In light of the recent seismic event that has gripped my country — one whose aftershocks will be felt for at least four years, if not more — I started thinking about this post. Because I (and a lot of other people around the world) need to remember that, ultimately, we control our reactions to what happens to us. And we can choose to respond with hate or with love.
Tonight, I’m choosing love. So here are some small ways to say ‘I love you’.
I love you is checking in every hour as your sister marches in a protest 3,000 miles away.
I love you is respecting one of your best friends’ opinion even when it doesn’t match up with your own.
I love you is saying ‘Text me when you get home’.
I love you is knowing someone’s breakfast order down to the orange juice.
I love you is ‘You’ve been quiet. Everything okay?’
I love you is finding an old favourite cookbook online and buying four copies, just in case.
I love you is listening to someone rant without judgement.
I love you is saying ‘Have a safe trip’.
I love you is the pride you feel when a friend overcomes their fear of flying…or anything else, really.
I love you is giving your seat up on the bus.
I love you is getting a friend of a friend to give career-specific advice.
I love you is protestors raising money to repair property damage when their protest was hijacked by assholes.
I love you is getting up every morning and going to work with a smile on your face so your students will still believe the world is a safe place.
I love you is never, ever telling them how you feel so they have a chance to be happy with someone else.
I love you is saying sure, we can squeeze three extra people into our tiny apartment for four days.
I love you is being an ally to vulnerable groups of people.
I love you is internet activism when that’s all you can manage at the moment.
I love you is a random Skype call on a Wednesday afternoon.
I love you is ‘I’m so sorry that happened to you’.
I love you is ‘Good luck running that marathon, I’ll meet you at the finish line with coffee and a bagel’.
I love you is asking ‘How’s your mom?’.
I love you is a yelled ‘Ms A., come have a tea party with me!’
I love you is getting lunch twice a year and picking up like no time has passed.
I love you is ‘I saw this dumb meme and thought of you’.
I love you is always having an open invitation to visit.
I love you is clean sheets on the bed when you visit your mom.
I love you is a breakfast burrito on a Saturday morning.
I love you is emergency access to a credit card with no interest on repayment.
I love you is a postcard to decorate a freshman-year dorm room wall.
I love you is saying ‘I stand with you’.
I love you is ‘This one’s on me’.
I love you is donating to a food drive when you are barely scraping by yourself.
I love you is ‘Do you want some coffee?’
I love you is patiently explaining what a deductible is to a panicky 25-year-old.
I love you is ‘I wish you were here’.
I love you is tipping people off about rush-hour delays.
I love you is eating dinner together via video chat.
I love you is someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking offering to make you a birthday dinner.
I love you is sitting next to the woman in a hijab on the train because you see a man glaring at her.
I love you is a sticky kiss goodbye on a Friday afternoon.
I love you is being conscious of your privilege and using it to protect others.
I love you is bribing you with coffee and company if you get out of bed at a decent hour to write your dissertation.
I love you is last-minute ‘team’ dinners.
I love you is laughing so hard at someone in the middle of a Tesco you nearly pee your pants and them not getting mad.
I love you is group chats across three continents and four timezones.
I love you is rolling your eyes and still following them on the next hair-brained adventure.
I love you is a sleep-hoarse voice on the other end of the phone telling you it’ll be alright even when they know it might not be.
I love you is someone you trust telling you to wipe your tears, get off your ass, and fight back.
Love will win. Love trumps hate.