February: still cold in most places in the Northern Hemisphere; people are coming down from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, about to be hit with the uppercut of capitalism known as Valentine’s Day. Naturally–or man-madely, if you want to believe the wags that the festival of romance is a cash grab for the greeting cards industry–thoughts turn to love around the time of February 14, so I present a few thoughts on the subject of the heart.
The crush: the symbolic example of unrequited love. They say that a crush is when you have an undeniable lust for another human being. You think about what they say, how they walk and talk, how they look, how they can connect with you and be with you. You idealize them, romanticize them, put them on a pedastool to admire and dote on.
The crush is the ultimate in a protective barrier. Why? Because the other person often doesn’t know. It is the ultimate secret that you carry close to your chest, those feelings that you keep locked up like a safe holding a personal secret. You look away if they look at you, for one glance will reveal everything. You fixate on them, but only when they don’t see you. And when they respond to you, you do a happy dance internally that they can’t see. For it is the thrill of that very secret that prolonges the joy of pining for them.
That is the very reason why crushes are the penultimate in a barrier of your heart, for you are also blocking yourself from reality. A crush is a way of not getting your feelings hurt, for not telling that person how you feel shields yourself from any rejection and hurt. Any potential fears of intimacy, letting someone into your heart, are alleviated by not putting yourself out there. And focusing your attention on someone that is not available–because you haven’t made your interest known–assures that you are missing out on something great.
Crushes can be thrilling; attached folks that have a crush on a co-worker feel rejuvinated when they come back to their partner, for example. However, chasing after someone with the fear of being chased back is often miserable, heart-achingly lonely and filled with despair. You wonder why they don’t email you back, look at you with the hopefulness that you display or give you an olive branch of their own.
But crushes can lead somewhere, if one of the two people are willing to lay it one the line. And once the secret is released from its cage, it is no longer a secret–much like a revealed crush is from then on no longer just that. But whether it works out for the best or the worst, it is better knowing.
They say that the journey is often more meaningful than the end result. Screw that; when it comes to a crush, play it like Blackjack and go for the best hand. (It’s all I’ve got. SORRY.)