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Love Is, Actually... Pretty Fucking Unromantic

Jessie MaComment

My Dearest Arthur,

The first few pages of our our Story are, as cliché as cliché gets – straight out of fairy tale. We tumbled into this magical, glittery, dream-like world of 3 am-childhood-memory-confessing, ridiculously-nuanced-inside-joke-inventing, essay-long-Love-poem-texting – bliss. We became addicts that overdosed on the tingles that raced through our bloodstreams when we kissed a new part of each others’ bodies for the first time. My hands, my forehead, the dimples near my lips ("limples"). Your chest, your eyelids, the back of your neck. Every time, like lightning. We discovered parallel after parallel in each others’ pasts that must mean that the Universe somehow conspired for us to have had these experiences, so that we’d be able to connect in this specific way, perfectly, with each other.


“You’re my Soul Mate,” you’d tell me. “The Love of my life.”

I wrote in my journal that I had found “The One.”

With a rush of euphoria, and partially, relief, we decided that this was “it.” 

And we fell… Deeply, irrevocably, undeniably 

in Love.

But the next few chapters held some plot twists, didn't they?


It was NOT that the illusion faded as we segued out of the honeymoon phase.

No, I didn’t notice your annoying habits; you didn’t get fed up with my flaws. No, we didn't turn petty disagreements into arguments. 

No, no, no. Nothing that everyday.

A Love this idyllic wouldn't have budged over a squabble. 

It takes a shitshow. 

And indeed, in a tragic, cruel, (I wish I was exaggerating) K-drama-esque fashion,





And it didn’t stop. That’s the most perplexing thing (y u do dis, God?) – it wasn’t one fight that snowballed into something unmanageable.

It was a whole mess of separate events: some, actually out of our control, some (we could only later admit), totally our own doings, and the worst – some that served as platforms for more mistakes, more pain, more resentment to breed through the clumsy ways we handled them.

One after another. Blow after blow.

Each episode in our series of unfortunate events were so complex and deeply cutting that they are deserving of their own dedicated posts – (probably 10 each) – but what I’ll elaborate here is:

Everything that could possibly go wrong in a relationship, went wrong.

We lost trust, lost respect, lost Faith in what we once believed with so much conviction.

Something I felt, in my heart of hearts, to be unshakeable…

was shook.

Don't get me wrong – we still interacted with much sweetness and Love, didn't we? It wasn't the feeling that was challenged. 

Rather, we began to question if we should be together.

Our Faith was shaken.

"You make me believe in God."

Every time I asked you how much you Loved me, you'd tell me this, over and over.

Each experience, too serendipitous to be anything else. This wasn't just two people falling in Love. There was something inexplicable, something higher, something holy. 

God brought us together. You convinced me of that. 

Then... He started to give us all these challenges that we really couldn't handle.

"Is he telling us that our time's up? That we helped each other the most we could, but that we should let go now?"

"Or, is he giving us promises within these problems? Is he teaching us more lessons so that we'd be even better for each other?"

I couldn't figure out what He wanted us to do.

We both looked for signs everywhere. We went to church and begged for answers.

Something, someone, to tell us what to do. What was right. What was meant to be.


As you get older, you start to realize, not through a Thot Catalog article or a Instagraphic quote, but through some real ass experience, that:

Everything is a choice.

It’s the most liberating, yet cripplingly heavy and anxiety-inducing truth that I’ve ever learned.

I mean, If I chose to, I could literally quit my job tomorrow, move to Atlanta, and become a stripper!! I can Postmates $30 worth of Thai food and binge-watch Terrace House like a lazy POS or I can go to the gym and eat a banana.

There is so much fallacy in the black/white definition of a “type of person;” we start to see a more logical, flexible, yet burdensome reality: 

I am who I choose to be,
through the things I continually choose to do. 

And who I am "meant to" be with
is the person I continually choose to be with.

The power of choice is, in my opinion, the most pronounced when it comes to romantic relationships.

I can ask my friends if I should become a stripper in ATL and 99.9% would say no. I could make a chart of Pros/Cons to compare financial gains, quality of life, etc. and weigh in their advice.

But if I ask my friends whether or not I should stay with this person, the things they say might shed some light on my situation, but from a limited, anecdotal, inauthoritative angle. And a Pros/Cons list will valiantly but pathetically try to quantify something inherently qualitative...

Because at the end of the day, the matters of the heart are matters of your heart.

No one can tell you who to Love.

No one can tell you who to choose to be with.

No matter what God is saying, it's our choice what to make of it.

I have to choose. You have to choose.

That's not very romantic now, is it?

Choice shatters the magic of fate, the allure of destiny, the confidence in the Mystic Law of the Universe, the simplicity of "meant to be." Choice fucks it alllll up. Because –

Choice is mine. Choice is yours. Choice is human.

Choice is kind of… unromantic.

I'm not about to make a list of what Love "is" and "isn't." It's too subjective and personal of an experience, and that's not my point anyway. 

My point is that: Loving you, being with you, staying with you, has been a choice I made each and every time. As it has been, for you.

Not because we are fated, but because we chose for this to be our fate.

It isn't 'what it is',
it's what you make it.


We got to know each other’s deal breakers, then broke them. Repeatedly.
Yet we chose to rebuild.

There were days I couldn't fathom how to forgive you.
Yet I chose to forgive.

Our relationship became a shitshow, a nightmare.
Yet we chose to try.

There were times your trust for me was shredded to a million pieces.
Yet you chose to trust.

One of us has broken up with the other, in the heat of the moment, probably close to 10 times. Once, we broke up and didn't speak for a month.
Yet here we are.
Here, we choose to be.


Arthur. In this past year, we've shared more of ourselves than we've ever dared share before. This includes the ugly, the hurtful, the annoying, the downright scary. You know "The Real Jessie Ma" and I know "Arthur Lien Official," and if Love is truly a "deep knowing" of someone, we have drowned in each other's. 

I originally started this section of my blog in order to document how CUTE and ~in Love~ we are, but that'd not only be false and vomitously one-dimensional, it would be a total disservice to what we actually are – tragically imperfect, naïve, maybe even incompatible two people who constantly choose each other, anyway.

I never imagined for my Love life to be filled with these challenges. And I know you hadn't, either. But "Happily Ever After" doesn't make for much of a story, does it?

And whatever other story there is out there... I want this one. I choose this one.

I choose Faith in our Love.


Always, All Ways,
Jessica Cecilia Ma