Friends, it is time for us to do away with “crushes” and “butterflies” when we speak of love. The word “crush” is for children, something whispered behind cupped hands in long, noisy hallways, their necks craning for fear of being overheard. It comes with the sour damp smell of “he will never notice me”, of “she’ll never like me back”. It is a word with limited capacities, like a steering wheel that can only turn right. So woefully inadequate to describe the great expansion that comes with love.

In its only other common use, it signifies obliteration, destruction of hope, total structural collapse, being reduced to rubble. A “crush” cannot help but to crush you. Your tender heart giving way under the love-weight you bear for someone who will never notice how your blinking slows when he enters the room. So no more “crushes”, please.

From now on, it’s going to be, “I like you in the more-than-usual way” or “the way you manage your past relationship trauma makes me wonder what it would be like to kiss you” or simply, “I think about you touching the back of my neck with your hands and it excites me.”

Also, enough with the “butterflies”! Why are you always supposed to feel butterflies first? How often have we experienced butterflies only to discover that the little bastards had steered us wrong. Be suspicious when the butterflies arrive too early. Remember — butterflies do not spring fully formed like Athena. Rather, they pupate, quietly shedding the layers of their old selves to create a more radiant self, only emerging when the flowers and wind are ready to receive them, magnificent to behold. The best kind of love does exactly that. Creates a silky warm space with just enough room for your limbs, where you explore the limits of this new thing, develop a language that helps you navigate the space between, where curiosity is plumbed with delight, where you aren’t even aware of what’s happening, because the process is too divine to spoil with humdrum words.

Given the choice between fluttering butterflies in my stomach and being able to stand next to a man, my skin quiet with calm, my rushed thoughts slowed, my arm picking up the static of his arm, bronzed and long, next to mine, I have no need for butterflies. That feeling is so wondrous that I feel sorry for those who chase butterflies, who pursue a feeling as whispered and ethereal as the wings themselves.

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