Developing a crush is not a voluntary action, nor is it an especially pleasant one. You do not choose a crush. You might think you’re choosing a crush when you first observe the cute boy from down the hall, or the shy barista at Starbucks, or that person from the gym whose shorts clutch their butt-cheeks each time they lift a dumbbell. But alas, you have not chosen. You have been chosen. THE CRUSH has chosen you. And, as its name implies, the crush will pulverize your very being.
A crush is not a gentle killer. It is a ruthless predator that attacks, often unexpectedly, with an intensity unknown to any other earthly assailant. It may begin as a simple fluttering of interest or passing fancy. But, before long, it overtakes the very core of your body, overwhelms your senses, and renders you helpless with the strength of its mighty grip.
And, contrary to popular belief, there is very little you can do to stop it. You can only let it wash over you as it grows from a tiny seed of affection into full-blown life-impairing fondness.
The entire process can be broken down into 6 stages:
1. Denial: As THE CRUSH begins to tighten it’s ravenous grip over your frail, vulnerable heart, the mind’s natural response is to attempt to ignore THE CRUSH’s existence. You’ll try to suppress the flitter in your stomach, balling it instead into a small, dense knot of volatile feelings. “No,” you’ll try to tell the ball. “You’re not real. You can’t exist for a person I know nothing about.” You imagine instead a false reality in which you’ve never seen or met this person before, an alternate universe where you can deny them the volatile ball of your feelings and live freely as a person un-ruined by debilitating love.
2. Anger: When the tight ball of feelings you’ve suppressed inevitably erupts into a fury of uncontrollable affection, the next natural response is to fight THE CRUSH with equal temper. You’ll lash out at yourself, for being vulnerable enough to succumb to the sweet, sweet beauty of your crush’s presence, their fair skin and flowing hair, the way they smile and the intensity of their laugh. You’ll lash out at THEM, for being too luscious to resist. You’ll lash out at your friends and loved ones, for not understanding the source of your violent infatuation.
3. Bargaining: Before THE CRUSH has truly taken hold, you’ll attempt to seek compromise to stave off its more vicious effects. You’ll try desperately to re-focus your obsessions on other objects, to turn your affections on cross-stitching, perhaps, or mastering a winter olympic sport, all with the goal of stopping your mind from imagining your crush wet and soapy in a bathtub. Inevitably failing at that, you’ll try instead to focus your obsessions on other humans, perhaps tricking yourself into falling in love with someone who will crush your hopes and dreams with less ferocity, someone pleasant and safe who doesn’t make your insides feel like warm mashed potatoes covered in greasy gravy, like a dog or a nice bird. This, of course, will also inevitably fail.
4. Depression. At this point, the body begins to shut down in the face of THE CRUSH. “Why bother with anything,” you’ll tell yourself, as you slide your legs into sweatpants, sit down with a plate of pasta, and scroll through your crush’s Instagram feed, hovering nihilistically over the LIKE button on 72-week old pictures. THE CRUSH has now all but consumed you. When you wake up, THE CRUSH bears down on you like a swarm of zealous bees. Every time you think of your crush — that is, every time you move a limb — you feel its excruciating sting. It weighs deeply on your body and soul.
5. Acceptance. THE CRUSH has now fully consumed you. It has grown from a small pebble into a mountain of violent emotions bursting through your body. You have no option but to submit to its every whim. You accept that your life is now nothing but plotting your future with THE CRUSH. You’ve begun selecting children’s names, have considered putting a down-payment on a house or perhaps an apartment in a Manhattan high-rise where you and THE CRUSH can live out your days.
6. Death. Having depleted you of all sense and life, THE CRUSH leaves you for dead. There was nothing you could do to stop it. THE CRUSH always wins.