Love and Its Many Faces

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To the girl still looking for the perfect definition of love,

Sometimes, I think that love’s got a coat rack for all the costumes it wears every day. Love looks different, depending on who’s looking.

Sometimes, love is sweet. It puts on a dress and plays in a meadow. It is safe and innocent, a lot like shy, stolen glances and butterfly kisses in kindergarten. It is nervous as most first dates, and uncertain as the question “Will you go to the prom with me?” This love is not self-seeking, it’s not hungry, it’s just . . . hopeful. It sighs in a bedroom, writes poetry when it rains, and when the night comes, it wishes on stars. It’s the love of daydreamers, of hearts that believe in the stuff of fairy tales.

But there are also times when love is a raging bull. It sees red. It gets angry, and it seethes and seeks to fight a war. It is the passion of soldiers defending their homeland, the fury of mothers when their children get hurt. Love is the fierce heart of a lover who sees someone threatening his beloved, it has one ambition — to protect the beloved at all costs.

There are times when love is like a trapeze artist, swinging in the air — up then down before coming back up again. Then there are times, when love hangs on tight and lets the wind push it forward. And there are moments when love is motivated by adrenaline, euphoria, risk, and adventure, and it abandons logic and surrenders to faith. Sometimes love stands at the edge of the cliff and, with all the courage that it has, takes a leap.

Love can be a marching band, a celebration, a party. Love can be loud and boisterous, it can wear outrageous colors, dress audaciously and laugh as if life were a comedy sketch.

But love can be quiet, too: sitting in a corner with its hair tied up and makeup wiped off. Love can be the hand that holds you when there are no words left. It can be the whisper before bedtime or the comfortable silence between two best friends. Love can be the smile of a stranger on a train. Yes, love can be passionate and furious, but it can also be gentle and knowing. It can be both, it can be neither; but it is always, always beautiful.

Although sometimes, love gets ugly.

Love can distort its face until we can barely recognize it. It can look so bad that we cringe just being in its presence. Sometimes love doesn’t stay for the long haul but offers one last solution: parting.

When love is ugly, people cry hysterically on their pillows under their bed covers or in their cars in parking lots. They shake their fists at the sky and ask too many questions. They curl up and hide. That’s when people learn to become ugly, too. They doubt. They make bold announcements like, “Never again!”

Yet, in the middle of their grand conclusions, love will show up by their side once more, new and freshly shaven. It will gently cup their hardened hearts and plant a hundred kisses on their faces, whispering “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” until the flowers of hope learn to grow again.

But the best love is the lamb-to-the-slaughter kind of love. It’s the most vulnerable, the most real. It’s the groom who waits as his bride throws profanities at his face. She charges towards him — red-hot rage running through her veins — but he does not balk. He receives her with a grace that is grand in its goodness. He holds her as she hits him; he says, “I do,” anyway.”


It’s the wife who forgives even after her husband’s heart has wandered beyond all possibility of coming back. The husband makes a promise, breaks it again and, as a final act of betrayal, leaves her. But she forgives him anyway. She waits for him by the window even if all her friends think she’s the biggest fool on the planet. She holds on to the smallest grain of hope for his return. She waits.

Love can be devastatingly kind. It gains nothing besides the simple pleasure of emptying itself out.

Love is the Man who takes the blame, who feels the whip on His battered back, and carries a wooden beam. He climbs the hill, and is nailed to the cross even though he did no wrong, all because of love.

Yours truly,

The girl who knows that love can’t be put in a box


This is an excerpt from Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God by Isa Garcia. This is available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshops and our online store, for P550.

About the Book:

Isa Garcia believes that everybody deserves love letters. She wrote these letters in Found for you: the girl who has been feeling a bit lost; the girl who likes to run from pain; the girl who is ready to go; the girl who is a lot of things at one time or another. Isa knows that there are days when you would need to be reminded that you matter, you are not alone, and the world is a far better place with you in it. 

In this book, may you find a friend who takes you as you are, a safe space for your secret hopes and fears, and the assurance that no matter where you are in your life right now, you will always be found. 

Illustrated, full-colored, pull-out postcards of quotes from the book

Isa Garcia is a teacher, social advocate, and optimist. She has loved writing her whole life and feels that this book is the fulfillment of her eleven-year-old self’s greatest dream. She is grateful. 

What Crae Achacoso likes to do most is create. She is curious and passionate, and she loves asking big questions, searching for answers, and ultimately just trying to figure out how to love better. She is a graphic artist and art director for a magazine.