Love Is Not a Telenovela

Pan Dulce Says “I Love You”

telenovela crying by dno1967b
Cynthia Martinez of Fat Girl EscapadesBy Cynthia Martinez

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.

Y Tu?

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.

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By Contributor on February 6, 2012 · Posted in headline, the habla habla

12 Comments | Post Comment

bohemian babushka says:

How to I express love? I’m a good Cuban- I make loooottsss of food.

Enjoyed the post and si, you are not alone.

Posted on February 6th, 2012

Lisa ~ AutismWonderland says:

Great post Cynthia. I totally understand, I was the same way. And I probably would have continued to believe that had I not met my husband. He made it very clear that he was not that guy to scream and fight with anger or jealousy. He doesn’t need to bring me flowers (I actually don’t care for them) or chocolate (I really don’t need it) to let me know he loves me – he treats me with kindness and respect. And I treat him the same way :)

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Unknown Mami says:

I still suffer from the affliction of over-dramatic. I really needed to read this right now. Thank you!

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Itzel Yagual says:

SO true..I use to watch novelas and disney (girly) movies when I was young. At one point I thought and dreamed about having a life like the fairy tales they told and how one day that would be me. I do wish novelas were more realistic and have a better (realistic) messages for young women. The truth is novelas do not paint a realistic picture of marriage, love and womens’ role in society. Great post!

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Presley's Pantry says:

I show my love through food….. That is the Mexican girl in me. :)

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Carla @All of Me Now says:

I grew up watching the fairy tale movies and dramatic novelas but wasn’t allowed to date so I learned a lot from watching the drama unfold for my close amigas and their lovers. It turned me off completely to the.drama and game playing of young love. But being Cubana and all I am still a little loca with my husband.

Posted on February 8th, 2012

vianney says:

I love watching novels, but they drain me emotionally. I mean how many times does their never ending love need to be displayed. Love is best served warm with tortillas, lol

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Comiendo en LA says:

Smiling! Is the best way to show love to others! And yes, las telenovelas nos crean falsas expectativas, pero como dice el dicho: la realidad a veces supera la ficción!

Posted on February 9th, 2012

Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ says:

telenovelas are soooo over the top, but i love them; well, most of them. grew up tuning in since I was 5. I cry like most of those actresses when one’s done me wrong! Kinda pathetic.

Posted on February 9th, 2012

Cristina-Una colombiana en California says:

I express love letting them know how much I care with simple and little things…like cooking their favorite dishes, paying attention to what they say…without forgetting hugs and kisses.

Posted on February 9th, 2012

Sujeiry says:

I could never say I love you so I can definitely relate! In my book, Love Trips: A Collection of Relationship Stumbles, I discuss my ways of loving and express my love – drunk dialing, yelling and, of course, lots of tarots and baraja readers on speed dial. I have realized that if no teaches us how to love and communicate love in a positive way, or we don’t snap out of it, we’ll act like the Marimars from Univision.

Posted on February 12th, 2012

Viviana Hurtado/The Wise Latina Club says:

So spot on. In my case, my emotional lack of intelligence was informed by a heavy dose of youth, mixing with my cultural background. Yes, there was a time when there were gritos, phones were ripped from the wall socket (dating myself)! As I have grown up, I’ve mellowed out. Still, I like thinking that I, and the way I express my love, represent the “best of both worlds.”

Posted on February 14th, 2012