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Falling in love with coffee: A personal essay

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MARCH 05, 2022

Despite my tendency to be a hopeless romantic, absolutely enamored by countless hours of movie clips depicting kisses in the rain, interlocked fingers in the cold of a September autumn, bouquets upon bouquets of roses, tulips and wildflowers, a part of me knows I will always struggle. 

I am destined to never find peace and stability in any endeavor of love, perpetually bound to be ravaged by others’ hands and torn apart by my own.

I pick apart my slightest imperfections, the very things that make me human — the way my left features sit higher on my face than my right, the inconsistency of a dimple on only one side, my less-than-perfect posture — and ridicule my reflection for not showing the version of myself I foolishly chase. I find it unbelievable and impossible that someone will find love in the deepest parts of me in the same way that I always highlight it in others; no one will see me in my quietest hours and sit with me through my content silence, and no one will listen to my laughter and memorize the note it starts on. For so long, I persuaded myself that the closest I can get to someone loving my crooked, thin-lipped smile that sits under my humped nose that I have oh-so-hated for years is destined to be a figment of my bittersweet daydreams. 

I am my own worst enemy. As a self-saboteur of personal relationships, I refuse to acknowledge the possibility that someone may see me at my worst and stay after wiping away the mascara smeared under my eyes and seeing my hair plastered against my face, bonded to the tears I shed.

Some are lucky enough in this world to find someone who is not their better (or other) half, but rather someone who complements the full and beautifully complete person they are (because I strongly believe you are whole as you are and don’t need anyone else to find meaning in your life). Perhaps I am entirely wrong, and this will be my downfall — forever lost in my own anxieties and never able to truly connect with another; I am too busy trying to fall in love with the person I am before I let anyone else do the same. Maybe that’s why my current relationship streak looks the way that it does, with a 66.6% chance of infidelity while I blindly stay, and a 100% guarantee of failure. 

The first love, they say, will always be an unfathomably different experience that is incomparable to how you view relationships after it, and they were right. Lost in the excitement of finally finding someone, I refused to see the fact that my so-called “person” had found a brighter sparkle in the eyes of my best friend, and I foolishly stayed for months after I should have left. My second encounter with love was different, pure. Puppy love turned into safety and comfort after two years, and we bid each other farewell right before The Big “C” could break us apart over the summer. The most recent, and final, one was the shortest, but I realized after it was over that I had been idolizing the potential the person had, rather than accepting the person they currently were, a person who was not good for me, who had already done enough damage on me without me noticing.

Date after date, coffee cup after coffee cup, I dissociated into the romanticized concept of love. My tragedy of a love life consumed me while my head spun like the ice that swirled in the crossfire of my dilution of the bitter concentration with the most ungodly amount of milk and sweetener. The ironic thing is, no matter how hard I tried, I could never truly mask the thick bite of the caffeination that lingered after the sugar faded. Stained teeth means insecure smiles, so I push my straw behind my teeth when I sip, forever self-conscious that people will see yellow and recognize my dependency on a drink so ridiculously expensive. 

I could never truly mask the thick bite of the caffeination that lingered after the sugar faded.

Countless meaningless dates and repetitive basic introductions drained both me and my wallet, and I crumbled to the ground after each and every one of them, completely broken by the fact that they were all wonderful people, yet I just couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I refused to form a connection with people who would be good for me, people who would undoubtedly spoon me bowls of warm soup on days my throat hurt more than it should and pour me a cup of my favorite matcha in the early morning before I wake. Unfortunately, I am living proof that the nice guys never win.

It’s very obvious I push away the ones who would welcome me with open arms and hold me tighter than any security I’ve ever known. Yet, I ironically dream of being loved unconditionally, and every day, I wake up with the hopes that today will be the day, but I am let down every time because dreams are dreams for a reason, and reality isn’t supposed to be as saccharine as the two pumps of sweetener I pay extra for because no amount of money could ever buy my sickly honeyed delusion of happiness.

Windows that simultaneously kiss the floor and ceiling and open into the outside world, only letting in the warm breeze that caresses our sleeping figures; an orange cat the hue of a weak and thin mimosa; horrendously shaped banana pancakes created in the midst of morning giggles paired with an iced blueberry lavender milk tea. 

I don’t ask for the world, but just that the world eases its thumb on the tight grip it has on me. Maybe, someday, my crushed ribs will heal around my heart, and I will no longer have to find solace in temporary faces and temporary people. I will grow to love who I have become, and black roast won’t scare me anymore, because coffee-stained teeth are nothing to worry about — and smiles were meant to be shared.

Contact Ashley Yoon at [email protected].

MARCH 06, 2022

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