Oh Hello Jo — Three Love Stories

Jo Rosenthal

My mom always tells me that one of the funniest qualities she thinks I have is the fact that I love to be in love. It’s true, and I can’t deny it. Heart wrenching, gut punching, maddening love is something I feel like I was put on this earth to experience, and I’m lucky to say that I feel like I fall in love at least once a day. I also feel very lucky to say that I’ve experienced soul sucking / heartbreaking love in an absolutely serious way three times. It could have been more, but I’ve been in three serious relationships so that seems right.

The first person I fell in love with I assumed was going to be the last person. You know the song that goes “ you’re my first, my last, my everything?” That’s exactly how it was. Or so I thought. I was so stuck in a dream, when in reality it shouldn’t have been the first experience of love I was exposed to. I’ve written about it multiple times and each time I do, I feel like I have a different perspective of it. I was nineteen, it lasted two years and almost seven years later, as much pain it brought me, it gave me hope that I’d find love again. If we open ourselves up to the possibility of love, who knows what we could experience?
Being the 5’2 girl that I am, I for some reason have always been attracted to someone who is at least a foot taller than me. Miranda July says in one of her short stories that when we date or befriend someone taller than us, it is as if we are ‘going the distance’ for them. I believe that to be true because I constantly see people pursuing friendships around me with those who are in their height range. Is that why it’s been so hard for me to make friends? Because there is the possibility that there don’t seem to be as many people in my height range, and anytime I pursue a romantic relationship or friendship with someone taller than me, I really am going a distance for them? I really don’t think it’s a problem though, because to experience most things in life you have to travel some sort of distance to do that; whether it be physical or emotional. It sounds daunting when written out, but if we don’t take some sort of leap, how will we possibly be able to do something bigger than ourselves? Some say ‘look before you leap,’ but I say just jump.
Sometimes it feels like it’s really easy to get someone to like me romantically, but it feels like the most difficult thing to get that person to want to stay. I think that’s one of the reasons I chose to leave what was familiar for something that was completely unfamiliar when I moved to Greenpoint four months ago.
The second time I fell in love I was truly unprepared. The person I was dating said that they loved me less than a month after we started dating. How soon is too soon? Or is it always a good time to say ‘I love you?’ I don’t think I realized how lucky I was at the time to experience love a second time and I truly wish I could go through that second love again.
I feel like the person was unprepared for someone as ridiculous and emotional as me. We don’t talk anymore for many really silly and specific reasons, and it makes me question if the love was real because they never apologized for the amount of hurt they caused, even when I tried to apologize to them. I guess love really does mean never having to say you’re sorry, I shouldn’t still be upset, three years later. I think that because I still have a crush on my first crush from Junior Kindergarten, I still feel some sort of pain.
It’s hilarious to me that the rare times I go back to visit my family in Miami, they ask me if I’m ready to settle down and start a family. That thought truly feels scary to me. I’m inspired by the people around me who have found their ‘person,’ but trying to figure out if I have one feels truly like walking to a haunted house where it’s been proven that there are ghosts.
The third time I experienced what felt like true love, it hit me out of nowhere. It was exactly a year ago and some of the most fun months of my life I’ve ever had. It felt like I was a little kid again, chasing around the other kids on the playground making kissing noises at them. I was completely unprepared, and even more unprepared for the heartbreak I endured, that I still think about sometimes. The person ended things with me after they went on summer vacation. We met near my old apartment and they sat me down and told me they weren’t physically or emotionally attracted to me and that they were just dragging me on for the entirety that we dated because I seemed so happy. It really, really hurt to say the least. Regardless of if that was true or if they just wanted to dig a knife into my heart, it completely shattered my ability to want to find love again. I still quiver when I hear the person’s name and some days I have a hard time looking in the mirror because their words of hatred fill my head. Although I’ve moved on, I think about this person a lot and wonder if they ever think about me.

“If we don’t take some sort of leap, how will we possibly be able to do something bigger than ourselves? Some say ‘look before you leap,’ but I say just jump.”

Anyways, this past week I ate a lot of Thai food, listened to one of my favorite albums as many times as I could (Lioness: Hidden Treasures by Amy Winehouse) and tried to accumulate as much confidence as my friend and favorite fashion icon, Miranda. I’ve known her for a while and each time we get together, I’m floored by her ability to experience the world without any fears. Love knows no bounds to her, and I’ve never been more inspired by someones ability to easily approach an attractive person than the way she does it. I’d just like to say that using this thing I coined called ‘The Miranda Method’ to pursue my dreams and approach people I find interesting has never paid off more. When asking her how she does it, she said something along the lines of ‘if it doesn’t work out, it’s easy to move on because there’s so many people around us everyday, and it’s the other persons’ loss if they don’t want to talk to you.”
To end this weeks’ column I’d just like to say that in my favorite Daniel Johnston song he says that “the best things in life are free, singing birds and laughing bees.” Because we make decisions everyday to be something or someone, we should try to be as much of a singing bird or laughing bee as we can. Life should be as fun and easy as you can make it and every time you struggle emotionally, just know how powerful you are to be able to experience such a wide range of feelings and that not everyone is as lucky or open as you.
— XO, Jo
Recap: Advice for this week: go forth and approach that person you’ve wanted to talk to because you really do have nothing to lose. If you’re not feeling up to it, work up the confidence until you do. Sometimes it takes me months to finally feel like I can tell someone they are cute and last week I finally sent someone I’ve been crushing on for over five years. It’s a slow process, but if it doesn’t work out, this time of year is the perfect time to stop and smell the flowers.
Song I can’t stop listening to: Between The Cheats by Amy Winehouse
A Good short story to read: This Person by Miranda July