“I love you.” Every time Jessica and I talk, before she hangs up, she says this to me. The first few times she said it, I was taken off guard and I did not know what to say. When I thought about it, I knew I felt love for her, too. She is an important part of my life, and I hope she will forever be in it. So why did it take me a while to return the sentiment? Why was I afraid to open up to someone I love?
Maybe, I exist somewhere between the extremists: the under users and the over users.
First, the people who rarely use the word. To them, love is reserved for only the most precious relationships. For these people, to say that they feel love for another person is complete and total adulation. To say these words is like uttering a vow, and because it is difficult to be completely open, the word rarely crosses their lips. For whatever reason, these people feel that love is reserved for romantic relationships and offspring only, so to say it to a friend would tarnish its meaning.
Second, the people who use the word too much. They use it to describe everyone and everything in their lives. They love Susie. They love Jenny’s hair. They love John because he is so funny. Of course, they love pizza, sunlight, Brad Pitt, baby babble, Orange Julius, and Survivor. They use the word to describe anything they feel a preference toward. They say the word love when they really feel like.
I never wanted to depreciate the value of feeling love, but I do not want to seem so closed off that I cannot say it. Love is raw. Love is open. But I feel it. When I have just left a friend, just hung up the phone, just read a post, even, I feel it in my heart. I physically feel a warmth in my chest that says, “Yes. This person is important. This person brings something to the table.” Love is what I feel.
I have love for many people in my life because of the qualities in their personalities that make them unique. In addition, they all possess a quality that makes me feel full of life. Without knowing it, they each have given me something intangible that has made me who I am. I am a better person because of the people I surround myself.
I love who I am, the way I feel, the person I want to become because you, my friend, bring out the best in me. By being yourself, you have made me a better version of me. I love you. I am grateful you are in my life.