This I Believe: I Believe in Love Languages
The feeling of an entangling embrace, a calming hand intertwined with mine, cut-up fruit brought to my room: this is how I recognize love.
Love is all around me; I can recognize it anywhere. A student brings a teacher gifts to show their appreciation. Children play with their friends on a playground and share their toys. Dogs wag their tails, cats purr: there’s always a way to show love. That is why I believe in love languages.
I have been in a constant battle with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was about twelve years old. And, if you know anything about Filipino culture, you would know that religion and superstitions are a key part of their lives. In my case, my Filipino mother didn’t believe in things considered “taboo” in her family--one of which was the concept of depression. She didn’t quite understand why I would never talk or why I would stay in my room alone for hours on end. I would hear, “Anak! Bagon! Ang mga tapolan dili mahimong nars.” (“My daughter! Get up! Lazy people don’t become nurses.”) I know she was worried about me and wasn’t sure how to communicate that. However, it all began to change when I got officially diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. When I got home following the diagnosis, my mother was sitting on our living room couch, anxiously waiting for me to get back home with my father. I took my shoes off, greeted my family, and went to my room to lie down in my bed until the morning like I always had done. This time, though, something was different. I could hear it in my mother’s voice through the walls of our house. She was crying silently as my dad consoled her, assuring her that I would get better after medication. I brushed it off and went back to aimlessly staring at the ceiling.
A little while later, my mother gently knocked on my door to let me know she was coming in. She held a plate of sliced strawberries, mangoes, and apples. I had no idea why she brought me fruit, but I accepted it, and she left after giving me a kiss on the cheek. Maybe she just felt pity for me. I didn’t know. Nor did I have the energy to find out. My dad would come in and give me long, silent hugs. I appreciated the gestures. Looking back, I’m glad they did those things for me. They saved my life. Their ways of showing love taught me that I am not alone. I was surrounded by love throughout my life, but I was never able to recognize it. Now, I can. It turns out that my mother’s love language is gift-giving, and my father’s love language is physical touch. Without them, I’m not sure if I would have made it to my senior year, writing this essay. Therefore, I believe in the power of love languages.
This I Believe Illinois is NPR Illinois' annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world. This I Believe was started by radio journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1951 to allow anyone able to distil the guiding principles by which they lived. Special thank you to our sponsors: The Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, State Journal-Register, BLH Computers, KEB, and Marine Bank.