By: Dorsa Rahbar
I first heard the word crush when I was six.
Inside my primary school’s washroom, a couple of girls from class were discussing the phenomenon while giggling and laughing. I remember feeling confused, so I asked them what they meant by the word. Laughing, they asked me how I could possibly not know what a crush was. The girls went on to explain that a crush is what happens when you like, like someone.
I developed my own crush when I was seven. His name was Brandon, he was blond, blue-eyed, and he was fast. Brandon was always running because he was on the school's track team, and I sometimes found myself having a hard time finding him at lunch. This was heavily problematic for my seven-year-old self, as Brandon was a year older, and the only time I would get to see him was at lunch. I didn't dare tell anyone about my crush because I wanted to hold on to this warm, fuzzy feeling. At seven years old, I could never imagine liking anyone, any more than I liked Brandon. The thing was, Brandon didn’t even know I existed. But just knowing that I would get to see him at lunch, running around and chasing his friends, brought me a familiar sense of comfort that no one else could provide.
When I think about my first crush or even the concept of love, I think of Brandon. Because while nothing ever happened between us, not even a conversation in my case, Brandon was my first real crush. Brandon made me realize that I did care for boys, I did want to experience Cinderella’s happily ever after, and I certainly wanted him to like, like me. I moved shortly after, and Brandon’s fascination would be replaced by an array of other crushes throughout my adolescence. Of course, I never loved him, but he will always hold a special place in my heart.
In my teenage years, I craved another sort of love: friendships. I didn’t have a best friend or a group of close friends until my late adolescence. For years, I was obsessed with finding best friends, people who I could love and care for. Each year I would be on the scout for friends, though, just like school, we would only last two semesters. But when I did find them at the end of high school and early in university, I knew that I had found myself people I loved, platonically we were soulmates.
The thing about love is that it’s either so much more or so much less than how we individually define it. Up until a few years ago, my idea of love was mostly romantic. Of course, I loved my parents and family, but I believed that it was a different kind of love. I always thought love was the type we see in the movies; the main character meets the love interest, they get together, some action and/or climax is resolved, and they end up together, forever. But the more I age, the more I experience different kinds of love.
Love to me, and love to you, are two separate ideas. For you, it could be love for anime, music, gaming, science— the list goes on. This philosophy is something I’ve come to realize at twenty-one. Because love is more than just sappy romcoms and happily ever afters. It’s about what you enjoy, care for, and hold dearly to your heart. It makes your eyes go big and your heart grow soft. When I think about the people I love, characters, books, films, games, they are so different from one another. However, one thing they have in common is the way I care and feel deeply for them. Because all of us deserve to be loved and not judged by who and what we love.