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Remember when “I like you” was enough? “I like you” was the end all goal. “I like you” was the prize. Remember when “I like you” was enough?

I can pull out the journal and go to the specific page and entry when I first heard those words from the girl that I also liked. For the first time, it was mutual. For the first time, of all the people that I could “like”, she “liked” me back. At the time, I innocently called it a “phenomenon” of some sort, that two people could match this way in this world. “I like you” was enough. She became my first girlfriend. She became my first love.

Remember when “I love you” was enough? “I love you” was the epitome, all you needed. “I love you” was when you found the one. Remember when “I love you” was enough?

But that was before ex-boyfriends, before ex-girlfriends. Before her disapproving parents. Before his parents you couldn’t stand. This was before that little bad habit that grew into the most annoying thing ever. Before that little mole became all you saw. Before being cheated on by someone you trusted your life with. Before letting your thoughts stray to someone else. This was before pretending to like baseball. Before wishing he’d enjoy dancing, and sitting through musicals just to make her happy. “I love you” was enough before other “I love you’s”. “I love you” was enough before you realized “I thought I loved you.” It was enough before long distance meant seeing each other once a month. Before moving to New York because this was her only chance, or him taking the job in Chicago.  Before you realized you were never going to convert. This was before he was ready for kids and I wasn’t; and even before she wanted to get married and I still missed being a bachelor. It was before we were hurt so deeply, before we hurt others so selfishly. It was enough, until it you found out, it wasn’t.

Remember when “I like you” was enough?


41 thoughts on “Accumulated

  1. I’ve always imagined “I like you” as a pre-determined statement for what will eventually become “I love you.” I think that’s why people- the general genuine people that is- get the butterflies in their hearts started just from hearing that statement, because they know what’s eventually to come.

    I agree when you ask, what happened to that simpler state of mind?

    You are very wise Phil. You need to blog more often. =)

  2. “I like you” still remains a powerful phrase because it requires you to be vulnerable and trust another person with something that can be rejected or broken.

    Well written piece and can definitely see the patterns and thoughts that influence and make your work on WongFu shorts. Keep up the amazing storytelling.

  3. WELP i haven’t actually BEEN in a relationship before so i’m gonna say… no.
    but haha, your writing reminds me a little bit of mine. but there’s definitely more maturity in this. (:

  4. Aww, Phil. I really like this entry. It’s poetic; this is how I like to write my own blog posts when I’m feeling pensive. And emo.
    I wish I got to know you in person. I see snippets of your life in here, and even though it’s only a sliver of the stream of thoughts encompassing your experiences, you’ve put it in a such an eloquent way where it’s profound. Enough for me to feel an intensity, a whirlwind. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve ever had the privilege of touching someone else’s life as deeply in my own circle. It almost hurts to say I haven’t yet, even though I’ll never forget the imprints they’ve made.

    Yes, I remember when I love you was enough. Once upon a time. Who knows. Maybe it will be again someday.

  5. Very profound words. Keep up the posts, Phil! The best thing is finding that person and knowing ‘I love you’ is enough. Enough to make that little annoying habit become an endearing habit, enough to overcome any doubts and fears you have ever had about sharing the rest of your life with that person.

  6. Absolutely beautiful Phil. I also want to share of what I suddenly thought after reading; how those relationship “bases” like bases in baseball work. My friends and I played a little game before where we choose what we would do in those relationship “bases” ourselves, and I really hadn’t made mines solid.. until now, maybe. Here are my “bases” I would follow.

    Base 1: I like you. Base 2: I miss you. Base 3: I love you. Base 4: I’ll see you soon. Base 5: (home).

  7. Coming from being in a relationship for nearly 4 years, I can sympathize the pressures accumulated from a developing relationship. It isn’t easy and marriage has definitely crossed our minds (we are 21 and 31). I realized that as humans we can’t put our expectations aside, but we could learn that the relationship is greater than “me” or “I.” I have learned to let go of all the details and love the greater result from our hard work. The great thing about seeing the relationship as a broader entity is that we now strive so much harder to make it work because it is as unfamiliar as asking the question “who are you?” It’s instead “who are we?”

    I still have my insecurities and I am sure my boyfriend does too, but hopefully striving to answer the unanswerable question will keep us together. Full of ambiguity and love.

    Jacinta Yong

    P.S. WFP fan since I was 11! Ya’ll should come visit Miami sometime. ^_^

  8. I don’t know about “I like you” being enough – but I definitely think it is a necessity. “I like you” provides security – it provides reassurance that a baby step has been accomplished before moving onto something bigger. “I love you” is really scary to me. I think it’s too easy for people to declare “love”. But it’s a bit harder to declare “like”, I feel like it’s often taken for granted. You feel an attraction so you never have to state it. You’re obviously spending time with each other and care for each other, so you don’t ever have to put it out there in words that you “like” each other, because it’s assumed.

    But for me, I think I’ll always want that constant reassurance of “like” rather than “love”. Love is too big a step that happens too early, making it seem dishonest. So give me “like” – I feel like I can trust more in “like” rather than “love”.

  9. what if it still is enough? what if it is just enough needed to expand understanding, teach hearts and propel us to the all, the everything?

    i think so.

    that’s the beauty of enough- when it is joy it is everything, when it is pain, it is only just enough to serve us right. any more, and even any less, would be too much- either too harmful or too pointless.

    but the joys of enough are so disproportionately in our favor.

  10. I love coming back to your blog once in a while and find a new well-written post. I’m not of dreamy nature but I love reading about romantic souls’ thoughts. It transports so many emotions that it still moves me as if I

  11. “I like you” or “I love you” will never be enough. Why? Because majority of the time, these expressions are dependent on what/how we feel. But what we fail to realize is that REAL love is not based on our feelings. It is a state of the will. It is a choice we make. ‘Being in love’ is a nice feeling, but no feeling can last its full intensity, or even last at all. Feelings come and go. However when the feeling of ‘being in love’ goes, this does not necessarily mean that we cease to love. REAL love is not merely a feeling but is maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit such that two people can have this love for each other even in those moments when they don’t like each other very much, when the habits become terribly annoying or even if they allowed themselves ‘be in love’ with someone else.

    Nowadays, we get bombarded with false ideas from the media, from books, movies, etc, that once you find the ‘right person’ you will ‘be in love’ for ever. When this does not happen, we think we’ve made a mistake and are therefore entitled to change not realizing that those initial thrills will also with time, fade just as they did before.

    Interesting piece Phil.

    1. I completely agree. After a certain point, one that comes rather early in the big picture, love is not about feelings, it’s about choices, it’s about resolve, and, as you said, will. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. I read your blogs and always wonder if you write these beautiful words to see if someone out there will truly understand how you really feel inside.

  13. I often think about how we hit this point in relationships, and the person we cared so much about can no longer evoke a reaction when you see them.

  14. I remember when hearing I love you was enough. The world suddenly didn’t seem so bad, and it seemed like it would last forever. But I also remember the pain in learning that those feelings are, most of the time, very ephemeral in romantic love. Using the word ‘enough’ like you use it in this context, to me, includes the concept of ‘from now on’, of ‘forever’. Like, if I hear ‘I love you’, and it feels strong enough, it will be able to keep me going forever. But we can’t know the future. We can’t tell that ‘I love you’ is going to last forever, because life changes, people change and so do their feelings. I don’t understand why they do, but they do.
    There’s another side to it, though. Lots of popular movies and books have led us to believe that hearing the words ‘I like you’, or ‘I love you’, the achievement of romantic love, is life’s ultimate goal. They show people declaring their love to each other at the end, but, what happens after that? The truth is that life is not supposed to be filled only with romantic love. Even if we find ‘the one’, in the many years that we will potentially spend with them, life is going to be full of other things. In my opinion, we should start believing that these other things, like starting a new hobby, making a turning point in our career, traveling the world, helping others, have the same power to fulfill us as romantic love, if we let them. Now, how can we learn to believe that? I guess that’s another story. I don’t think I’ll manage for a long time, or ever. But, hopefully, we’ll get there someday.

  15. I just watched the very beautiful short that stems from this post.

    Just wanted to say thank you for including the reason of “Before you realized you were never going to convert”. I actually didn’t catch it when I read this post last year, but when I saw the scene in the short, it hit me hard. As you can guess, that is the precise reason why my previous relationship did not work out. I realized he was never going to convert to worship my Jesus, and even though I loved him (or so I thought), I had to let go. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life, even up to today – 10 years later.

    I’m not very good with words to convey how deeply it touched me, and all the emotions it brought back… but just wanted to thank you Phil, for including that, and challenging your audience to see deeper into the realities of loving someone. It is never going to be easy, but hopefully in the end, the reward will be worth all the sacrifice and compromise. I sincerely wish the best for you in your future relationships.

  16. I was touched by the article by Phil and then shocked by the deep insight of love by Lizzie, for a while, because these words sort of solved the problem in my mind of what true is and give me a clear view of the nowadays societies and in the mean time, calm the fear inside of me which is, as Lizzie said, what should I do when feelings of love lose its intensity.

    But Is that telling me that enduring love is all about endurance and toleration? Is that against humanity or an animal’s instinct? If it is, then what’s the benefit of all of this? Seen from a higher level, it is good to make sure the relationship last long enough to produce offspring. But what about the feelings, isn’t it all about feelings that disguises man from other animals? It’s more like a compromise of reality than acceptance with pleasure.

    Yes, finally it comes to this one word, compromise.

    When it comes to things like body height, age, income… We know we can not change it, at least in a short time, so we compromise. We are so used to compromise everyday to a variety of things we have to face with. In that way, we keep ourselves balanced.

    But when it comes to a relationship, It seems the majority choose not to compromise.There are two reasons for this. First, it is believed that there’s always a better on out there. Secondly, it is also believed that the cost of break that balance is acceptable.

    Is these right? Now it’s time to bring up Statistic.

    Let’s make an assumption:There indeed IS someone who perfectly fits you and the probability of fall in love with that person is 1/100. (This probability is impossibly higher than the reality). This probability means that if you get into relationship for 100 times, then you might finally meet one person that fit you perfectly. 100 relationships, think about it, how long does it take. So, Now it is clear that even if there is someone, soul mate, Mr/Ms Right or whatever you want to call it, the chance to meet him/her is quite low and the cost of time and effort is extremely high and far beyond acceptable. Maybe after a few relationships, you’ll find each of them are somewhat imperfect and different. Isn’t it stupid to keep looking for perfect one? As Lizzie said: “REAL love is not based on our feelings. It is a state of the will. It is a choice we make.”

    What a relief: We are not animal, we knew how to use Statistics.

  17. A friend told me: relationship is never meant to be not complicated. It requires hardwork as people changed. It also goes for ‘I love you’.

    Perhaps, you’ll find that person who you want to work hard with soon.

  18. Reblogged this on Miss Raiza's and commented:
    I was watching some old but memorable videos of Wong Fu Productions a few days ago. Yes, it’s cliche because I just recently experienced a breakup and dwelling in the pain more by watching their videos. My all-time favorite is Somewhere Like This and Accumulated. When Somewhere Like This came out, I became afraid of what Nathan and I could become. I told him to watch the video and I cried for days thinking about it. He told me that we are never going to be like that and that we will always be of each other’s better half, till our last breath. But it isn’t because he decided to let me go more than a week ago. Some of our close friends told me to give each other time and space to heal and we’ll fall back together eventually but by the words that he said, it’s unlikely.

    Accumulated on the other hand made me think that we were on our way there when it was released on YouTube. It was only a matter of time and circumstances before we hit the ground and say that we’ve had enough.

    Back when, I love you was enough.

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