I have always thought that saying, “I LOVE YOU” felt too sentimental. It’s a phrase that creates mushy feelings and breaks hymens. Relationships become committed, emotions get attached, and marriage is all of a sudden a real conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a problem saying it when I’m with someone. But I’ve always preferred to use the Indian pronunciation, “I LOWE YOU”. The Indian accent does wonders for comic relief, and in this case, makes the word LOVE sound funny, as I believe the meaning should be. Love is often taken too seriously, in my opinion, and my life experiences have taught me not to take ANYTHING seriously. However, it wasn’t until I got out of a very attached relationship that I truly understood this.
In July 2003 I went on a trip to Southeast Asia to attend a cousin’s wedding. While I was there I met a girl that I was completely enamored by. I thought she was so pretty and enjoyed hanging out with her. During the festivities, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and I felt we had a strong connection. However, I wasn’t about to get into an intercontinental relationship. Instead, we said our goodbyes and established a great friendship. Over the next couple of years, though we hadn’t seen each other, we still kept in touch periodically. But then in the fall of 2005 she moved to New England to attend college and I thought this was my perfect opportunity to see her again.
When she moved to New England we started talking a lot more frequently and we still felt a strong connection for each other. As a result, we met each other that October and had a great time together. We felt so compatible with each other that we decided to engage in a long distance relationship. As time went on, we struggled to see each other as often as we would’ve liked, but our love for each other kept growing. She was only going to be in America for 2 years before she would have to move back home, so the topic of our future was brought up very often. We planned that we would get married and live out the rest of our lives together. This was the goal we wanted to attain because we believed in our relationship. But life had a completely different plan for us.
About 9 months into our relationship I fell off my 3rd floor balcony and became a paraplegic. When she heard the news she was completely devastated. I felt so guilty for how much my situation affected my family, close friends, and especially HER. I contemplated ending the relationship because this wasn’t part of the plan we had, and I didn’t want to put her through the emotional turmoil she was already experiencing. But when we spoke she assured me that she wasn’t going anywhere, and that she was going to be there for me, no matter what. I was in such a vulnerable state that having her support me in the most drastic situation of my life was extremely comforting. I felt that I couldn’t express my emotions to my family because of how emotionally affected they already were, so I confided in her with everything I was going through. She would always tell me that she was my “rock”, and was happy that she could fulfill that role for me. I appreciated her so much and wanted to just BE with her, but my lack of independence and our distance made it very difficult to see each other. Our relationship, for the most part, was based on phone conversations and video chat, which would get very frustrating after extended periods of time. However, as frustrating as it was, it was about to get a lot worse for us.
In June 2007 she graduated from college and moved back to Southeast Asia. We now had to deal with a 12-hour time difference and a third world Internet connection. It was so tough to have a relationship in these conditions, and to add to it we had no idea when we were going to see each other again. I used this as motivation as I traveled and tried out different treatments, but nothing was working. I was so afraid of losing her because I was convinced that she was the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. Additionally, I was too afraid of moving forward in my situation without her because I didn’t think anybody else would love me like she did. However, time took its toll and our conversations were about what we were supposed to do next. Because of our uncertainties, it became clear to her that we had to break up in order for us to be able to move forward with our respective lives. This was extremely hard for me to accept, but I understood her perspective and painfully agreed. And just like that in November 2008 our relationship was over.
Break ups are a motherfucker. This was a very upsetting time for me because nothing in my life was what I planned for. I was now paralyzed and lost the girl I planned to be with. I remember being angry with God for the way HE had let my life unfold. However, in time I was able to break the attachment I had for the past, and finally move forward with my life. I realized she was right; we had to break up in order for us to appreciate the present and look forward to the future in our own perspectives. And I was now able to understand the purpose that she fulfilled for my life during my toughest times. She gave me unconditional love and support that made me feel connected to somebody at a time where I felt disconnected from everything else in my life. In knowing this, I realized that even though we weren’t together anymore, I would always love her. But this love was different. This love was without attachment to any certain outcome that we were supposed to be. In fact, it wasn’t even love anymore, it was LOWE.
Love for anybody who has truly experienced it will realize it can be quite deceptive. It makes you feel so good that it’s so easy to get attached to it. I have now learned that true love is without attachment. It is for this reason that I choose the funnier sounding “LOWE” over LOVE. Lowe, to me, is the ability to love without expectation. Life is full of surprises and you really never know what is going to come next. As Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” It is this lesson that has taught me to always “go with the flow” in my life. Going with the flow means accept everything and resist nothing. I spent so much time living in the past and not accepting the present that I could not progress as an individual. But I now understand that life is better lived from a detached perspective so you can truly live in the moment and look forward to the future. I feel very lucky for being able to experience the relationship that I went through because of everything that I learned from it. It has taught me the true meaning of the word “LOVE”. This word may not be LOVE for me anymore, but it will forever be LOWE.