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The joy and despair of crushes

A bit like eating too much lemon meringue pie...

Written by Bríd Ryan and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"It’s the same as the early stages of love, which feels a bit like eating too much lemon meringue pie – you feel a little sick, but you’re happy about it."

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What is wrong with us? We can be as advanced and as mature as we like, but yet be buckled by a smile or a flutter of eyes, rendering us helpless and mindless. Can it be stopped?

The human brain: so evolved, so complex and so ruddy useful in everyday activities. I mean, try and imagine life without one and you couldn’t, simply because your imagination is in your brain. It’s more advanced that the bridge of the Starship Enterprise! And each and every one of us has one just hanging out in our heads – brilliant. The human brain is the biggest mammal brain in relation to body size. The frontal lobes are also the most developed of any other animal. These handy little bits hang out at the front (frontal, it’s in the name really) and deal with logic, self-control and imagination, the stuff that makes us human really.

Now before you accuse me of having a zombiesque love of brains, I realise that the brain isn't all good. It misplaces PIN numbers just when I’m at the ATM and it muddles up words as they are on their way down to my mouth. Plus, for as long as I can remember, it has been developing crushes on people. Not just passing admirations either, but 'full whack', lack-of-sleep-causing infatuations.

At the beginning, these are wonderful. It’s the same as the early stages of love, which feels a bit like eating too much lemon meringue pie – you feel a little sick, but you’re happy about it. You want to see this person as much as possible, perhaps changing your daily schedule slightly to do so. You think of any excuse to talk to them, if you are even able to talk to them. Then you start to torture yourself with every little smile and hair toss they exhibit, until you are convinced you love them. Eventually, you convince yourself that they love you too.

At this stage, some people finally pluck up enough courage to make that all important first move. This can be tricky because the object of your affection may either: a) not know you exist, or b) not think of you along the same lines, i.e. the greatest living thing to walk this earth, and oh how you make the earth so much better by just being in it.

Of course, there are the occasions where mutual feelings have been sizzling below the surface. Great, but you can forget about having any sort of meaningful relationship. You have created a pedestal so high that you will need good walking boots and some sort of energy bar to mount it. They are only human after all, and not the god or goddess you have created them in your brain to be, and so they are probably just going to disappoint you. Even if you’ve both been crushing equally on each other, you are both going to end up disappointed. So all and all, the whole crush situation is a lose-lose one.

So why does our brain allow us to have them? Continually we fall harder and harder for people, not learning from past crushing crushes, much like the lab rat that keeps reaching for the food pellet, despite the continuing electric shock. The thing is, crushes come from lust, and lust is an irrational feeling from a very primitive part of our brains. No matter how developed our frontal lobes become, we will always have these feelings, until evolution gets its act together anyway.

In the meantime, we have to try and live with them. Just as the Enterprise runs best with a mixture of Spock's and Kirk's logic and instincts, our heads also run better with a balance. So will we continue to have crushes and the gut wrenching feelings that go along with them? Yes, but we will also understand why. Don’t worry if that little fact doesn’t cheer you up, it’s not supposed to.

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Published January 21st, 2013
Last updated October 19th, 2015
Tags relationships love
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