My Thoughts Exactly: Let’s talk love

Kendall McElhaney

Welcome to my new column. I have some thoughts to share with you. Surprise, surprise. 

I was sitting at home with my dear friend Vodka the other night, and I began to think about a wide variety of things. I started thinking about dating, which led me to think about attraction, then to orientations, preferences, then on to gender expressions, hairstyles, the GOP, American capitalism, Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons,” then finally to deep, romantic love. (I also probably thought about homework and future life choices in there somewhere, too, or least, I know I was supposed to.)


 Somewhere in my thoughts about lust, trust and pixie dust, I started evaluating what I know about love. My final conclusion is that love is tricky, and I have no idea how it works. Please send help.

In the grand scheme of things, I believe connection is something we’re all striving for. Whether that be with an intimate partner of our choosing or with ourselves, it can be assumed we’re all searching for feelings of validation, affirmation and ultimately whole-ness. We’re told that there are certain societal scripts that must be followed in order for this to happen, but I’m here to remind you that they are merely guidelines. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: ABC Family has lied to us. Love isn’t always hand-holding in the snow while Norah Jones sings softly in the distance. Love isn’t always passionate, stomach-turning kisses during the “big game” right as the rain falls down and wake my dreams. Love isn’t always fun, or easy, or wise. But it can be.

What I had yet to recognize is that these feelings are readily at my finger tips, completely under my control, waiting for me to take the plunge and foster them with that special someone. What freaks me out the most is that potentially I could meet “the one” during my time at this wonderful institute of higher learning. That lucky fool.

The more thought I put into this, the more I want to address with all of you my concern, because, is anyone else freaking out? I’m talking about forever here. Not-joking forever, like when you would get matching BFF necklaces from Claire’s with a girl you went to summer camp with. I mean forever forever. I’m talking joint bank account, un-ironic vacations in Florida, children’s birthday parties, seeing John Mayer live, gentrification in Oakland kind of love. We’re just supposed to find someone we can tolerate for the rest of our days, praying that they like a different kind of cereal than you so you don’t have to share or awkwardly buy two boxes of cinnamon toasties. That’s what I have to look forward to? I used to say count a sister out, but begrudgingly I am overrun with desires of holiday plans in the bay area, spontaneous road trip playlists that perfectly capture our feelings for one another, poetry scribbled on napkins in truck stops and a strange affinity for cuddling even when it’s hot outside. It’s gross, and I need help. 

The mockery of love, otherwise known as any book Stephanie Meyers has ever written, is something I have made a habit of contributing to for many years now. However, recently I have been thinking a lot about the idea of love and it turns out that I’m a romantic. A twisted, sarcastic, southern romantic, but I can’t deny these feelings anymore. This is real, this is me, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Suddenly every love song makes me smile, and I could feel my heart growing three sizes that day. I meet new people and they begin to fall into a new category once foreign to me: “possible.” 

My advice for anyone attempting to be someone’s someone is to jump in, feet first, without any hesitation. Life is scary and then you die. We have to live our lives while we’re in them. We simply don’t have enough time on this earth to spend not living authentically and loving wholeheartedly. 

My favorite author, Paulo Coelho, once said, “One day you’ll wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” I think about this a lot, especially now that the possibility of love is on my radar.

I think it’s important to point out that no one love story looks the same. They are all different and genuine and worthy. Just because you don’t kiss under mistletoe or send messages in a bottle doesn’t mean your love is any less special. It also doesn’t mean it can’t be what you always imagined. You have to be vulnerable and willing to advocate for what you want in your relationships. 

Though this is a new idea for me, I must say it’s really exciting. Granted, I am most likely going to get my heart broken fairly soon, and it’s going to hurt like hell. But good news, everyone, tragedy is comedy’s annoying little sister, so you’ll all benefit from my imminent doom. Until then, I am hopeful. I am eager. I am single.

Collegian Columnist Kendall McElhaney prefers her puns intended. She be reached at or on Twitter @kendallaftrdark.