CW: implied homo/transphobia, shitty parenting, suicidal ideation

Photo by Saif Memon / Unsplash

by Kasey Jay

Love is…

being born prematurely in June, underweight and tiny and beautiful. A product of love, and a caesarean-section after the first birth almost resulted in the first funeral.

proclaiming you can drink a whole bottle of milk and a whole bottle of orange juice in succession, to prove it doesn’t make you throw up. After a short ride to the hospital to meet your baby brother for the first time, you stop on the steps outside to throw up and your older brother says he told you so.

a tantrum at a birthday party because you got told off for putting bunny ears on your cousin’s head during family photos. It’s the lingering taste of macaroni cheese on your tongue as you hide away in the bathroom, ashamed not of your tears, but of the people who saw them.

going back to your childhood best friend over and over again after they hurt you, because you are clever, and you have learnt that this is what love is.

your school counsellor recommending you drop the university-track because the stress is turning your depression to suicidality, and sobbing silently as your mother argues against this decision.

your rice purity score dropping by 50 points within two months of your first real relationship, and comparing your score drunkenly with your coworkers after another hellish shift.

an audio recording on your phone you can’t listen to without having a panic attack. The most honest and awful conversation you’ve ever had with your parents, saved for posterity and left to gather dust.

losing your first job because the business got bought out, and your job wasn’t nearly as safe as your manager promised you it was.

your friends telling you to stop saying sorry, so you start to joke that it’s your favourite word. It’s definitely the one you say the most.

being told you are a trauma unto your parents, and your grandparents cannot know. When you are in a head-on collision with 5% charge left on your phone, they are your first  and only call, and they come right away.

Love is almost like that kind of pure, precious thing they write about in poems and the show on tv–at least it feels that way when you get the unconditional kind for the very first time.

Love is a thing that breathes and cries, lives and dies, and it is your story yet untold.

Kasey Jay is 21 and fighting in vain against their caffeine dependence. He is trying to improve his craft, but not so much that he becomes rich and famous.