. Steven. Adam. Kostas. Mikeal.
5 men in 23 years. Ok, 22 years and 353 days, but I don’t see myself falling in love in the next 12 days, so we’ll go with 5 in 23 years. Tonight, I’m in one of those moods where I just feel I need to cry. It wouldn’t go away…so I did what I always do when I need to cry. I read through my old journals. Two constants come up from age 12 to 23. God and Love. I was reading through my journal from 2006, when I was 17, and read the following:
“…in my 17 years I’ve loved only two guys. Conor and Steven. Both are great guys and both have showed me amazing things. My question though is how many loves will it take to find the one? Or have I already found him? Is it even possible to really be in love with more than one person or is there just true love? Can you stop loving someone after you’ve decided you do love them? Is true love even real? Is there only one person in the world for me? And out of 6 billion people- how will I find him? I want to fall in love and stay in love with the one man I belong with. I want love above all things. I’ll wait to find him, he’s somewhere, just somewhere out there.” – June 21, 2006 1:11 am
First off, I’m glad I only considered myself to be in love only twice by age 17. I have always been a hopeless romantic, and to only fall in love twice is pretty much a miracle. Some of these loves have been short, others long lasting. So let’s do the timeline.
I met Conor in 1998 at age 10. We were at summer camp and bonded after complaining that there were no left-handed scissors for us to cut our crafts with, we’re both left-handed. We fell in love at 13, and he broke my heart, still though, from that point, Conor has been in my life for the last 10 years.
I met Steven in 2005 at age 16. We met through mutual friends. His two best friends dated my two best friends. The six of us were inseparable for one glorious summer. Steven’s now engaged to be married this summer. We still remain good friends.
I met Adam in 2006 at age 17. We met at a football game. He was a freshman in college, I was a senior in high school. I had no interest in dating him, but loved his friendship. Three months into our friendship, something clicked and we fell in love at record speed. Our relationship has been a roller coaster, at best, but today I still consider him the person that loves me most completely.
I met Kostas in 2009 at age 20. We met when out to dinner with each of our groups of friends. We all hit it off and went out later together. Our birthdays (Jan. 29 and 30th) are what bonded us. We had a fast and emotional love. We rarely have contact today. After being in love with him for nearly 3 years, this past August, it was time to let go. We still are amiable and I think of him and our memories often.
I met Mikeal in 2010 at age 21. We worked together at the Olympic Training Center in California. He was a volunteer, I was an intern. We worked the Saturday tours together and I fell, again, pretty quickly. A summer romance, the love didn’t last, but I still remain good friends with him.
So in the past two years there’s been recycling of several of these men, but no lasting relationships. I wonder still to this day if one of the men I’ve already loved is ‘the one’ or if I haven’t met him yet. (chimes in Michael Buble) Or if simply the friendships with others could possibly bloom into love. I don’t know. I look back on my journals and I always ask God about my life, my love and my relationships. It’s only until recently where I’ve looked to God again for what I really need in my life, specifically with love. (Thanks for that God, by the way.)
I really do wonder if true love is a reality. I wonder if you can love more than one person in a lifetime, I believe you can, but I’m not certain. Mostly I wonder if you can return to loving someone after you’ve stopped, or stop loving them after you’ve started. That’s a question I don’t know how to answer. Every man I’ve ever loved, I still have love for. Some in an amicable way, others in a longing way. I will forever love Kosta as the “what if?” in my life. I will always hold Conor as my first love.
There’s a beautiful passage from a book I’ve found, called A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit saying this:
“Perhaps it’s true you can’t go back in time, but you can return to the scene of a love, of a crime, of happiness and of a fateful decision; the places are what remain, are what you can possess, are what is ‘immortal’.”
I can’t go back to 2009, where I felt alive in the love I had with Kosta. Nor can I go back to 2007 when Adam and I’s relationship began. But I can go back to the places I’ve been in love. Every time I set foot in the Fleur Cinema I will be filled with immortal memories of the moments spent next to one another watching Darjeeling. Each time I visit the top of the city in Salonika, I’m reminded of the happiness I felt drinking hot chocolate under the moonlight.
The memories of my past loves are what often get me through nights like tonight. Nights when loneliness sets in. Nights when love seems bleak. The men I’ve loved and who’ve dared to love me have given me the gift of knowing myself, knowing them, and knowing what grounded and legitimate love looks like.
I can only imagine the 6th or 7th or 8th love… who he’ll be. But I know when his story intertwines mine it will indeed be a tale to tell. Until then, I have immortal memories to keep his place.