I Believe In Love

I Believe In Love

If I could paint a picture of modern love, it would be a portrait of turmoil, technology, insecurities and a raging hurricane of emotions. The portrait of modern love is disconnected and roughly sketched. The portrait of love is no longer a masterpiece.

We are in a world where we decide whether or not we could date someone by looking at a single picture and swiping left or right on a screen. We are forced to sum up who we are and why we are worthy in two sentences or less. We think that all of this technology is acting as a connector, but all it is doing is deepening gaps between us.

We are forced to have arguments through text messages. We are so worried about getting our message sent first that we do not even take time out of our rapid thumbing to stop and think about whether this “fight” is productive. We mistake the tone of a text message and only further exacerbate the problem. We cannot even be bothered to have face to face conversations anymore.

When we do sit across from each other and are forced to look into each other’s eyes we can’t even focus for long enough to be content with the silence between us before we are checking our social media apps or sending a text message.

We are hyper aware and insecure because of this supposed connectedness. We can see that our significant other was looking at an ex’s profile or sent them a text and we instantly assume the worst. “Why would you need to look at their page?” “If you have nothing to hide let me see your phone.” “Why didn’t you ‘like’ the picture I put up?” This constant lack of privacy is killing our confidence and our relationships.

Modern love is locked with passwords and fingerprints.

We are in a world where things are easily broken. And even more easily replaced. Modern love does not get repaired; it gets replaced. Too often now we are too lazy to fight for love because we think it is easy to find. Modern love is taken for granted, just like the technology we are so obsessed with. In most cases, we don’t know what it is like to truly miss someone. We have the ability to be in constant communication. We have the ability to look at a webpage and see what our love is doing, how they’ve been and who they’re with. We have lost the ability to truly miss the presence of another being – because even when they’re physically there, mentally they’re elsewhere, lost in the world of technology.

In preparation for this essay I asked what modern love meant on Facebook. The majority of the answers were pessimistic and hopeless. I got responses that love is dead, love does not exist and no one can commit to one person for their rest of their life. And the few positive responses I received were deemed as biased because that person was or is in love.

The response that seemed to resonate with most people however was “There is no such thing as ‘old-fashioned’ love stories anymore. The dynamics have changed. Love is finding someone who lets you be an individual who is part of the bigger team; it’s two incomes, sometimes two houses. It takes a lot of hard work and support on both sides of the couple, whatever that couple may look like.”

Recently I watched a video of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary party. I could still see the love in their eyes as they looked at each other. A family friend made a speech and told how beautiful my grandmother was at her wedding and my grandfather loudly stated, “She still is!”

My grandmother stood up and said “50 years ago my husband didn’t think it was manly enough to wear a wedding ring, today he is going to wear one. With this ring, I thee wed” and she placed the ring on his finger for the first time in their 50 year marriage. It is amazing that after all these years we are still trying to decide what is “manly” or “womanly” in a relationship. My grandfather then said, “Ann was a very special girl. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but it was awful close. Not a day goes by that we don’t say to each other ‘I love you’ several times.”

Towards the end of the video, I really learned what modern love means. My grandmother said, “Our kids are always most important. But we decided when we got married that we would be important too. So he has always been my first priority and I was his. The marriage makes the family, and when the base is strong, the hard times don’t seem as important as the good times.”

Modern love is not irreparable.

Modern love just needs a little bit of TLC. 

Modern love needs the TLC that can be found in the courage of a gay couple; the TLC that can be found in the strength of a single mother; the TLC that can be found in the patience of our best teachers; and in the hope of a military spouse and the TLC that can be found in the sincerity of a 50 year marriage;

Modern love needs to look passed the cynicism and the tragedies and the despair of the world around us. We need a healthy dose of hope and optimism before we can move past the era of meaningless “hook-ups.” Instead why don’t we hook up our souls? And work through the awkward silences without escaping them with our phones. We need to look deeply into each other’s eyes in a face-to-face conversation and show each other that we are not afraid to care. Maybe the one who cares the most is not the one with all the power. Maybe love should not have a focus of power.

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious.” We hear the same clichéd personifications and descriptions of love our whole lives. Isn’t it about time that we redefine love? Love needs to be put into terms that the future generation can learn from.

Love is difficult. True love is not easy to find. Love is missing someone in the afternoon when we just want their presence in the room. Love is sharing the last cup of coffee in the morning. Love is leaving your phone at home when it is time to go on a date. Love is surprising your partner with little reminders that they are loved; a sticky note on the mirror, a text message to wake up to, a warm hug at the end of the day. Love knows no gender, race, or income level.

In my lifetime I have witnessed multiple wars, bombings on the streets, mass shootings and epidemics. Love is having someone to talk to and watch the news with and be thankful for. Love is having someone to hold you and protect you. Love is having someone to comfort you when the world is a seemingly uncomfortable place.

Sometimes love comes to us as a disguise. Love first came to me in the form of the written word. After my high school love broke me down, words were there to pick me up. And then love came to me from a boy in my residence hall. A boy who accepts my weirdness. Who does not belittle me or quiet my voice. He never tells me that I am too sensitive or too wishy-washy, too harsh or too cold. He accepts the woman that I am and for that I accept the man that he is. Modern love needs the ability for mutual vulnerability.

Modern love does not only accept your flaws, insecurities and downright ugliness but it embraces them with open arms. Modern love means learning to love every bit of yourself before you can ever truly learn to love another.

We need to think back to the times when people were forced to write down their thoughts and their feelings for someone. It took time and money to send letters across the world. Constant communication was impossible. We get impatient if someone takes too long to text message us. Modern love needs to learn patience and understanding. We aren’t patient enough to stick around long enough to see if we could really be with someone for life. We need to be patient enough to actually listen when there is a problem so that the problem gets fixed rather than just ignored.

We need to move passed the awkward moments, the times when we feel uncomfortable and the times where we wonder if someone else would be easier to deal with. We need to fight for love so that our children have a better outlook on romance than our generation does. We need to feel things we don’t want to feel. And learn to be comfortable with silence and emotion. We need to be brave enough to risk getting hurt and possibly losing it all.

Maybe modern love is just making someone your top priority in a world that is constantly trying to tell us how to prioritize and what we should believe. Maybe “modern” love is not much different from any other kind of love. If love is truly timeless then it should persevere. Despite turmoil, technology, insecurities and a raging hurricane of emotions. I believe in love. Love is not dead. Love does in fact, exist. Love just needs a little bit of TLC.

Why Hello LSAT

Tomorrow at 12:30 I will sit at a desk and take a test. This is not my first test and it definitely won’t be the last. However, this is probably one of the most important tests I will take. Far too much is dependent upon this test. Far too much is dependent upon the number that they will give me. 

I am lucky enough to have recieved quite a bit of encouragement from a range of people. And I greatly appreciate that. However, I think something that society lacks and that we aren’t taught in life is how to create a back-up plan. “You’re going to do great,” and “I believe in you” can only go so far. What happens if I don’t do so great? No one ever sits down with someone and says, “I know you’re going to do great and I have so much faith in you, BUT let’s think about all the possibilities. Let’s think about a plan for if things don’t go the way you would like. Let’s think about how we can lighten that blow, because if we don’t you’re going to have one hell of a time trying to forgive yourself for not doing so well.”

It’s very surreal that it’s tomorrow. For quite some time now I’ve heard and told myself, “You have time.” But now, I’m out of time. In less than 24 hours I will be finished with this test that has consumed much of my life for over a year. And what do I do if the score isn’t what I wanted? Step one: cry. Step two: Go to sleep. Step three: Wake up and think. Step four: Figure out what I want to do with my life and try to figure out the steps I need to get there.

I just don’t know if I’m strong enough to do so.

All I can do now is get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, show up and hope that my best is good enough.

And if it’s not, I will need a lot of help. And love. And support.

Good luck to anyone else taking the June LSAT.  

I’m a Grown Up?

Now that I am almost finished with my college career, I think it is absolutely ludicrous to try and figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life at 18 years old. We’re pressured to pick a college, pick a major, pick the right electives, pick our future career path and we’re still teenagers! 

When I’m a parent, I am going to make sure that my child knows that the one thing that they have is time. Time is on our side and yet we spend so much of it stressing or daydreaming or otherwise just not living our lives. We grow up faster and faster and because of that we become so bitter at such a young age. The American Dream, to our generation is on life support, if not dead. The American Dream is to make sure that we can pay off our thousands of dollars of debt and still provide for our family. It’s to make sure that our degree is worth the money, or that we use it in any kind of relevant field. 

I went into college knowing what I wanted to do. Or at least thinking that I did. And now, three years later, I am so burned out that I have no passion for anything anymore. College beats students down so much that it’s almost impossible not to question everything. What am I doing with my life? Did I choose the right major? Should I take an unpaid internship or pay my bills with an irrelevant job? Am I supposed to know what I want to do after school? Am I making the right decisions? Will this class ever help me in the real world??

I asked my four year old nephew, “Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?” and he said, “No, what?!” And I feel the exact same way. People have stopped asking me what I want to do when I “grow up” which implies that I am a grown up. When did that happen? I still feel like I’m just barely getting by with all the classes that I’m taking. Now the question they ask is “What do you want to do when you graduate?” And to that I reply, “I don’t know, figure out what I want to do with my life, figure out how to make good use of my degree, learn how to make it in the real world without loans and a roommate and classes everyday.” 

College is not for everyone. We, as Americans, really need to stop telling people that it is. Pushing as many people into colleges devalues degrees and we are doing a disservice to ourselves and society. 

Pipe Dreams?

Today I decided to post an excerpt of a longer piece that I am working on for a class. It is the very first draft and only a fraction of the piece as a whole. But I wanted some feedback. And it explains pretty well what I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now. I don’t know if I will end up posting the whole piece but here is what I have thus far:

“Can I hear from someone other than Marina?” That is what I heard practically every day in my AP Constitutional Law class in high school. It’s not that my comments or questions were wrong or inappropriate, I just always wanted to answer. There was something about that class. I wasn’t sure if it was the fact that I was raised in a house where politics and current events were always important conversations, or the fact that the teacher, Mr. Poole, seemed to really enjoy teaching, or maybe just the fact that I wanted to know what my rights were, but there was something about that class that I loved. Other students complained about having to read the text book or brief court cases, but I was interested in it.

The idea of being a lawyer was something that people had always joked about with me. My dad would say, “Well you argue enough to be one” or my friends would say, “You have no mercy so I could see you as a prosecutor.” See, my dad was a Denver Police officer for almost 30 years. He had always worked closely with district attorneys and would occasionally tell us about how he cracked a case or how he got witnesses to confess. While I always admired what my dad did and who he was, I knew that being a police officer just wasn’t for me. I signed up to take Constitutional Law because I heard great things about the teacher and the class itself, and I didn’t want to take Ancient Civilizations which the alternative for juniors that year. Little did I know that it would become my passion.

I remember the exact moment that this realization came to me. I had a rough day filled with drama and emotions that only high school girls can produce. I decided that I had to get my mind off of the impending doom that came from the latest rumor or argument. So I went to the library, somewhere I admittedly did not frequent very often, and I opened up my Constitutional Law book and just started reading. I read the homework for the week and then kept going. It was the first time in my life that I had decided to do something academic to avoid the harsh realities of life in high school. I thought to myself, “Hmm this is strange. This is not my usual way of clearing my head.” And then I remembered a quote that I had seen online: “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” And that is the moment I knew.

However, like most people, I needed some validation. I went to Mr. Poole’s classroom and I asked him “Do you think that I have a serious chance of being a lawyer?” The question didn’t seem intimidating or scary at the time, I just wanted an honest opinion from someone who knew the process and myself. He said, “Yeah I think so. You clearly have an interest in it and can keep up with reading.” He asked me what I was planning on majoring in once I got to college. The only plan I really had at that point was to do fashion design and I wasn’t entirely sold on that idea, I said I liked to write and that English might be a possibility. What he told me next is what helped me make a major decision in my life. “Actually lately English degrees have been one of the most sought after degrees for law schools. They know how to look at a text, analyze it, think critically about it and obviously write.” He also reminded me that I didn’t have to decide right away and that law school will always be there if I decided to pursue fashion or some other avenue. But in that moment I knew. I would declare myself as an English major with the hope of later attending law school. And from then on, every major decision I made was made with my end goal in mind, and everyone knew. They could see my drive and my desire to get there.

 Now here I am, four years later, set to graduate early, registered to take the LSAT and just trying to find that passion I had in high school. I never thought the words “I’m halfway to giving up on law school” would come out of my mouth, but they did, tearfully so. 

College Today

I am not new to freak-outs. I have mini freak-outs about once a week. However, when I have major freak-outs it is usually a combination of my over-thinking and events that happen surrounding the thoughts that lead to more and more thoughts. These freak-outs generally manifest themselves into emotional breakdowns where I finally break and just start crying. And when the nearest person asks what’s wrong and I eventually tell them, they learn that the reason is not usually something that just happened, but usually something that happened last week that built up to the point of no return. 

But today’s freak-out is not like that. Towards the end of the semester, all college students tend to have mini to large freak-outs, especially regarding all the work they still have to do before they can return home. Let me say, I am ahead, or on schedule with my work for this week and next. I am no longer freaking out about all the tasks I have. I am freaking out about my life. My future. And my purpose here in college. 

Today, in one of my classes, we got to discuss the concept of college in today’s society. It was a room full of 20-something year old cynics. We were discussing how undervalued an undergraduate degree has become, because of the quantity of them. We talked about how a college degree now, is the equivalent of a high school diploma 30 years ago. Jobs that were once handed to college grads, now require even higher education. We talked about how it is so hard to pursue something you actually want because of today’s job market. Art majors get put down constantly because people do not usually see great artists in today’s market. What is left over, are jobs focusing solely on math and science and less and less on a broader education like a liberal arts degree. Employers look at a resume from a liberal arts student and don’t necessarily see any marketable skills. The whole system is all jacked up.

These are things that I have known for some time. However, they never really scared me until now. In a year, I will be out of college, waiting on a decision from a law school and possess an English degree. I have no idea what to do in the semester between undergrad and law school.  Do I get another law-related job to boost my application for law school? Do I try to get a job with my English degree in case law school doesn’t work out? Do I have to start paying off my loans since I won’t be in school? Or can I defer payments until after I hear about law school fate? After those questions passed through my mind in a total of maybe 5 seconds, I found myself asking a very scary question. So then what’s the point? Why am I here? 

I have never, ever truly questioned the value of education. I’ve heard stories about people who drop out of college with only a semester or two left, and I always wondered why they made that decision. And then I realized the tremendous amount of pressure we are constantly under. For the most part, I like to think that I handle it fairly well. Some people don’t. They crack under the pressure and give up. 

While I am not planning on dropping out of school, I have such little motivation right now that it scares me. I want to go home and sleep. I want to fast forward so I have some kind of certainty in my life. I just want to know that everything I am doing, will be worth something. More than a piece of paper with my name on it. More than the thousands of dollars of debt I have accrued in order to try and pursue a dream that may or may not actually come true. But no one can assure us of that. 

We learn a lot of things in life. Things that people think will help us succeed. We learn to treat others as we would like to be treated. We learn long division. We learn how to formulate an argument. We don’t learn a lot of things that will help us succeed in life. We don’t learn how to be a manager until we gain that position. We don’t learn how to formulate realistic plans about the future. Or proper back-up plans for if those go south. We don’t learn how to build up a credit score, how to erase our debt. We don’t learn how to accept defeat. And we certainly don’t learn how to rebuild our lives when everything we’ve worked for ends up being unattainable. 

I just want to know that what I am doing, will be worth something. 

I’m sorry, what?

I met with my advisor today to talk about what classes I need to take next semester.

Every advising appointment has been the same, she goes down the checklist and recommends the sequencing I should take the classes in. Then I walk out thinking “There is an endless amount of classes I still need,” or “I swear they added more requirements to my major!”

Today, I was not prepared.

Today, I walked out of there thinking, “Wait, did she just say I’m going to graduate early!?” And while I was excited about this news, I was also freaked out. A lot.

That changes everything. Do I take the LSAT early? If I do, I have to quit my job and devote all my time to preparation.  If I do, do I apply to Law School early or do I wait and take some time? If I take some time will that put me in a bad position when starting? Where am I going to live if I can’t sign a year long lease? WHAT?!

Today, I saw the end of my previously “endless” list of classes. And I do not know how to handle it.

I need a grown up!

Why is Being in Love so Terrifying?

Being vulnerable is not my strongest suit. It’s like math, I don’t want to do it despite the fact that I really need to learn how to do it, and I’m going to need a lot of help to get it. 

I’m still very much in love with you. But I’ve never been so scared. 

Scared of losing you, scared of loving you too much, scared of accidentally hurting you, just scared. 

I know it doesn’t help that I’m at a point in my life where the future is terrifying to pretty much everyone, but thinking about all the possibilities that may or may not include you, makes it worse.

I’m a realist. I am very aware that we could still break up at any time. The thing that I’m most scared of is you waking up and wondering what you’re still doing with me. Or you staying with me just because you don’t want to hurt me. Because that would hurt even more. 

I’m scared of the fact that I can be so vulnerable with you. 

I’m scared that the day you leave I will be even more cold and heartless than ever. 

And I’m scared that I’m keeping you from someone better.