by Lynn Kim Do

My Love Language

Everyone has a love language. And, then what? What do you do with that? Cupid has an influx of bows eager to pierce through the thick pink air of love also known as Valentine’s Day. And he needs to reach his quota, so you should to pray that the cute baby-like winged sucker is in a good mood to suit you with a tolerable partner. 

Red Gown - Vintage // Denim - Dolce & Gabanna // Red Bandana - Cara Cotton

As she was speaking, all of her words deeply dressed her past. Yes, but not the kind of retrospection that explicitly belonged to her, it was the kind of relationship she had or thought she had with her parents that captivated me. I kept digging into my friend’s relationship with her parents, admittedly with no normal social constructed barriers  to see if my questions were making her uncomfortable. She answered each question with more poise than actual offense. Funny how friends can easily let their guards down over something as odd and innocent as virgin Ginger Beer and Jamaican Pork. Thankfully so. Her more recent and enlightened understanding for the ups and downs, needs and cravings, flaws and admiration with her parents and between her parents left tiny folds in my mind. Like pages in a book to be revisited, to be explored, to be deciphered, an imprint that will quickly inject itself on to many conversations thereafter. Like in meetings, at the water-cooler, and with my other friends.

Why? You ask. And if that question does not burn deep inside your ear as if someone is smearing your name in hot manure on your front lawn, well, I will answer it anyway. Like great stories and life-changing epiphanies, a conversation, a dialogue, an interaction should benefit you as much as it benefits them. It should enthrall you as it engulfs them. The storyteller gets to take a load off on your chest, as you absorb their pain, their joy, their secrets, to find redemption in yours. It’s when she explicitly confronted the common culprit behind many misunderstandings—love language—that my mind became fully intrigued by this soon to be invasive thought. 

Everyone has a dominant and unique love language. The first time I heard this term was from my stardust soulmate who resides many tragic miles away. He asked me if I had ever read The Five Love Languages to which I said, “Uh, no.” My curiosity lead me to this website which promises to tell me my love language, as well as 500 million dollars cash on the left banner, and kitty porn on the header. I remember getting some sort of answer that was relevant enough, I’m sure, but quite honestly, love language never crossed my mind again until this week. 

Why? You may be asking again. Seems to be the theme of my life, a series of whys, but this time, I didn’t have an answer. Maybe because something clicked in my mind as my friend was putting spoonfuls of Jamaican pork and plantains into her mouth while divulging her parents’ love language and how their differences have always balanced one another out. Beyond that, this story isn't about how opposites attract—her mother being a women of action, her father a man of words. It is the two of them individually identifying each other’s love expression and supporting it, understanding it, and not necessarily changing it but just making them appreciative of one another’s love language pros and cons, that is worthwhile. 

The lovely relationship between her parents made me think of my own love language and my past and current relationships. And what kind of relationships I had in the past. And why they didn’t work out. For instance, my last boyfriend is a man of actions, very much a zero emotions guy. He has never verbally expressed how I made him feel nor did he regularly complimentary. He always made sure I was fed, always with the best kind of company, and that I had to walk closer to the inside of the sidewalk. I thought I didn't need the gushy, mushy things but I did. And I still do. Boy, did I realize how much of a romantic I actually am! And that itself killed me but it taught me a valuable lesson on myself. So on top of owning a particular love language, I realized that the love language you may need could actually be the opposite of the love language you own. And to make matters more confusing, you may need more than one love language to fulfill your need, which then organizes into some sort of tier system. Personally, I am a woman of subtleties, nonverbal communication, and body language. I am a woman who believes that if I say something, anything, there will be an action coordinated with it. I am a solutionist. And right underneath that layer also sits a woman who believes in words, kindly asks for affirmations, poetry, and metaphors. I am an idealist. Oddly enough, I have always called myself an optimistic realist. I still don’t know the full capabilities of that identification but it sure feels appropriate to share right now.

So, I challenge you to think about your love language around this time when cupid has an influx of bows to pierce through the thick pink air of love also known as Valentine’s Day. And he needs to reach his quota, so you should to pray that the cute baby-like winged sucker is in a good mood to suit you with a tolerable partner. In the meantime, explore your needs and what you bring to the table. It will help you give your future partner a cheat sheet to deal with your crazy ass. 

Photos by Erika of Hague NYC