Words by Erika Ramirez.
I have two iterations of an editor’s letter for ILY saved in the back of my brain—one for each year that went by and ILY was still a work in progress.
If this was 2014, this would be a letter of unrequited love, of pining for reciprocation, to then pining for a little bit more time to pine. I’d probably quote a lyric from a song off Sampha‘s Dual, James Blake‘s Overgrown, or Mariah Carey‘s underrated song “Breakdown.” Or, if it was the end of 2014, this letter would be about living on autopilot, but maybe not, because I didn’t realize I had lost myself in a dream for one until 2015.
If this was 2015, this would be a letter about purchasing a large, stuffed teddy bear the day after Valentine’s Day, because it was half-off and I knew I would need something to wean me from sleeping beside my ex-boyfriend, who on Valentine’s Day was making plans to cheat on me with his ex-girlfriend.
Bae Sreummurd, the bear, has held me down.
Now I see, while writing this, that every year that passed wasn’t the year for ILY, because ILY is me, and I wasn’t putting myself first.
I’ve always been all about love, unbiased and unabashedly. Every conversation I’ve had—from friends to rappers I interviewed to strangers—I’d weave in love. Love has intrigued me since knee-high: How do others define love? How do they know when it’s love? Maybe selfishly and subconsciously, I ask to get closer to love, myself.
ILY is for the non-believers and hopeless romantics. ILY is a safe haven where you can come to hate love, or love love. ILY is for the sour patch kids like myself who want to kick love in the chin one minute, and then sweeten up at the thought of its magic.
Our February (and first) digital cover artist, Kehlani, is all about love. She symbolizes the first month’s editorial theme: Young & Restless. She takes on all forms of love, from personal to professional, with such vigor and anticipation. Jacques Pierre François, the artist behind “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” recently quit his job to solely focus on his love, drawing. I can relate to the sense of restlessness one feels when dealing, or not being able to deal, with something or someone you love.
It’s 2016, and I’ve never been so single. Like, clean your fridge and online shop for a slow pressure cooker at 1 a.m. type of single. So single that I can put my love for love first, finally. Love for passion, love for love, and hopefully, in due time: love for another.