Introduction by Tyler Wayne Patterson /// Web & Social Media Manager
Stories by Emily Dorrel, Demi Glidden, Danni Green and Tyler Wayne Patterson
I had this friend in high school who had this (unfounded) theory that at the core of all human actions is sex. But perhaps in reality, the core is love.
Here’s the thing about looking for love: you learn a lot about yourself during the process.
Good relationships, bad relationships, long relationships, short relationships, no relationships. As much as you learn about someone else when you are dating, you learn even more about you.
And being single is just as much an opportunity to grow.
For my final column I wanted to share a collection of stories by some of my friends from the Class of 2016 about what love has meant to them. You’ll see what the contributors have learned about themselves from love, and hopefully learn a thing or two yourself.
Here are these stories:
Now we’re on a mountain
By Demi Glidden /// Staff Writer
It’s just past 10 PM on a dark clear night. We’ve been hiking all day, and I’m stoked to pitch thetent and surrender to my heavy limbs. But we’re on a ridge and there are no suitable campsites. There is patchy tussock grass tucked among small sturdy conifers on either side of the trail, and just beyond that plunge steep rocky cliffs. My headlamp batteries are low and the blue light is dimly cast onto the trail in front of me. One step is a drag, and the next is a drag times two. My feet are burning: pins and needles surrounding various sores and developing blisters. I can feel my throat getting thick, tightening with exhaustion and emotion.
We should have set up camp hours ago when there was still daylight; but It’s been ‘just ahead’ for the past two hours.
He’s pushing us farther and farther—he is pushing me, in a way I’ve never felt before. My mind is going in spirals, tossed between ragged breathing, aching shoulders beneath my pack, and the cold hard ground around me, which I’m dying to cuddle up into.
I’m miserable and trying to remind myself why I’m here. Why am I here in this exact moment, in pain and resenting him for it? This is not the romantic backpacking on everybody’s instagram.
But when I think about it, nobody in my life has ever bothered to push me like this. I’ve never been asked to explore my physical limits. Until this kid came along on a very casual blind date. And now we’re on a mountain. Then, for a brief moment, my body fills up with something glowing and soft, a juxtaposition to the rest of the sensation in my body. He’s the reason I’m here and love him for it.
A love of basics
By Danni Green /// Staff Writer
He is another white friend on the long list of white friends that I’ve compiled over my four years at LC. He opens up—something he doesn’t do often with me—to tell me about his relationship woes.
Well, more accurately his trying-to-date-at-LC woes. I listen because I care—genuinely. The source of his mild heartache: another white person. A girl virtually indistinguishable from the herd of pleasant white girls that LC collects and boys everywhere pine after.
I quickly get the sense that he wants consolation in knowing that dating is hard and that unfair things will happen. I wish I could; wish dating as a fat, fly, woman of color had similarities to his dating experience at LC. If mine were, my dating life would be exponentially more exciting. I’d worry about things like am I funny? Was he flirting back? I wouldn’t think is this just a fantasy?
What if he wants to run his fingers through my hair? What if he sees my intersectional oppression as a burden to him? (This is all under the assumption that I’m into someone.) I’ve truly forgotten what liking someone is like. Is it like the fullness of eating a good meal? Or the elation after a great workout? Or the relief of finding out your essay isn’t due for another week?
I keep listening to my friend. The greatest difference between us is that this is just one girl. One time. He is more situated to find genuine affection than I. My four years at LC have been duplicates of one another. This makes me want to feign empathy. I don’t. Instead, I tuck my longing to have what white girls at LC have (unjustifiably) beneath my tongue. Mention nothing about the silence I’m shrouded in.
Learning to love myself
Emily Dorrel /// Staff Writer
I never thought that I would find it. Love. The thing that (almost) everyone seems to be looking for.
While I have always tried to surround myself with lots of loving, supportive friends and family, I was convinced that there was a type of special love that I was missing, or worse, unworthy of. Over the past few years though, I have finally come to know and accept the love, the friend, “the person” I was looking for: Myself.
My relationship with myself, which was harsh and unforgiving for so many years, is expanding to include the love that I’d been seeking in others for so long. It started with a nugget of a thought: the idea that I am worthy of my own appreciation, care and tenderness. This seedling of a thought has continued to grow, cultivated slowly by my achingly humorous and wildly emotional ride through school, friendships, family, and just trying to understand myself. Don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of growth ahead of me. But I’ve finally realized that the love you give yourself is the only love you can count on lasting forever; a love that I can bring with me as I meander through life. I’m so grateful for how far I’ve come and I hope that you, whoever may be reading this, recognize your own wonder, potential and ultimate worthiness.
By Tyler Wayne Patterson /// Web & Social Media Manager
Finally, 2014 ended and everything was just about right. I was finally home, confident, secure and happily single. I was home just for a few days before I would leave to study abroad in Havana.
Just two nights before I would leave the the United States, a cute boy messaged me: “Come cuddle.” We had been talking, but I wasn’t looking for a relationship.
His Grindr profile intimidated me. “Must have car,” he wrote. I wondered, does my 1998 Nissan count? “Be smart,” he continued. Well, I’m in college… but I wouldn’t say I’m notably “smart.” On February 13th I went out to a bar with some friends. He sent me another message. Grindr said he was just feet away. But I couldn’t spot him at the bar until just when his group was leaving.
He invited me to meet them at a gay bar. I ditched my straight friends and went to the Silverstone.
It was just past midnight. It was now February 14th. He was cute. He was fun. And we went out the next night, too. I slept in his bed both nights, but we didn’t have sex. What was wrong with me? Did I not fit the demands from his dating profile? Was I less attractive IRL?
I left for Cuba with a crush. But I didn’t think it would ever become anything more. If he really liked me, wouldn’t he want to have sex with me? Weeks into living in Cuba I was homesick and without wifi. When I finally got internet access, I logged into iMessage. Gabe had messaged me!
Gabe wrote a joke on my Facebook wall! He couldn’t be completely uninterested in me. It didn’t detract from my time in Cuba. But in the back of my mind would I would dream about my summer back in the states, a summer potentially with Gabe.
A summer with Gabe it was. It would still be several nights together until we would finally have sex. But I realized, for the first time, that I had more to offer somebody than my looks or my body. He liked who I was as a person. This isn’t some rant against hook ups. By all means, have all the casual sex you want to have. But Gabe loves me for me, and that makes me really happy.
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