Right now I’m listening to Dean Lewis’s EP, and I can feel my heart beating right out of my chest and my hands shaking. I can feel myself this way because I know I’m in love, and I think it’s with someone who doesn’t feel the same.

26 days ago, I saw him for the first time in five months, and when I saw him I thought ‘wow, how did I get so happy so fast?’. On top of that I also thought one hundred other things like ‘when did he get so good looking?’ and ‘why am I shaking uncontrollably?’. At that point, I told myself his newly-grown facial hair was what made him so much more attractive to me, and that the night cold was the reason I was shaking the way I was; but it wasn’t. It was because I was in love with the boy, and I didn’t even know it…

So to give you a bit of a background on my love life, I’ve always been a dater. I give too many people chances they don’t deserve. I’m the ‘queen’ of dramatic romances, but trust me when I say it isn’t on purpose. Granted, I do a lot of it to myself by making mistakes that I don’t always learn from, but let me tell you that I do not appreciate or ask for the endless nights spent crying over people who didn’t deserve my tears, and I do not enjoy the ache left in my hand as a result of endless handwritten journal entries. My point is, I’ve never found the right guy and I’ve never been in love. Until now.

Flash forward to two weeks later at McDonald’s in the middle of the night with my best friend and her boyfriend and we’re all sat there in this small booth, drinking frozen cola’s and listening to me tell the story of Ian* and I. And there I am talking and answering questions and I’m trying to control my heart beat and I’m fiddling with the cola in my hand and the boyfriend is looking strangely at me and then at his girlfriend and then it comes out.

‘So do you love him?’

At first, I didn’t hear him and instead heard my friend say to him ‘why would you ask that? Don’t ask that’ and when I asked him to repeat the question, he asked if I ‘like’ him… but I knew that wasn’t the question, and I was right. It was something about hearing it out loud that scared me and suddenly I was shedding tears one by one, trying to hold back, but I couldn’t. I just kept telling them, ‘of course I like him, I have since I met him. All I’ve wanted to be since I met him is someone he wants, but I don’t love him’. But they knew.

And that was the moment I knew.

Maybe I knew what I felt but didn’t want to admit it. But what I know for sure is that I hadn’t been in love and I’ve grown up watching relationships fall into place and people live happily ever after like Chuck and Blair in Gossip Girl, and Annie and Liam in 90210. I thought that was what love is, two people being together, but I learned the hard way that love isn’t always there when you’re searching and it’s right under your nose when the thought isn’t even on your mind, when you aren’t asking for it.

I don’t want to be in love with him.

I want to be in love with someone I’m with, someone who loves me too, not someone who is leaving my heart with an ache every time I see his name on my screen, or see him smile, or watch take care of his younger brothers, or even wash the dishes like the crazy, adventurous and beautiful adult figure that he is. I hate it. I want a fairy tale love, not a love that keeps me alone in bed every night wondering where he is or what he’s doing or when he’s going to hold me again, the way he did that night.

That’s the thing though; you don’t get to choose love, it chooses you. And though I haven’t said it aloud to anyone, myself included, I know that it’s why I’m feeling the way I am now. Ian’s the first person I’ve ever been in love with, and I don’t even get to share that with him, even though I should.

He was my first official date, and the first that I ever introduced to my strict father (as a friend, of course). He’s the one I wanted when I met him on my 18th birthday, at a club. He’s the one I secretly hoped was serious when he told me he wanted to take me to dinner one day, the same night that we met and the same night that I played the ‘smart girl’ who knew better than to fall for a drunken guy’s promise to take her out. For all I knew, he’d kissed other girls that night and said the same thing to them all, and while I was naïve, I knew enough to know that people go out for a reason, and that reason isn’t to look for love.

To this day my sister still says, ‘ew, I’m not going to meet the love of my life at a club’…are you sure, sis? Because I did.

Ian has been in my life for almost 2 years now, and what a complicated couple of years it’s been. It feels like the timing is just never right for us. We’re always taking two steps forward and one step back. And I feel like to him, it’s no big deal. It doesn’t matter, he’s a few years older and he’s living his life, never in the same place for too long. Then there’s me, following a strict 5-year plan, with hopes and dreams and goals to reach and someone to be. I don’t have the luxury of dropping my plans to be adventurous like he is, I’ve never lived the life that he does. Yet somehow, every year when we see each other again after being apart for so long, it’s like we haven’t missed a day.

I love him. I’m not even saying that out loud, yet my heart is beating faster at the fear of admitting so.

Love is a great thing, I’m sure. It’s like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it. You can hear it in the silence, when you’re sat in the car in the middle of a paddock, just enjoying each other’s company in that moment. It’s wondering around the botanical gardens with his hand in your pocket and stealing kisses on a beautiful day. It’s the feeling you get when you’re wanting his lips on yours in the pouring rain because even though you’re laughing at each other’s messy hair, you still can’t help but feel the way you do.

Love is patient in times apart and appreciative of the moments spent together. It’s listening to Dean Lewis sing ‘you don’t know what it’s like to fall in love with you, and you don’t know what it’s like when you can’t go back’ and having all of your moments with him come flooding back to you in one heartbeat.

But Ian*, when we’re together and you give me that smile, I feel myself forgetting to breathe, and I feel my heart breaking. I’m always wondering if it’s killing you like it’s killing me, and if you can see it in my eyes when you look at me and I’m looking at you like a fool, hopelessly in love with you and that fairy tale ending we once talked about, where I was Jasmine and you were my Aladdin. Just two people from different worlds, proving the love that exists.

But it’s just my luck. I’m in love with someone who isn’t in love with me too. It’ll all work out, they say. If it’s meant to be, it will be, just like the notebook, they say. But I don’t want to wait. It hurts my heart to wait, but there’s nothing I can do about the boy; the boy who just announced he’ll be freelancing Europe for the next two years, and invited me to join him, like it was as easy as 1,2,3 to drop my half completed university degree to ‘live my life’ and travel alongside him.

So this is where I stand. I’m in love with a boy I can’t be with, the one who’s getting away quicker than the racing beat of my heart.


Flash forward to right now, one month later and it hits me...

We are everything we want to be. Us females? We DO run the world, and we decide our future and we don't need anybody to make us happy but ourselves.

So i conquered my biggest fear... and i told him how i felt.

With the boy being so far away and never having any reception to pick up my calls, I could do nothing but text him, absolutely pouring my heart out.

Only i didn't tell him i love him.

What i did say was that i haven't stopped thinking about him, and i need to hear what he has to say. I told him that i need to know what he's thinking too, whether it's good or not. I told him i couldn't wait any longer to have this conversation in person, like i'd prefer. And I told him that i needed to know what we were so that i could do me, and move on with my life.

The outcome? Not so good.

Pouring my heart out? It broke my heart.

The response? 'Hey, yeh i'm dating someone atm Loreen but i'd love to see you when i'm back'

Yeah... But i wasn't going to wonder why he invited me to travel, said the things he did, or held me to sleep that night, all while he was dating this girl. Instead, all i could do was cry.

And just so you all know, it's okay to cry your eyes out. Cry until you can't breathe anymore, because it's okay to be hurt, and the one that you deserve isn't going to break your heart like it's broken right now, so let it all out and start clean and do it while you listen to Taylor Swift's 'Begin Again'. Just cry.

But that's when it stops. That same day. And that is when you look at the mess you are, and see so much more.

It's when you see your worth, your beautiful eyes, your loving soul. It's when you see that it's time to love yourself until you're ready to love again.

In the words of our beloved High School Musical, Taylor, 'But there will be other guys'

#ILOVEME (...gonna love myself, no i don't need nobody else)

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of others