Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

To love and to be loved is to feel the iridescence of the human condition. 


I’m sure we’ve all had that one special person who we occasionally Google to see if they were as cute as we remembered. Or, perhaps you’re sent back to high school where you were sneaking furtive glances at them, looking for signs they liked you back. 

But lately, I’ve wondered what causes puppy love? The intoxicating feeling can arise within the space of seconds yet remain caged inside our chests for millenniums. A quick look can be just as enchanting as deep French-kissing. A fleeting crush has the tenacity to fuel even the most bitter with sugar-candy fantasies of love. It is a paradox.

A paradox that gives rise to many questions: What does it mean to love? What does it mean to be loved? What constitutes love? Its antithesis? Does love come in different forms? And if so, is infatuation a taste of love in an ecstatic form or is it just a hormonal buzz?  

Crushes are tricky. 

But what makes them so appealing?

In this eye-opening quote, Marcel Proust says: “It is our imagination that is responsible for love, not the other person.” Despite the fact that it feels like feelings and fantasies arise while staring at your beloved, love is truly housed in the mind. Your mind takes the desired and fills in the gaps about their personalities, likes, dislikes, and hobbies. Suddenly, the crush comes to life. The pleasure you feel comes from imagining the idea. 

Another hard-hitting truth about crushes: As Esther Perel says, love is not a permanent state of enthusiasm. Crushes may be, but love simply isn’t. To love is a verb, and with every moment of etheric bliss, comes the rawer bits of humanness – the tears, the lies, the pains, and those unforgotten hurts that linger. To love and to be loved is to feel the iridescence of the human condition. A crush only brushes against the tip of love. You taste unbridled euphoria and enthusiasm (which is part of its charm), but it is not love in its purest form.

Yet another truth that distinguishes crushes and love: Dr. Patricia Frisch says that true “love is a co-created narrative”. It takes two to tango and it takes two to create a book. One may illustrate, but both ultimately are penning an illustrious narrative. Writing a love story together takes verve, creativity, and candid honesty. A shared story deepens to something more elaborate and complex as time goes on. A crush, on the other hand, is a single narrative haphazardly forced onto an unsuspecting human being. There can be dangers in a single storyline; many plot points are left out and the story remains unfinished…

All in all, crushes are mind-mangling experiences. And you? What are your thoughts on crushes?