What it feels like to love a woman

10 women on what it feels like to love, and be loved by women

Joey+Lorant+%2F+Daily+Collegian

Joey Lorant / Daily Collegian

By Astghik Dion, Head Arts Editor

I have this memory of purposely tangling up necklaces, taking the delicate gold chains and scrunching them up in my small six-year-old hands, just so I could spend the time unraveling them. I would sit under my mother’s clothes, all neatly hung up above me and take in deep breaths of the materials while holding the jewelry she would once wear. It had been months since the last time I saw her, and it would be nearly a year until I could see her again. Merely sitting amongst her possessions, and convincing myself that her scent had not yet lingered off of her blouses, dresses..etc., felt like I was closer to her. 

I have yet to feel the same euphoria I experienced when we reunited in the airport. I was finally able to fly over to Florida from Armenia and join the other half of my heart. Running into my mother’s arms, being completely enveloped in her warmth as tears soaked into both our hair – there is nothing more special. To this day, everytime I hug my mother, every time she rakes her fingers through my hair, everytime she pats my hands and reassures me that one day the world will stop spinning so fast – I feel like I can finally breathe. 

Loving my mother – loving a woman – means knowing there is a reason for all this. All the headaches, all the heartaches, they are purposeful because at the end of the day I have someone I can make proud. Loving a woman feels like comfort and serenity, yet loving a woman also feels like putting your hand on a hot stove and being too stubborn to pick it up until blisters coat your skin. 

The fury that can only come from a woman, fueled by such care and empathy, such passion is the deadliest threat nature has created. I feel so lucky to take part in such a powerful feeling.

I spoke to 10 women about what it feels like to love a woman.

 

Madeline Zelazo (20) | senior | Journalism

“Loving a woman is the easiest thing I have ever done. In my own life, I have loved many women including my best friend Chloe. I always find myself getting swept away in her radiating kindness and natural beauty. She is the kind of person whose laugh makes your heart swell. Loving a woman is appreciating her, noticing her and understanding her in her entirety. It is hugging and holding her when there aren’t any words to say– and even when there are. It is dancing around the house with her to the soundtrack of her youth and laughing together at absolutely nothing. Loving a woman is peaceful, like a soft, warm breeze brushing against your face. It involves admiring her intelligence and her strength and most of all, her worth. 

Most importantly, loving a woman involves opening up yourself and allowing your body to wholesomely experience the essence of her and all of her intoxicating beauty. It is appreciating the little things like watching her get ready and listening to her talk for hours about what’s important to her.  

Being engulfed by love for a woman is, in my opinion, the most natural feeling. It makes you feel complete, like she is the missing piece that completes your puzzle. It is the highest level of comfort and serenity and possibly the greatest joy. Loving a woman feels honest and pure. It can stretch a smile across your face that is larger than the span of the equator and send bursts of warmth down your spine. 

Love from a woman has a way of making you feel like you are the only person on the face of the Earth.

There are so many women who I have immense love for but one of them is my friend Chloe. Being in her presence, especially after not seeing her for a while, is like a deep breath of fresh air. She cares so deeply and passionately about everything she does and everyone she meets and I can always count on her to take on any role I need for any given day–mom, friend, comedian, therapist, partner-in-crime. 

I admire her brilliance and the way she analyzes the world, her constant search for adventure, and the way that she is so genuine, authentic, and kind to herself. When we have sleepovers, she always cooks me a homemade meal and usually that includes dessert. She reminds me of how special I am when she teases, ‘you’re the only person I make my bed for,’ as we climb into bed to watch late night cooking competitions on Netflix and talk about life.  Chloe is the perfect person to hug, I feel like I could just melt into her. Her presence reminds me of all the simple joys in life. Chloe is the one person who I can always trust to be brutally honest with me, even when honesty is the toughest thing to hear. We hold each other up to the highest expectations and are each other’s number one fans. Through loving Chloe, I have learned to love myself.”

 

Shiloh Clark (21) | Junior | Journalism

“To love a woman is to be equal parts amazed, comforted and frustrated. Amazed by the strength a woman has to exist in a world that is not ready to accept them as a force of nature. Amazed by her fortitude and dedication to the life she created. Comforted by feminine energy and emotion that is never in short supply. Frustrated by the inevitable flaws that women have, whether it be stubbornness or irresponsibility. To love a woman is to be drawn in by qualities you don’t even particularly like. To be shown new ways to love her and yourself every day. Loving women is an evolutionary skill that humans are born with, one that we need to survive. 

Being swallowed with love for a woman looks different in the context of romantic love vs. familial or platonic love. Romantic love can be all-encompassing, but not necessarily unconditional. My love for my mother can be overwhelming. When she’s heartbroken, my chest fills with lead and I want to turn into Violet from ‘The Incredibles’ and put her inside a force field where no one can hurt her. I am constantly missing her, and when she comes to visit me, I feel peace and calm wash over my entire body. I usually don’t realize how much I have felt her absence until she walks in the door. 

I think about the love I have for my brother. He was my sister for eighteen years, and I loved him as a woman. His sensitivity, grace and femininity are all qualities I still love and appreciate as he has transitioned. My love for him is overwhelming, protective and unconditional. Loving him as my brother is no different; the only thing that has changed is his gender. I will always protect him and admire the qualities he was born with. He has and always will be a comfort person for me, someone I admire deeply, and the person who gets on my nerves the most. I think that’s how real love should be.”

 

Samantha J Andrade (22) | Senior | Animal Science & Sociology

“For me, to love a woman is the same love I have for a man that I care about on the same level. But, loving a woman is a little bit different because I am a woman, and it means that I understand their unwritten struggles better than the majority of society. To love a woman for me is not only to love them for who they are to me, but also for the potential of what they can do. From leadership and outspokenness to strength and determination. To love a woman for me, is to support her, because that way she is able to advance through society. 

I think this answer [what it feels like to be loved by a woman] changes as you get older, as we realize we need to support other women and not compete against each other. I think that the love and support that we give specifically to women, is somewhat of a reflection of how we love and support ourselves as women. In other words, I find that when I am unconditionally loving a woman for her cause, I find myself to be somewhat inspired to take on whatever challenge may face me. Especially when I have other women in my corner cheering me on, it’s almost like I’m inspired to finish the task ‘for the women’. 

I immediately think of not only my mom, but my few best friends as well as my cheerleading team. While my love for each is a little bit different from person to person, overall these women overwhelmingly inspire me to be a better version of me every single day. Whether they are expecting the best from me physically or morally, I know these women push me to reach the best version of myself and they will call me out to better me along the way. These women are some I know I can always run to regardless of the circumstances. Collectively, they have taught me to march through society with my chin up and shoulders back. “

 

Alejandra Abreu Ortiz (21) | Senior | Biology & Spanish

“Growing up with a single mother, an older sister and two younger sisters, I have been surrounded by women my whole life. Not only have my mom and sisters shaped me to be the woman I am today but they also showed and continue to show me love in its purest form. 

Loving a woman means loving all of the parts of her that society tells us we shouldn’t. As women, we go through a lot and we are constantly being criticized – whether it be about our appearance, our intelligence, our bodies, our emotions and so much more. To love a woman means to love her in her entirety. This is definitely something that my mom and sisters have taught me – the way that they see the beauty in me even when I feel the opposite. The way that they listen to me, patiently, even when I’m crying so hard I can’t make out any words. The way that they comfort and support me through everything, without judgment, but instead with a mutual understanding of my struggles. This is what it means to love a woman. And because of the way my mother and my sisters showed love to me, I now do everything in my power to reciprocate this not only back to them, but also to all of the women I meet and get to know in my life. 

Feeling this love is something that brings joy and purpose to my life. This love makes life easier on my hard days and makes my best days even better. I am my happiest self when I am surrounded by the women whom I love – they give me a feeling of deep warmth in my heart. It’s this feeling of love, care, support, etc that has inspired me to choose my career path – because all I want to do is spread that same love/care to others. 

The love I have for my best friends is absolutely unconditional. They have been by my side throughout my life every single time I’ve needed them most and I would do the same for them in a heartbeat. The love I have for them and the love they show to me is something that I cherish everyday. I am reminded daily just how grateful I am to live this experience with such an amazing group of women. Laughing together, crying together, protecting and supporting each other no matter what – this is what loving the women in my life looks like to me.”

 

Laleh Panahi (19) | Freshman | Data Analytics

“Love isn’t a feeling I can give or receive. Rather, it’s about strengthening and nurturing a relationship over time. To me, love is about having the patience to consistently work on a relationship, taking the time to understand a person’s intricacies. Loving a woman specifically, adds a layer of depth to the relationship. While many of the women I know have grown up in different time periods or environments, our experiences and certain milestones in our lives as women are universal. I often find fulfillment in bonding over these experiences, discussing our perceptions of the female identity and what it means to be a woman. Inevitably, the perspectives of women vary and there is often disagreement, but through this discussion, we grow closer to each other. 

[Being loved by a woman] can sometimes feel overwhelmingly powerful. Being with someone you love means showing the most vulnerable aspects of yourself, which can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. In return, when someone expresses emotional vulnerability to you, you feel a sense of responsibility for their well being and happiness, regardless of the type of relationship.  

There is a sense of sacrifice between women, especially in familial relationships. My mom is an immigrant, and put her education and career on hold to take care of her children. She also left her family behind, moving to the U.S. hoping that there would be increased opportunities for my sister and I to succeed as women. From my grandmother’s perspective, she was willing to part from her daughter. She knew that despite experiencing the pain of separation from her child, my mother would live a more fulfilling life overseas. Even apart, the relationship between female members of my family developed and strengthened across generations.”

 

Shannon Moore (19) | Freshman | English & Journalism

“To love a woman means true love, pure love. I’ve never loved a woman romantically, but I assume it’s something similar. No matter how many times they get on my nerves, at the end of the day, I always look at them with admiration. The positives always outweigh the negatives, the beauty always outweighs the ugly. It’s unconditional. 

Being engulfed by love for a woman can be extremely overwhelming. Coming to the realization that no matter what they do, I’ll still love them at the end of the day, is a scary thought. But it’s also beautiful. The realization that this unconditional love exists is something to be cherished, celebrated. In a world that’s filled with a lot of hate, it’s a comfort and a privilege to be engulfed in love like this.

[I think of] my sister. She’s twelve years older than me, so I’ve looked up to her ever since I was born. I didn’t think it was possible to love someone even more than I loved her: until she became a mother and made me an aunt. Watching my sister interact with her son fills me with a joy that I can’t really describe. Witnessing her love for him, watching her care for him with such ease and poise,fills my heart with love. Whilst balancing the ever growing infant, she still finds time to check in with me throughout the week, and ensures we facetime at least one day out of the seven. She’s also recently gone back to work as a nurse, another testament to her selflessness and compassion. She never fails to support me and encourage me. I love her with all my heart.”

 

Ani Jermakian (24) | UMass Alumni | Art Education

To me, loving a woman means seeing so many edges and parts of a human being that it makes you realize just how capable we are as people. One person, one woman specifically, can consist of so many sharp and smooth edges in her personality. So many textures – tough, soft,etc., which have been ingrained in her and developed through life experiences. Her bold, literally bearable strength is admirable. Her softness and ability to nurture is of great beauty. 

It feels safe. It feels like everything is okay and everything will be okay. 

I have immense love for my mother. To me, she is the ultimate living example of strength. She has battled and conquered breast cancer twice, most recently having a mastectomy. I’ve never seen someone take on something so terrifying with so much bravery and confidence. When she was scared for herself, she still took care of others without question. I tend to sense what she’s feeling inside quickly because we are so much alike, which is another form of our love for each other. We often connect without needing to speak, and understand each other when no one else can seem to. When she says I’m okay, I suddenly feel like everything really is going to be okay and my worries fade. Something about her words have so much weight and power and truth. She makes me feel safe, she makes me feel understood, she makes me feel like I can get through anything life throws at me because I come from and have witnessed such a fighter in my life – someone people.”

 

Evie Wybenga (22) | Senior | History

I love to love women. For me, loving women feels very direct– it’s something that just happens and doesn’t need to be categorized into relationships like friend, roommate, partner, sister. The love I feel for the women in my life doesn’t feel transactional, which I think can be the case in other types of love. With other women, I feel like it’s about support and growth. I’m growing because I love you and I want to help you grow because I love you. A lot of my love for women comes from admiration too. They are so intelligent in such valuable, nuanced ways. I am forever going to be learning from the women in my life.

For me, I think a lot of what makes being loved by a woman feel special is feeling seen. A woman’s love is validating and encouraging.”

 

Alyssa Cesario (21) | Senior | BDIC (Dance Education and Management)

“I Have difficulty expressing love for other women because although my relationship with my mom was strong, we never said ‘I love you’ to each other, until last year. Since she grew up poor with seven siblings and parents straight from the Philippines, to her, being emotionally supportive was a foreign concept.

 It was hard for me to recognize how much she loved me and how much I loved her until I got older and realized that she had been telling me she loved me, hugging and comforting me through so many other love languages. We’ve grown to find a happy medium between what we are used to and we we need emotionally and now I can confidently say she’s my best friend and I love everything about her.

Since I was able to open her up a little, she is open and close with my sister and it’s awesome because the three of us are just best friends now. Her love for her kids really made her morph into an emotionally available woman which she was not able to be for 40 years. I love women.”

 

***

Sometimes, one of my eyes is bigger than the other, and sometimes I can be so full of love for everyone and everything that I want to cry a million rivers, yet no tears ever seem to fall out. And whenever someone asks me what I think of space colonization I say it is the worst mistake we could ever make because humans deserve to die off, but sometimes its hard not to fall into the trance of how beautiful all the silly little things we believe in are. And sometimes, I can become so viscerally angry that my knuckles scab over, but sometimes I just hold my little sister and complete peace washes over me. 

 

I look at my best friends, the ones who look like angels sent from above fixing their makeup in the bar bathrooms, the ones I am certain I would give anything for. I look at my grandmother who lost the love of her life, yet looks outside and sees him in the beauty of the cardinals. I look at my cousins, at the kids I grew up with who somehow became the most admirable and intelligent mothers I have ever known, all in the blink of an eye. I look at my aunt, at the woman who teaches me how to dye my hair through FaceTime, thousands of miles away. I look at my younger sister, Grace, and I doubt that I will ever be able to love anyone or anything with as much ferocity and protection as I love her. The little baby that I would sleep next to has grown into a woman that somehow knows more about life, and the way to lead it than I ever could.

 

I look at my mother. I look at the infinite sacrifices she has made for me and I am petrified that I will never be able to pay her back. I don’t think I ever can, how can you ever repay someone that has given you everything? I look at the pain in her eyes when she sees me hurting, I feel the joy teeming inside her fingertips when she sees me smiling. I look at the woman who I am a part of, and who is a part of me and I feel nothing but absolute, pure love. 

 

Loving a woman is the most natural, instinctive thing anyone can ever do.