Analisa Velez is an actress currently starring as Raquel Navarro in Paramount+’s series The Game. Her previous screen credits include a recurring role as Wendy in Prime Video’s Sneaky Pete and Beatriz in Mike Doyle’s film Almost Love. Her theatrical credits include playing Tati in the Off-Broadway production of Tell Hector I Miss Him.
“Love is a many splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.” Beautiful poetry from the character Christian in the movie Moulin Rouge. This is what I think of when I think of love. I think of this song, this rage color of red. I think of polar opposites.
Think about your first love, or at least your first puppy love. I can’t help but roll my eyes recalling how passionately in love I was with that kid. I knew it could never last, but I also thought I would never last this lifetime if I wasn’t with him. Ron was his name and he was my first taste of love.
Well, actually, I fall in love quite a lot. I recently read a quote by Amy Winehouse that said, “I fall in love every day. Not with people, but with situations.” I think I’m like that with everything, everyone. I can fall in “quick love.” If you’re a New Yorker, you may know this as “subway love,” i.e., where you fall in love for about three subway stops, no one ever says anything and you hop off your stop and carry along, daydreaming that maybe that person could have possibly been your penguin. I also sometimes fall in love on the highway when I’m driving, or at a restaurant, or in an audition, or pretty much anywhere. I think it’s because I like to see the possibility of what men could be, rather than what they are at that moment. I’m a daydreamer, in a way.
I don’t know if it’s true for you, but I find that, as I get older, it’s harder to have a connection. And when it does happen, it feels just like a drug shooting through my veins. That first love, the puppy one, taught me to dejarse llevar, which is Spanish for “go with the flow.” Get lost in it. Get caught up in the roses and experience everything. Feel the clouds on your face, my darling. Be a child.
I look around and relationships are quite different now. We have all these rules and fake personas. I used to work as a host at dating events, and one thing I always noticed was what people show of themselves on a first date. You’re only meeting the representative: the best version of the other person. And as the dates go on, you get to see more and more of them. Now, I’ve never been married, but I have been told that’s when you really get to know a person. I don’t believe any of that. I think you really get to know someone when you work together, live together and have broken up.
I learned this from my “terror love,” the love that almost broke me. I almost shed a carcass of who I used to be, and I was caught between who I was and who I had become after leaving this relationship. I tried to restore the sacred pieces I once had, but it’s almost like now they were exposed – I could never cover them up again. I learned a great deal from this terror love. I learned to preserve some things for myself. I put up a gate for the child I once was, to protect them from getting hurt as they try to smell the flowers while they still can.
“And then there’s another kind of love. The cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. It’s called unrequited love.” This is from Kate Winslet’s monologue in the movie The Holiday. I’m reminded of this quote since I have been in a similar position myself. I was finding myself around really great men who wanted to take care of me, but when I read that as romantic affection, they would turn around and put me in another place: the friend zone, the sunken place, the hole, the eighth wonder of the world (because you wonder, how the hell did I get here?).
It sucks, but it taught me a lot. I learned that God was actually giving me what I needed at the time, through bits and pieces of my friends’ affection. I had to experience that affection through people I felt safe with to understand that’s how I should be treated, and hold myself accountable when I was met with disrespect. What I was seeking was a cheap companion, someone to play house with, but what I actually needed was this kind of attention, only from people who loved me for my messy parts and took time to understand my inner workings: my best friends. They showed me pure love. They taught me that love should also feel like a really warm hug on a cold day, and that through that love you can sometimes get restored.
If you’ve gotten this far, I’m pretty sure I just let you in on a page of my diary. But I think this is what I wanted to say: Love yourself the way you want to be loved and you’ll attract that same kind of love. Realize that love exists all around you in different forms and they all teach you something, so learn the lesson, my love, and enter the next chapter.
Featured image shows Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge.