What is Love to a Teenager?

Time for something different! One of the reasons I was afraid to publish my old poems regularly is because I knew many would be dark. Well, on February 25th, 2005 I broke that trend, writing not on depression, but on love. Of course, at 14-years-old, there was no way I was anywhere near finding love, but I had many friends who thought they had. Many of my friends had grand dreams of lavish weddings, white picket fences and 2.5 kids. Where did I fit in all that?

I was a freshman in high school when I wrote the following poem.

Elusive True Love

Sitting here tonight,
I wonder if I’ll ever find,
True love, where is a man I can call mine?
So many couples, so many lovers.
I don’t even know what love is.
Is there a man for me?
Am I destined to be alone?
Inside I feel no pain, no cold.
Yet, there is something missing.
For I wonder, deep inside,
Have I ever experienced real happiness and joy?
Even if all fails in the end,
Even if I don’t believe,
I’d like to prove those ‘ifs’ wrong.
*I wish I may, I wish I might,
Find someone to love,
Find someone who love me, too.
Someone to complete my life.

 I’m left wonder where exactly these ideas came from. Never did I go through any kind of ‘boy crazy phase.’ The only thing I’d call a phase is the period of time in middle school where I tried to do and say things to be popular get people off my back. Long story short, it backfired. There wasn’t a man I was interested in on any romantic level. There were more girls than boys in my class. Those who didn’t contribute to bullying ignored me. I was more than happy to accept that. Being ignored was better than being bullied. No way was I going to say anything that might egg something on.

But this poem is written in high school. In fact, it’s written during the second semester of my Freshman year – the year I took the mandatory health class. This is particularly significant because the first man who I ever had anything like a crush on was in that class.

He was nice to me and interested in similar things. I could see him doodling anime characters during class, a class he was retaking for the 3rd time. Not only did that mean he failed this pathetically easy class multiple times, it meant he was a year or so older than me. There’s no shame in failing a class you tried your best in, but even I knew the only reason he failed was because he didn’t care. He didn’t do his work, didn’t hand in papers and didn’t act as if he cared one way or the  other.

He was a keeper, right?

This photo, “I can't see LOVE!” is copyright (c) 2014 Karrie Nodalo and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The image was cropped to create the featured image.
This photo, “I can’t see LOVE!” is copyright (c) 2014 Karrie Nodalo and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The image was cropped to create the featured image.

Looking back, I imagine I only had a ‘crush’ on him because he was kind to me. Without prompting, he spoke to me and he spoke with kindness. Sometimes, he hung around the same group of nerds, skaters and druggies I did (because I was (and am) flaming nerd). They didn’t mix much with my other friends, but they were good people. I credit hanging out with them as part of the reason bullies didn’t mess with me as much in high school. They didn’t want to accidentally anger someone who wasn’t afraid to fight back.

Back to the crush; it didn’t last long, but it happened and it happened around the time I wrote this poem. I imagine I was wondering if love was something for me. Having spent so much time living with hate, the idea of loving seemed foreign. Yet, many of my new friends had boyfriends. Some had boyfriends they’d met in middle school and had been dating for years. Where did I fit? Would anyone ever love me?

There will be a scattering of more love poems in the future, but I can provide a short answer to that question here. I would wonder until Levi and Zachery. After them, I was well convinced love wasn’t for me and was perfectly happy. If they signified the men attracted to me, if that’s what love was, I wanted no part of it.

What did you think of love when you were 14? When did you start dating? Did you ever crush on someone? Why did you crush on that particular person? Were they worthy of your affection?


16 thoughts on “What is Love to a Teenager?”

  1. TK, I thought the high school poem was actually in a hopeful, almost wistful, tone. When I was in my teenage years I kept a journal (I guess some might say diary, although I like to think it was “deeper” than just a diary) and I think that’s what propelled me into a writing/editing career. At the very least it gave me a lot of writing practice. I see my current blogging as an extension of those early days as a rather “emo” teen.

    And I think you can still have “crushes” way past your teenage years!

    1. This one is, yes. That’s why it’s different. It’s a sign I was coming out of my darkness. Realizing I might be worth love, not just dismissing it as an impossibility, was defiantly a hopeful sign.

      That was the only real crush I had, but I was one of those girls who crushed on any boy who treated me nicely at least once. Goes to show you how few times that happened.

  2. I was exactly the same all the way through school. A total tomboy and a hardcore romantic at the same time, but regarded the idea of love as implausible and a little ridiculous, really. We get disillusioned about the concept of love after seeing people declare and betray multiple times a week.. All those hormones lol. I never found a guy I could love…. And then I did. Worth waiting for. 🙂

    1. I wasn’t a tomboy, I was just…. different. I loved reading, writing and video games. I didn’t do the girly things or the boyish things. I really felt like I was just an oddball for not fitting one or the other. Maybe what was more odd is how many of my friends didn’t break up. Some of those high school relationships are married today.

        1. I guess. To be honest, I’m not sure how many of them will last. It’s not that they have a bad relationship per say, but that they married so young with idealistic ideas of marriage. There are only a couple I think will make it.

  3. I had my first crush at 5. By middle school the crushes were so bad they hurt. I was a nerd and an extreme introvert (still am). I was also very shy (still shy, but not like then) so I really didn’t date much in high school and very little even in college. Even though I’ve been married for quite a few years, I still get crushes.

    1. Crushes are a thing. I’m not sure they ever go away. Maybe I’m just odd in that I don’t crush enough. My excuse is that it was the popular, good looking boys who often made fun of me in high school. Now, I can’t just look at a person and have a crush. I have to engage them in conversation.

  4. What an interesting glimpse into a common human experience, TK. I still remember the series of girls on whom I had a crush, going back to the third grade. In a way, they were all important to me, and still are. I wonder if love grows in stages, the first being the “crush,” or psycho/physical attraction. Then as trust builds, the feelings deepen, and then we are perhaps ready for a commitment. I sometimes think that we are not finally truly in love until we have been with a person for a long time–perhaps years. Finally, I do think love completes us–but I wonder if it is my wife’s love for me that completes me, or am I completed by my love for her? Or is it a combination of the two? Whew! as Rilke says, I guess we can only live into the anwers to these mysterious questions.

    1. I do think crush is sort of a shallow first stage. It’s the moment where we see someone with a handful of characteristics we enjoy and dream about what they might be like if they have all you need for a relationship. Do they like what you like? Will they want to travel to the same places you do? Of course, you have to go further to find out if you’re in love.

      I’m not sure about what completes what, but I’d lean towards your love for her completing you. We may only fully achieve our potential for selfishness, humbleness and gratitude when we love another. Just a guess.

  5. I remember having crushes on both boys and girls at school. I think I liked the idea of dating certain people more than I would have liked dating them. I didn’t actually start datinf until quite late on. Firstly because I wasn’t really sure who I wanted to date. Secondly because I wasn’t one of the popular crowd so no one wanted to date me anyway. I certainly remember how those first crushes felt; like you would just die if you couldn’t be around them. Sounds dramatic, but that’s how it felt as a teenager. I remember writing my initials with someone else’s in a heart in my books. Ahhh, good times.

    1. I don’t think I got that dramatic, but I’m not the dramatic type. I was inquisitive and just wanted to know more. Mostly, I wanted to know if they liked me too, but I knew this particular rush was wrong for me. I had ambitions of college and world travel and he was retaking freshman health for the third time because he couldn’t be bothered to do his homework. No way that would have lasted.

  6. With secondary school and all that, having crushes with a few people, it’s too difficult to decide at times. There were one or two of them who were worthy and were fantastic people to hang out with. Same I’m not 14 now LOL

    1. I don’t think I ever really thought to far into worth. I knew we wouldn’t work out even if he was interested. For me, it was just a crush based on common interest in anime and him being nice to me.

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