Seven? It’s a perfect number after all. Or one, maybe. Seven turns you into an emotional whore of some sort, right?
I’m having a nice discussion with a new friend and we navigate a couple of topics until we get to college love, relationships and heart breaks. As a typical Nigerian teenager getting into the university for the first time, you must have been told not to “have boyfriends’’ because well, “that’s not what we sent you to school to do’’ or you must have been told not to “get any girl pregnant’’ and threatened with a forced marriage in case you erred. Some parents said worse things. The conversations lasted for at least an hour with your parents seated on one sofa, facing yours, with stern facial dispositions and creased brows to depict how serious an issue it was. Your mother would most likely take on the emotional side of the discuss, urging and pleading while your father most likely dished out the orders in a matter-of-fact manner that was supposed to instill enough fear to produce obedience. Well, you get to school and life happens. You’re growing up and learning all these things about yourself and your emotions and there’s the foolhardy daring spirit of youth that takes over you and obedience to “papa and mama’s rules” is the last thing on your mind. If you’re lucky, your disobedience doesn’t cost you much save for some unsavory experiences that teach you what not to do a few years down the line. If you’re not, irreparable harm could be done to your heart and/or emotions before you realize what hit you.
I am one of those who didn’t listen. Mostly out of just wanting to know. And now I honestly wish I did listen. I mean, how many wrongs do you need to go through to get your right? Whether you took your parents advice and stayed out of the college/university love scene or not, how many frogs before your Prince comes along?
The first time is usually exhilarating. You feel things alien to your young heart, emotions you have no words or explanations for. Your body responds in unspeakable ways and you love every minute of it. Then like dominoes, it all comes crashing down, feelings trembling upon each other leaving chaos and hot-searing pain in its wake. A box of tissue, pep talks from friends and some time to heal after, you bounce back, stitch the jagged edges of your heart and paint it yellow to remind you of sunshine and everything beautiful and bright, love inclusive.
In your new found healing, “love” comes knocking again and the same cycle resumes. You can tell because you’ve felt these things before. You hope it’ll be the last you’ll have to try and you’ll get your happy ending – a shiny diamond stone right at the middle of your middle finger, or an end to your search for She.
But then, the domino effect sets in and before you realise it, you need another healing and sunshine session. You wonder if you’re using your heart a little too much and lessons on how love isn’t blind starts to make a lot more sense to you. So you start to think the newer ones through, loving with your heart and most importantly, your head, in calculated measures to avoid any more collateral damage.
This is one extreme. On the other end, being a hopeless romantic might mean that in spite of the repetitive cycle of falling in love, dating, hurting and healing, the heart stays hoping and yearning for that which it so desires to find synchrony with. And so, your head never comes into play. You love and burn as hard as you did the first time every time, hoping it’s your last and you have no new scars to remember how gallant a fighter you have become, how wounded you really are.
With X relationships behind me (leave a comment if you want to find out how many), I am certainly still looking forward to another one, The One, but I’m skeptical about the chances of finding it. So, how many frogs are you allowed to kiss before you find your Prince? How many frogs can you kiss without transferring its sliminess and froginess to your Princess when she comes along?
I say, as many as your poor heart can take. I say, till you find something so rare you know your life will not be the same without it, in a
good great way.
The danger for me here, is that there’s only so much froginess one can take. You know how your bones are so malleable at birth and continue to calcify as you grow old till it becomes the hardest substance in your body? You do not want to get to a place where your heart has been calcified by so many terrible kissing outings that you have nothing left to give your Prince or Princess when/if the time comes.
Our hearts yearn for love and acceptance in varying forms and degrees. It’s what makes us a race of people, of beings similar in so many different ways and no matter how bruised and broken we are, the heart wants what it wants. And this is the reason I think dating in university/college is lame – if you do not first understand how your heart beats and its rhythms, how do you know what it wants and how it can get it? Frankly, if this awareness is lacking, you will be kissing frogs for a pretty long time, because the Prince will pass right by and you wouldn’t know it!
Love is a powerful thing. I know it because I see the way it can transform or break people irreversibly. I know it because I see how it can propel or limit someone as contexts allow.
To love, life, sunshine and stitched edges; to frogs that open your eyes to your Prince or Princess, to hearts that never break and never cease to hope, love comes to those who believe.