In Love with Love

As a child, you watched and rewatched all the Disney princess movies. You loved twirling around, singing songs of enchantment with your dad as you wore sparkling crowns and tiny princess dresses. You spent the evenings on school nights watching Disney shows about teenage life and dreaming about going to high school, going on the perfect date with the perfect guy, and having a group of friends who stood behind you no matter what. Every scenario you played out in your head and with your dolls revolved around being old enough for love. You fell for the idea of Prince Charming swooping you up and away. There was no question that once you turned 16 you would find him and he would love you without exception--unquestionably and forever. You were in love with love.

At 18, you were still waiting, always a little bit out of place. The boys in high school were boring, and you were too busy waiting for the bell to ring to think about them. As you got older, your face got a little too wide, the angles of your features a little too odd to warrant a second look. You just wanted someone to notice that you spent 2 hours on your makeup before the party, you wanted them to see how funny you could be, you wanted them to see how you cried when the party was over. You wanted them to see you, but all they saw was your roommate. You sat through tales of hook-ups and adventures on wild nights, wondering when you’d get your turn.

So you downloaded Tinder.

You were never the type, but the princess dresses stopped fitting a long time ago and the sparkling jewels in the crowns you wouldn’t take off started looking more and more like plastic covered in cheap paint. Made in China--just like you. You spent the balmy evenings between spring and summer at burger places and bubble tea shops, spending the nights giving yourself away in the name of naivety to people you thought cared about you. You dug through your insides searching for butterflies, dreaming of kisses under stained glass in art museums, of cuddling in the backseats of cars listening to pop punk with the steady hum of rain against the windows. You wanted to feel like magic still existed on Earth in the form of love coursing through your veins and overheating your mind. That was what you found with him. You thought you had done it, had found what your little rebellious emo heart had always wanted. But life is never that simple, and neither is love.

You’d always ask him what he thought love was. You’d search for its meaning in books and movies—it was as if you’d forgotten the definition you’d always believed in. Or maybe you were just that scared. Maybe if you changed your definition, you’d find love more often. Your parents didn’t have to tell you that they loved you for you to know, so maybe the same concept applied to him too. But you both knew that you were more dynamite than campfire, and despite the feelings you had for each other, it just wasn’t meant to be. Prince Charming just couldn’t handle a relationship right now because he was still recovering from the damage his cheating ex caused.

He broke your heart.

He ripped it out of your chest, stomped all over it, and walked into the sunset covered in its pieces. You spent endless months sleepwalking, ticking off to-do boxes mindlessly, and wasting time on boys you never liked. You wondered if there were bloopers to the princess movies that you’d never seen, if their happy endings actually lasted forever or simply felt like it would last forever.

With time, you learned that everyone has more than one Prince Charming and that all of them are fully capable of breaking a curse. You found someone who makes you feel like the queen of the world, not just the princess of one country. He goes on night drives to Canada with you to watch animated movies, his eyes gleaming in the passing streetlights as you laugh and sing along to your favorite songs. His cuddles make you feel like nothing will ever hurt you again, and though it is not always easy, he will never leave. He will tell you he loves you every day, especially on days where you don’t love yourself. He will love you so much that you can’t help but love yourself.

Love comes in different forms and neither it, nor Prince Charming, will be like anything you expected. He won’t sweep you away from all your problems and he will not show up in your backyard promising constant happiness and everything you heart desires. He will most likely not have a horse or a prestigious family lineage, and finding him will require heartbreaking trial and errors; but, he will love you endlessly.