I haven't had a genuine, life-altering crush in quite some time, at least not on anybody who I didn't see up on a stage or a television screen. Reading through a journal I kept when I was 17 proves that.
There was a boy in that book about whom I wrote almost every day (not to mention dozens of other crushes that were still more significant than anything I've had in the past five years). His name was Josh, and, whether I was gushing about getting to cuddle with him on a couch or fed up at him for not reciprocating my feelings, he was usually the first person on my mind at any given time.
My last crush resulted in a terrible three-year-long relationship through which I discovered the guy I'd fallen in love with was pretty much the complete opposite of who I thought he was. That experience may have ruined my ability to crush. How can you trust what you feel is real and not something you're making up in your head just because you miss feeling that way?
Thus, I remain 2-and-a-half years single. It's good. It's great, in fact. The thing is, life without love interests is, like, a bajillion times easier — a gazillion, even! However easy it may be, I guess it's only human to miss it sometimes. That awful feeling you get in your gut when discover you like-like someone that you know will only go away if you could just get him alone, if you could just brush his hand with yours, if you could just kiss him, if you could just hear him say, "I'm into you." It's a disgusting feeling, really. You can't eat, you can't focus, and you can't very well just say to his face that you like him because OMG WHAT IF HE DOESN'T LIKE YOU BACK?!
Crushes are half bliss and half misery — half basking in the glow of the one you (might) love and half completely sick that you aren't his girlfriend. While one part of you is dreamily thinking up what will happen the next time you meet, the other part is tormented for any number of reasons. It's hard to acknowledge the torment when you're walking on a cloud, but it's there. And eventually, something even worse happens: You get over the crush. It doesn't even bother you at the time, because you don't realize you've become dead inside. You're just happy all those butterflies have stopped fluttering around your vital organs. What a relief to have a) landed a relationship with your crush; b) lost interest in your crush; c) suffered amnesia.
But it's always still there, just a little bit, right? Eventually you grow up and move on. A phantom feeling still remains when you think about him. It's no longer because you want to be with him, but it's nostalgia for when you did, for all those things you thought he could have been but never was. You know who he is now, and you understand why things turned out the way they did, and you don't regret the outcome, and yet a very miniscule part of you continues to wonder, what if? Because no matter the reality, the enchantment of a crush is immortal.
I can't help but still think of Josh fondly, and even that ex who I know I wouldn't have even had a crush on in the first place had I known then what kind of person he is. In honor of the bewildering and ambiguous nature of a crush, here is a mix illustrating the spectrum of feelings it brings.
You Lost At Love, But Here's Your Consolation Prize.
A Radio Free Chicago Mix
Jake Ryan- Summer Camp
"You could be my heartbreaker, you could be everything. I can't wait to burn your letters."
I Wanna Be Your Dog - Uncle Tupelo
"So messed up, I want you here in my room. I want you near."
Am I Normal? - Art Brut
"I saw you standing over there with your friends and I knew this time had to be the time, so I boldly start walking towards you."
Boyfriend - Best Coast
"I hope that he's at home, waiting by his phone. I wonder if he knows that I want him."
What If - Bombay Bicycle Club
"If only one of us had the guts tonight."
More of You - The Avett Brothers
"I get your number, I don't wanna wait. I get your number, I call you today."
I've Made Enough Friends - The Wrens
"We look for reasons to stand closer, touching."
Garbage Truck - Sex Bob-Omb
"I know you wanna ride on my garbage truck (truck truck truck)."
I Want Some More - Dan Auerbach
"I'm just a kid and you're a walking candy store."
Love Liquid Wraparound - Super Deluxe
"When I look at you, I swear I lose control. Once I have you, I'll never let you go."
Want - Jawbreaker
"This time I gotta say it straight. I mean to do some good. I'm calling out your name while the chance remains."
See You Again - The Hard Lessons
"When you fall asleep, do you ever think of me? 'Cause I always think of you."
Valentine - The School
"Tell me that you'll think about it, I really need to hear about it."
I Was Made for You - Rivers Cuomo
"Cause I was made for loving you, and all the little things you do remind me who I am inside."
It's Tough to Have a Crush - Ok Go
"It's tough to have a crush when it only leaves you blue."