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love languages by Mel N. '24

in the little things

Here’s a list of things that I consider love languages, because the standard ones–acts of service, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch–are fine, but love can be found in so many places.


Heart-shaped things are a love language. I love this time of year because everything is pink and heart-shaped. There are two categories of products that I feel the immediate need to have in my possession: Sanrio merch and heart-shaped objects. I hope you understand the effect that this is currently having on my bank account whenever I walk into a store.

  • Flour Bakery’s got little Valentine decorations strung up around their menu, and they’re selling heart Oreos and croissants with pink strawberry icing. “I wonder if there’s a pink food coloring deficit in the world right now,” Luca said when we went in earlier today for lunch.
  • Grace and I went grocery shopping at Brothers Marketplace together and they had raspberry and vanilla heart macarons…! I saw them and my brain went blank. The next thing I knew, I was swiping my card at the self checkout station, macarons in hand.

heart macarons

  • I’ve been yearning for the Le Creuset Valentines cookware set for weeks now. Something about heart-shaped pots and dishes just makes me so happy, because…


Food is a love language. Love is stored in the soup!

  • I started cooking a lot over IAP, armed with an intricate Notion template and delicious day‘s videos on YouTube. I’ll write a more in-depth post about that later, but the thing I loved most was making food in the kitchen, jamming to my favorite songs. Sometimes other people on hall would be cooking their own things at the same time, mincing garlic or chopping onions.
  • Nghiem is a really good cook, but they have a tendency to make food in ridiculous quantities, so whenever they do, it’s an opportunity for me to venture down to 1E and hang out with people. I definitely have a soft spot for that hall after living there last spring.
  • Rui and I have a tradition where I go up to her room on Fridays. It started out as us being sad and talking about our problems, but it’s evolved into a whole little routine–we order takeout and update each other on all the things that happened that week. There’s comfort in its familiarity.


Spotify playlists are a love language.

  • I take Spotify very seriously. One of the first things I do when I meet someone is ask to follow them on Spotify, because I think it’s an interesting way to get to know what kind of person they are. Also…

text conversation about spotify

  • The listening activity tab is the greatest invention of all time, in my opinion. It means my friends can call me out when I’m looping Mitski and vice versa.
  • Back in January, I made a playlist called STOP OVERTHINKING because, well, I was overthinking. In hindsight, I should’ve listened to myself, but my friends Alex and August were also going through something similar. At one point, I saw both of them listening to it.

discord conversation

  • It’s a good playlist, if I may say so myself.
  • It’s also a special kind of love when you listen to a playlist that your friend made or the other way around, since music is so personal–being able to connect in that way is a testament to friendship. The same goes for collaborative playlists–you can see the other person adding songs in real time, too.
  • Recently, I apologized to my neighbor for blasting Mitski all the time, and since we actually have very similar music tastes, we ended up talking about Taylor Swift. I’m a newer fan while he’s a lot more hardcore so he made a playlist of the songs from every album that make him feel insane. A very treasured gift.


Of course, it’s not a Mel blog if it’s not a little sad. So, the truth: I’ve been trying my very best to romanticize all the little things in my life to keep the sadness at bay. I started keeping track of compliments I receive and times I feel appreciated. I go to therapy every two weeks, I keep track of things in my silly little Notion pages, I try to remember to keep my room tidy and retrieve my laundry on a timely basis. I talk to my friends and send them things that remind me of them and ask if they want to get lunch or go grocery shopping or hang out.

I’m doing remarkably better than I was last semester. IAP gave me time to reflect on some of my personal goals and habits, and decide on what actions I can take to make myself healthier.

Sometimes, certain experiences make it difficult to keep the bad thoughts away, and I end up doing a lot of staring–up at my ceiling, into the mirror, paralyzed by a numbness that slowly spreads through my body.

(Am I enough? What about me wasn’t enough?)

I’m a very emotional person, but I don’t necessarily think I feel more things than others, just that I feel them more intensely.

At the same time, though, I’ve found that I repress a lot of those emotions. The consequence: I can’t really cry anymore. At least not without some sort of fictional medium guiding me.

I can’t help but love deeply. I love many things and I love many people. I love my friends and they love me. And if I’m grateful for one thing, it’s that I don’t feel bone crushingly lonely anymore. I’ve made strong connections with people and when I’m in need I always have someone to turn to, someone’s room to camp out in, someone to talk me out of my spirals.

In the wise words of Mary Oliver:

I love this world, even in its hard places.
A bird too must love this world,
even in its hard places.
So, even if the effort may come to nothing,
you have to do something.

It’s the love I find in ordinary places that keeps me going. I love being alive, even when it feels unbearable.

And now I’m going to tell you that I love you, and that people love you, and that you are worthy and deserving of love that doesn’t make you feel like you’re sinking, and by telling you all of this I’m also trying to tell myself this, and maybe if I say it enough I’ll believe it.