I never told a girl that I loved her (outside of family and celebrities I’d met) until I was in college.  Up until then, I was too busy trying to win over members of the opposite sex to revel in the spoils of having won one.

I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to become who I was by age nineteen.  I was born both Texan and male.  Nothing was handed to me. I had to learn how to tell people that I was Texan and male at a very young age.  I couldn’t identify with my parents because my dad wasn’t born in Texas and my mom was not male.  It was not until the birth of my younger brother that I had a companion in shame.  I still remember what it was like to learn that The Rodeo didn’t exist all over the world.  I wanted to visit these places and meet people who hadn’t been corrupted by the horror of watching some helpless dude run away from a bucking bronco. (How is that entertainment?)

So when I got that text message that said “i luv u,” I returned the sentiment in a more grammatically correct way.  I had lost my love-ginity, and I felt like I had the right to say “I love you” to whomever I wanted.  I started telling every girl that I went out with that I loved her.  I told waitresses that I loved them.  I told the lady that activated my credit card on the phone that I loved her.  I was out of control.  I reached rock bottom and found myself telling my dental hygienist that I loved her through an electric spinning toothbrush and foamy toothpaste.  She stopped the toothbrush and asked, “What?”  I collected myself and realized what I’d said.  I think I had thought that I loved her because all I could see were her blue eyes and her arm smelled like antibacterial hand soap and flavored fluoride.  I replied, “What?  Nothing.”

I didn’t really love her, nor did I love the credit card activator or the waitresses.  I loved the freedom to express my love verbally; a freedom which I had abused.  You can’t find love by throwing “I love you” wherever you can and hoping one sticks.  You find love by training yourself to overcome inherited obstacles until someone finally falls in love with you first.