If I could tell my 16-year-old self anything about love, it would be that love is delicate but not fragile. Less of a polished diamond set upon high, untouchable shelves and more of a garden that needs to be weeded and watered. She thought that love meant a secret. Meant hurt. Meant sorry. And I would tell her that love should be seen. Should be heard. That it does not need to be screamed from rooftops but it should not be buried underground, either.
I would tell her that sometimes love hurts, but it’s not supposed to feel like an open wound all the time. It would be that love should make you feel like your heart is thawing slowly after a harsh winter, but it should not be the winter. It should not make you feel like pieces of yourself are slowly falling to the ground beneath you. Love should be loud enough to battle the cries of the ocean, but not so violent as to cause a tsunami. If your heart feels like it’s splitting in two, if your ribcage is being split like tectonic plates, then it isn’t love, and it isn’t worth it.
If I could tell her anything, it would be that love should feel like moths buzzing beneath a warm porchlight. Cocoons cracking wide open to reveal bright, brilliant wings. It should make you feel like you can fly without falling and swim without drowning. Like you’re running barefoot through soft soil and wild hilltops.
Love is sticky-sweet, golden apple juice dripping down your chin. It’s pomegranates and poppy seeds and dandelions. Grapevines and strawberry fields. Sunflowers. Fresh-cut grass and warm rain showers. Cold lemonade under a hot, dazzling, midday sun. Warm tea at twilight. The echoes of crickets and the flashing of fireflies.
Love, like soft winds blowing through summer skies, is everywhere. It’s everyone. It’s everything.