At the age of 14, I found that I was predisposed as “the fool” for wearing my heart on my
sleeve. Unrequited love can be damaging, especially at an early age. My freshmen year in high
school, I was certain I knew everything there was to life; little did I know, my world would
become completely disheveled right before my eyes. I fell irrevocably in love with a boy who
burst my dull senses into wild colors. I was introduced to a world where black and white were
void; it was now about red, blue, yellow, green, and gray...lots of gray.
I was young and he was brimmed with wonder. It didn’t take me long to tell him how I
felt with him, it was new, so I wasn’t afraid. I went all in, head first, eyes completely closed.
Our friendship, this emotionally charged relationship was confusing and frustrating, but
awakening. I knew deep down he couldn’t love me the way I loved him, but I lingered because
he lingered. For three years, we teetered; I found myself saying goodbye more than I’d like to
admit, but going back every single time. He was my best friend, the first person to call me at
exactly 12am on my birthdays, the first person I’d want to give exciting news to, the first person
who understood and mirrored my crazy. But in turn, he was the first person to call me a “fool”
for letting down my walls, he was the first person I’d say “sorry for falling in love with you” to,
the first person I’d try to run away from. He was the first person who’d shatter my heart, without
lifting a finger. I hated him for filling me up with love, only to keep it for himself. I hated him
for opening me up to such a new variation of emotion the complexity of feeling the longevity
of heartbreak. I hated him for making me fall madly in love with him only to realize I had been
Unrequited love affects everyone at least once, if not dozens of times. We are all visited by it,
with a romantic partner, a dear friendship, or perhaps even a family member. It is that feeling of
knowing the person you love cannot love you in the same measure the reality that your person
just doesn’t know how to call you their person. Coming to terms with this can be damaging,
lonely, and defeating. How do you possibly accept that your love has been bigger all this time?
How do you find the courage to embrace that their lack of attention and affection doesn’t
determine your worth? Because it doesn’t. I went on believing there was something wrong with
me for feeling too deeply; I was ridiculed by peers in high school as the one who never had it
together. Why? Because I actually confronted my feelings? Because I didn’t play games? I never
wanted to fall in love again. I didn’t want to be the blind, naive girl any longer. For a while, I
successfully hid behind my facades. My walls were built and they stood tall, prepared to halt any
person from getting closer; No person could break my heart now.
Late October last year, a young man walked into my work area and I was drawn. I made it a
point to say hello I consciously invited him in. My heart opened itself to the idea of letting
someone in again. There had been a few crushes, a few fleeting flings in the span of the 5 years I
stood ground and told myself to never give someone that much power again. But this young man
was different. One glance and I envisioned my entire future... cue the Taylor Swift songs now.
We began a genuine friendship, with coffee runs, and conversations on the phone. There was a
moment I looked over at him, as he drove us in my car, and I thought, “You...it has to be you..”
I didn’t fall in love with this young man, but oh I did have an uncanny admiration and affection
for him. He was unlike any other guy I liked; I am a woman deeply cursed with affection, so
falling further was inevitable. Only, as I was falling further for him, I found myself also falling
further for Jesus. You see, this young man invited me to church, the very moment we met. I grew
up believing in God and loving God, but I had put God on the back burner. A part of me wanted
to go back to church, to fall in love with Jesus, but it wasn’t until I grew curious about this young
man, that my determination to pursue God strengthened. In a sense, my pursuit for Jesus was
selfish in the beginning because I thought if this young man, let’s call him, Warren. If Warren
saw me as a woman of God, he’d be intrigued. It was all bad. My intentions were just bad. But
Jesus totally had His own plans and they had been working all along.
Once again, I was tormented by the reality of falling for someone who didn’t want to fall for
me. Around mid February, I found out Warren entered courtship with a young lady. I was so
angry with myself for allowing this to happen again. How did I let my feelings engulf my world
yet again? I stopped going to church for three weeks. Warren called me on the third Sunday and
asked why I was in hiding, and though I didn’t say, “because you broke my heart,” I knew he
could hear it in my silence. For the second time, I was feeling the pang of unrequited love. The
words, “don’t be a fool” by the first guy I ever loved creeping back into my head. How dare men
call women who embrace their emotions “fools” though, right? There’s this quote by Zoey
Deschanel that says, “Being open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too
sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishywashy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.
Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart.
Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.” I felt stupid, for
a second, for being vulnerable again, but quickly realized this time the openness of my heart
gave room for Jesus.
My heart was spared for the sake of having God completely take over. God literally wanted me
to witness His restoration. So, God sent a young man, the perfect bait to reel me in, to open my
heart back up, so He may expose itto make me acknowledge, make me see that He, the
Beginning and the End is the only one who can make my heart whole. “Many are the plans in the
mind of a man, but it is the purpose of The Lord that will stand.” ESV Proverbs 19:21
I wanted so badly for Warren to be ‘the one,’ but Jesus was like, “no, sorry, you need to realize I
am THE ONE.” The underlying issue here is that I’ve put my faith in people, expecting them to
react the way I react, expecting them to give as much as I give. But it is absolutely treacherous to
think humans anything higher; we all like the idea of having someone physically there, to mend
our heart and fill the void. It’s a nice idea, really, and for a while it happensbut reality sets and
you realize that they’re human too. For the longest time, I thought if I found the right one, they’d
make my world so much better. And when they didn’t make my world so much better, I was
crushed. I thought my worth relied on someone’s ability to love me; I couldn’t have been more
wrong. God intricately placed these two men in my life with absolute purpose. I needed to open
my eyes to the truth that God is the only one who can mend my heart and fill the void. Once I
surrendered, once I let go of my need for control, I found myself feeling that happy I so badly
chased in the world. The kind of happy only Jesus can provide, joy. It was absolutely freeing.
We shouldn’t let the fear of unrequited love stop us from ever falling in love, nor should the
stigma behind vulnerability create walls. Feeling deeply is beautiful. Being completely enthralled
by an emotion can be inspiring.
Falling in love in high school unveiled the writer in me. Saying hello to the young man who
walked into my store, opened the door to the glory and grace of Jesus Christ. It sounds morbid
and strange saying out loud, “I am so glad my heart was broken” but it’s true. I am so glad my
heart was broken both of those times. I am so grateful for unrequited love because through it, I
have realized that I deserve so much more. God knows and sees our worth and He will send us
on journeys so that we won’t be compelled to settle. He wants to turn our mess into a message
and that is what He’s done thus far. We should make it a point to fall absolutely in love with
Jesus first. I understand now, that if anyone should be mad about unrequited love, it’s God. We
fail to reciprocate His love every single day, yet how many times does He show us grace upon
grace? way too many times. I think about that today and I am mindblown. It’s awesome to know
I don’t have to be afraid, that none of us have to be afraid to love people, to embrace our
vulnerability because we have a God that is fighting daily for us.
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