Every great protagonist has at least one tragic flaw. Achilles’ is his pride. Holden Caulfield fought battles he couldn’t win; refusing to grow up and attempting to protect children’s innocence. Gatsby couldn’t differ hope and delusion in pursuit of his love, living his life to win back the one that got away. I play the protagonist in the story of my own life, and one of my many fatal flaws is falling in love with experiences.
My entire life I have labeled myself as a hopeless Romantic. I wear it with a badge of honor, my heart on my sleeve. I romanticize anything and everything I come across. Pain, friendship, love, music, travel, any new experience. I live my life believing each decision I make has a significant impact on the outcome of my life.
Falling in love with experiences is limiting because they are not tangible; they remain in the past where the only way to access them again is through memories. Love itself isn’t tangible, but falling in love with an event that can never be repeated is damning to the human mind and emotional state. It warps and confuses the minds perception of reality in some sense, in my case at least.
I haven’t determined what the root cause for this tragic flaw of mine is. I don’t know if it in fact is my Romanticism, my innocence, or some other factor, I just know that it is present. These experiences aren’t in solitude, they’re shared with others, so while I fall in love with the experience, I disguise it as loving those who I shared the experience with. That is where the reality begins warping and the tragedy begins.
I have the capacity to fall in love with every girl I ever meet, whether it’s for five minutes or five decades. As soon as my heart is open and my emotions are released, the event begins. As soon as I hold someone or kiss someone while in my defenseless state, my fate is sealed.
On a chemical level, I probably release an excess amount of oxytocin, but again, I romanticize every aspect of my life, so I describe it as my own personal tragedy possessing the capacity to love more than others and loving everyone I encounter.
I remember the name of every girl I’ve ever loved. My love for almost all of them was spawned out of some event where my happiness was peaking, but the ones that weren’t only started with some semblance of physical contact.
My idea of love has differed from the people around me as long as I can remember. I fall for people too hard, too fast, and it always comes back to hurt me. But it doesn’t deter me from anything.
Like any good tragic hero, I refused to acknowledge my tragic flaw until it led to a downfall of some sort. Achilles was killed. Holden was institutionalized. Gatsby died. I’ve loved and lost. But while I recognize this disconnect that I have, I’ve become more accepting and understanding of the fact that not everyone is wired the same and not everyone loves as I do. It’s okay to fall in love for a day and then forget about an existence. It was an experience. I loved the experience.