Personal Notes: When I First Found Love In A Hopeless Place


Who knew I’d be watching Rihanna’s new video “We Found Love” and simultaneously be reliving my allegiance to my first boyfriend. Swells of emotion triggered flashbacks of my own teenage sins by the time Rih and her male lead were kissing by the fireworks. Fuck. Right then, I realized that this particular video was playing my life with its imagery, and the song is now speaking volumes. I was only 16 years old when I found love like you see in those visuals, and, man, it was catastrophic.

Although Rihanna delves into this track with high-energy, the way certain people perceive this type of adoration is a far cry from what she’s, so honestly, tapping into on the record. There are the good girls who never even imagine being alone with a guy at that age (let alone smoking a shotgun with him), but then there are the instinctively wild badasses who aren’t afraid to bask in the looming darkness of love. I’m the latter, and I openly welcomed the eclipse.

At such a young age, I was in the ’til-death-do-us-part depths of my heart with this guy. Young love? For certain. Real love? Most definitely. I was totally and passionately interwoven into his every breath, his every movement, his every thought, and I could barely do any of those things on my own without him. Yeah, there were the fights that scared the shit out of onlookers, the high BAC levels that amplified the destruction and ultimately the walk of shame right back to him, but none of those demoralizing events made me want to break up. Never in a million years. What most people don’t understand is that kind of love has an uncontrollable power, a hold so strong that it tricks your mind into healing from the hurt. I could see myself in him. I saw specks of his potential at every turn, whether he was cheating on me or cuddled up next to me watching a movie. There were no limits for the two of us–both so far and unconditionally gone.

There’s a good chunk of folks who don’t experience the intensity of love in the way that I had, but to see bits of my life exploding in this 4-minute clip is sobering. There’s a raw fanaticism to loving someone like that while naïveté and adolescence are egging you on. Should love be taken there? Absolutely. In a twisted manner, pushing that envelope to its absolute limit allowed me to find myself and define love in a mature, healthy way. Maybe that’s why I never understood the uproar of protesting adults when Rih and Chris Brown got burned by their fire and she went back. What people fail to realize is that it’s not 24-hour-long romp sessions sparked by ecstasy, ill-fated pasts or even tumultuous tiffs. It’s the haunting nascence of the bond–the instant attraction, the smiles, the laughs–that keeps you wanting more of this uncontrollable and deeply connected thing.

In my movie-styled life, it got so bad that my best friend put me on her own 24-hour watch when it was finally over. After the fistfights ended and the yelling stopped, I swam inside my own depression, mostly, in silence. Where mutual understanding and support once lived, shame, resentment and hate now resided. Now three years past the pain, I have seen much better days, even though the movie never ends. Rihanna painted an incredible illustration of what this hopeless place looks like, indirectly confessing that she will never fully recover. We all never do. Sure, she may smile, give her well-written, PR-soaked speeches and date other people, but just as an addict will always feel the sting of their last high, a person who hangs that dangerously off the cliff of love will always chase the feeling of falling. Trust, although I’ve grown from being that 16-year-old girl, some days I still wish that I could have all that bad stuff back just to have the good.