For the love of love [and other musings from the past 6 months]

The last few months have been full of love and life and loss, especially as the academic year comes to a close. There are some people who are no longer in my life because they had to leave or because our geographic locations have separated us or because we simply can’t help each other grow. For others, I’m not really sure why — but I know it was time to let go.

Now, I’m wondering if the love I need will ever come back to me. So I decided to compile all of my musings about love in one place. A lot of them have come at the hands of a leather notebook that is tattered and torn from being carried in every backpack I’ve owned as I’ve visited cities ranging from Vancouver to Bali and everything in between. This notebook is one the place where I’m actually honest — maybe it’s because this requires me to commit to putting ink on paper and I only know how to do that honestly. So, here we go — some of the most vulnerable things I’ve learned about love (and its many forms) recently.

On lessons learned

Love is a good thing. Maybe even the best of things

What I do not have is what I do not miss

I’ve noticed that cliches make more sense lately [the tell-tale sign of life experiences]

The work you do when you procrastinate is the work you should do every day

Fill innocence with awareness because that’s the way life goes

Approach conversations with deep respect

Work on problems that matter to you

Remember that the loudest voices in the room aren’t the only voices

I am feminine and I can be other things

Sometimes big writing occurs on tiny paper

You have always been the place

You were born to build

There is so much power in your name

Who you are is important to your work

Never stop being a good person because of good people

It will be okay

As long as there are stars above us

And ice cream scoops to try

And friends who see us for who we are

Distill complex problems into a story

When you write something, you should be kind to the reader

[a lesson learned through practice]

You can be known for telling stories

To ask: what are you making on the other side of grad school?

Light falls on all of us

I hope we can find what we need, whatever that means

On achieving my dreams / defining success

Our work is a mirror

Success isn’t concrete until you help someone get there

The students I work with are a big part of why I succeed

“Your idea of starting with stories goes beyond listening to users to collaborating with the ghosts — those unseen and unheard — past or present [isn’t it cool when your instructors see you for who you are?]

On relearning love

I thought my love could change the world

And when it didn’t

I didn’t know what to do next

Love will not heal me

But it will hold my hand

If I ever heal myself

She is everything I waited for

I have this envelope of butterflies from the first time she smiled in my direction

Our debut was a masterpiece

I know there was something radical about loving a person when all structures exist to keep that from happening

When you find love, you jump in

You don’t sit on the edge negotiating

How to keep your options open

The line “do I know how to be in love anymore” is echoing through my mind. But I think I know how to love deeply and care for people in my life. So, unconditional love can certainly be found at the hands of friends, especially those who console me at midnight about how much I’ve grown and jet off to nearby donut eateries and text me to remind me that I’m a 12/10

On healing

Things are different now. I am different. I am glowing on the inside and out. I am beaming. I love better. I talk about heartbreak less and love more. I let people know that they matter. I hurt — but I’m also here

I’ve long ago shed anything I wasn’t passionate about

We could all do more to take care of ourselves (especially as people of color)

You are stitched together with the stories of your ancestors and the light you find in everything and the kindness that continues to flow through your veins.

Writer at Microsoft | Human Centered Design and Engineering Alumna | Lifting as I climb | www.aleenahansari.com