And yet. I remember very clearly having strong crushes for both sexes, and some strong enough that I would call them love. I wouldn't have thought of them that way at the time because I had no context for it, but so it was.
Crushes: My first crush was Stevie. He was also the first person my age I ever met (that I can remember). I was four. That crush lasted through me letting him cut in line in front of me and kicking people who spoke badly of him. The older kids called me 'Pocahontas' for my fierce protectiveness and willingness to sacrifice myself (and my long hair). But it ended one day in kindergarten when I was on the merry-go-round and he ordered me to get off, even though he wasn't even using it! (he was on the monkey bars) I considered whether or not I wanted to listen, and Marcus spoke up and said "She doesn't need to get off! She can use it." Suddenly I realized that a person who wanted to control me wasn't worth my love, and my infatuation promptly switched from Stevie to Marcus. (I've never again fallen for someone who wanted to tell me what to do)
Crush: At the beginning of my third grade year, a new girl came to my school. She had long, curly, fiery red hair and she was SO bold and feisty. Her name was Brandy, and we quickly became best friends. She also 'went out' with Marcus, but I didn't care. Once he hurt her feelings and she cried and I then HATED him, but forgave him when they got back together. In the middle of the school year I moved to Atlanta (my dad's in the military) and when we parted she cried! I was so touched that she cared so much for me. She gave me her dad's phone number (her parents were divorced and he lived in ATL) but I lost it. That is one of the things I most regret having lost.
Crush: At some point in those early years I went to Vacation Bible School and saw this girl with loooooooong black hair, green eyes, and a ready smile -- I had such a crush on her that I looked for her every time I went to church from then on. She was older than me, so I was too intimidated to talk to her, but wow, I can still remember the thrill of seeing her.
I also crushed on my partner from when I met him at age 8 and we all know how that turned out :D There were many other crushes, but not so strong as these.
Love: Then I met Sylvia McStay. I would never have categorized it as romantic love then... I was 11, she was 8 and she lived down the road from me. I spent all my time with her and tried to 'save' her (despite being scared to share) and got extremely jealous if she played with anyone without me. I was downright mean to her cousin because Sylvia would play with her without me (and the cousin and I didn't get along, so Sylvia wouldn't tell me about it). Several times I beat up Sylvia's older brother for being mean to her -- once he made the mistake of bonking her on the head while the three of us were in the backseat of the car and he couldn't run off (going to Vacation Bible School, no less) and I turned into an absolute wildcat and tore him up. Scared my mom, heh. After that he didn't bother her when I was around. I was definitely too possessive, but I genuinely loved her in my dysfunctional way. After we moved, I wrote her a lot (which is impressive for an 11-year-old) and sent presents on her birthday, and talked her up to all my Maryland friends. Whenever I got mad at them I would threaten not to let them meet Sylvia when she came to visit, and they were so in-love-by-proxy that that actually worked. She was this mythical creature to me, and therefore to them. Then we lost touch because she moved, and didn't get back in touch until one day when I looked up her dad's name in the phone book and called her! I went to visit for a few days, but was somewhat disillusioned because she had a habit of lying (not in attempt to deceive but in attempt to make herself seem 'more') and she was a cheerleader. Mainly I realized we weren't close any more, which made me very sad, but I mourned and moved on. I tried to send her an invitation to my graduation but the letter was returned because she'd moved.
Love: I met Rachel at a homeschooling co-op when I was about 14, and I idolized her. She was everything I had always wanted to be -- beautiful, intelligent, a talented artist, an advanced ballet dancer, a very skilled musician, very friendly and confident and popular and spiritual. I would cry myself to sleep at night (many, many nights) because she was so important to me and I didn't mean anything to her (that I could tell, anyway). I desperately wanted to be the most important girl in her life (I loathed her best friend even though she was nice enough). I would have given anything for her. Then we went to camp with our youth group and she acted in a way that I thought was horrible, and I hated her for wrecking the falsely perfect image I had of her. (I wasn't very kind or forgiving as a child) I think a big part of the reason I hated her so much was because I had such strong feelings for her, and once I deemed her unworthy of love I had to send those feelings in another direction. Now looking back, I really regret having judged her. I had a dream about her two years ago that really changed my perspective, and I tried to get back in touch but couldn't. I hope she's doing okay, wherever she is.
Love: I met Josh at Camp on the Rock (a Christian youth camp) when I was about 15, I think. He told his testimony (the story of his life, for you who are not as acquainted with christianese) and I was so incredibly moved that just before the week ended, I took him aside and told him how much I was blown away, and cried in front of him (me, who was terrified of showing emotion in front of people, terrified of talking to strangers, and especially terrified of guys). He thanked me humbly and hugged me. I prayed for him every single night for the next full year. That is some serious dedication! I think I may have forgotten twice, but I made up for it by sometimes praying multiple times a day. The next year, we were in the same group again (I think the only people in the camp who were in the same group both years, and I'm certain it was because I prayed for it the whole ride there) but I was put off by the change in him. Instead of humble and vulnerable, he was cocky and swaggering. I probably would have hated him for it, but several times I sensed a wistfulness, and I knew that wasn't the way he wanted to act, but that he felt he had to put up that front for some reason. Also, at one point we put on a skit, and he was one of two guys who put on dresses, makeup, and high heels (I can't remember what the skit was, heh) and I was VERY impressed by that. It takes a certain kind of guy to do that! and it wasn't some flouncy sexless dress either -- it was a knee-length formfitting sheath dress! I thought he was incredibly sexy. He is the only 'bulky muscled' guy I have ever been attracted to.
I've always been prone to falling in love or dancing on the edge of it. I'm a little in love with three girls and two guys (not including my partner) at the moment but don't think I'll be posting about that. *blushes*