Love Is Not a Telenovela
Pan Dulce Says “I Love You”
When I was younger, and still in the dating scene, I thought boyfriends never loved me. Not one of them ever expressed love towards me with confetti, pan dulce, and/or over the top novela-like scenes.
And I equated that lack of action as them not being interested. I just couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t just express their love for me by going into a rendition of Sandra Cisneros’ You Bring Out The Mexican In Me.
For those of you who have never read the poem, she basically says, love makes her violent and over-dramatic. And I totally feel she’s talking about me and 99 percent of my female cousins (like all families, we have that one token “normal” prima).
My family had taught me to love someone by yelling, crying, and throwing food at them — all while wearing something out of Walter Mercado’s closet. Not by saying… I love you…because, who says that?
So there I went from relationship to relationship, wondering why all men were clueless jerks. And the men perhaps wondering why I would offer them pan dulce every time they said I love you. But in my defense, who shows love with just words?
After several of my relationships ended due to lack of communication from speaking different emotional languages, I found myself passionately re-enacting a Delores del Rio scene where I cried and threw stuff, because that’s how I was taught to show heartbreak. Yes, I learned how to love off a soap opera.
I only knew how to love in one extreme or another.With several heartbreaks I found myself going on various man-hating voyages. You know the kind…the one where you swear off men, but secretly find yourself wondering what your future husband will look like as you eat your emotions away with some fancy ice cream, while telling 99 percent of your primas your plans for becoming the Asexual Woman of the New Millennium. Needless to say I was one very dramatic teenager/young 20–something.
But Then I Grew Up
But then something happened…I grew up. I started to analyze my life and how I communicated with those around me . I found that emotionally, I was a horrible communicator…and just maybe, that could have been why I chose people who could not communicate with me in return…just maybe. Because the truth was I acted out the emotions of love, but never truly allowed people to feel them.
Up until my mid-20s, I had always thought that to love was loud, in your face, and proud — much like those novelas I was addicted to as a child. Anything less than that… was not love in my book. Instead of simplifying my love life and stating how I felt, I hoped they would guess by how much confetti I threw at them. And instead of enjoying and feeling the moment someone told me they loved me, I found myself waiting for them to prove it with a Juan Gabriel song (which by the way is still the best way to make my heart melt).
I’m not saying those actions were not love, they just weren’t the most effective ways to express it, and most importantly, not the type of love I was truly looking for. There is something to be said in knowing that “I Love You” is all you need to feel loved.
With time I found I lessened my novela re-enactments and increased stating words that made people feel loved. I found that love was best enjoyed when expressed and felt in a manner that was conductive to growth, and not based on the heated display of an emotion.
Eventually, I even found a man who speaks the same emotional language as I do: he too suffers occasional caprichos and carries confetti in his car for my enjoyment.
How do you express love, and how has it affected the relationships in your life?
Cynthia Martinez spends her days trying all the newest fad diets and nights shoving her face with pan dulce, because isn’t that what all good Latinas do? After leaving the world of labor relations to pursue her artistic passions, Cynthia can now be found writing over at Fat Girl Escapades.