Reflections on Love

You walk in, surrounded by walls made of tulle, string lights, art hung by laundry pins on hand cut wire. Settle in.


To tell the truth, I have never been the most trusting of Love. Love has always played, scuffed, bruised, hurt, mocked, fooled, laughed at, scarred me; never built me, cared for, looked after, enveloped, filled, excited, enabled, been there for me. Growing up, I didn’t live the life similar to that of those surrounding me; the unusual moves from city to city, the only child complication, the crazy half introvert half extrovert kid, and of course, the divorced parents who are definitely not on good terms. All these things made it seem like there was an absence of love around me. Not to say that I didn’t feel loved, but I believed in just about anything but love, it never gave me a reason to.

While working on this project, that actually stemmed from a newspaper assignment, I began looking for love everywhere. Actually, it seemed that as I needed to become more focused on it, love began to find me. As cliche as it sounds, I found love in the most unusual corners of not only my life, but other people’s as well. As I started to find comfort & content in my friends, my favorite movies or my sisters adventures, I began to see it in myself. Love was in the folds of my favorite jeans, the pages of my journal, my everyday seat in English class. I began to realize that love will never hand you a reason to believe in it- you have to find your own reasons. I didn’t need to find a significant other or get a compliment from a certain person or expect anything for that matter. All I had to do was be sure there was love all around. LOVE IS ALL AROUND. Love is the lyrics we belt, the birthday wishes we give, the laughs we cannot hold in, the hands we hold, the seemingly insignificant, tiny moments that make up our lives. Love is the magic of words, the little kid in yellow playing in puddles, hearing your mom’s voice, the suitcases that cross borders with us, your childhood home, or the home you’ve had to create for yourself. Love is falling in, and falling out, and having love, and lacking it. Love is red and yellow and green, and love is purple and blue and black. Love is just as much hurt as it is joy, and just as much myth as it is truth. Love is everything we do and do not believe in, and love is this. All of it.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde

Jenna Elsetouhy


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to be able to capture the moments in my life, to be able to share them with people, that's love.
Matenia Altikatis (@ma10ia)
Love is being comfortable.
Bailey Beyene

Love is… so many things all at once. Before this year, I did not understand the concept of romantic love, but falling in love with a boy beyond my wildest dreams has made me realize all that love is. It is endless, dreamlike, young, beautiful, pure.

This love that I share with this boy is one of the purest things that I have ever known. Love is filled with adventures, singing in the car, mapping directions to our destination and praying we don’t get lost, hours spent with him that feel like minutes, praying for him and our future together, feeling worlds away from everyone else, although we are never alone.

It is the feeling of his arms wrapped around me and his laugh bringing a smile to my face. It is doing schoolwork together, and helping each other study. It is our shared love of space and both of us staring up at the sky together before he has to go home. Feeling connected within a few days of knowing each other, a feeling I had never experienced until then.

Falling in love at seventeen has opened my eyes to a whole new world, one that has changed my perspective on so many things.

Love is so many things all at once. Love is endless and like a dream.


Maddie Bryann, @thehalcyongirls


Thank you to Erin Wendling, Anmol Singh & Hannah Sheridan for their photos in this video <3


The only lights of the night shines directly on her perfect hazel eyes. Her body lays across the soft grassed hill gracefully as she glares up into the unknown. I am unable to lift my head up to the sky because I am in constant stare with her adorable tiny freckles, along her beautiful smooth nose. I am motionless, I am barely breathing, I am speechless. I am in complete and utter awe of the alluring creature before me. Prior to getting close to her, my thoughts were scrambled, dismal and twisted like the dark sky. All of my insecurities and inner battles had come out to fight with me at night. My mind is now a blank sheet of paper thanks to her. My mind is a clean slate and is ready to be at peace. Her eyes finally meet mine, the light is stronger than ever. I am at a loss for words.

I seek constellations across the sky to keep myself occupied from dealing with him. A brother, that's what he is to me yet he is unable to realize how I really feel. I admire his charming smile and optimism. I am fascinated by all of his quirks and his awful impressions of unknown “celebrities”. Rather, he is a friend to me… a best friend… a brother. I force myself to stare at the dark sky and not turn my head to look at him. The sounds of the planes hovering above our heads, gives me a distraction from confronting him. Gnats and small insects are on top of the layers of sweat along my short, thick legs. I am too frightened that he will learn that I do not feel the same way, and our friendship will be destroyed. My chubby hands shake uncontrollably but I continue to look at the stars and hope that his affection for me will diminish quickly. My head turns to meet his and I am able to recognize the glimmer in his eyes. I smile back at his pale complexion as the dark void inside me grows. I am at a loss for words.



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Brianna Simpkins



Jenna Elsetouhy



Erin Wendling


Kira Marie


Love means many different things to me so rather than explaining in a singular long paragraph, I’’m going to list some specific things that mean love to me.

Love is racing to someone’s house regardless of consequences to help a friend who needs support.

Love is sneaking out for 2 am coffee dates when everything else is too much.

Love is walking in the middle of the street on drunken adventures and sharing secrets with your best friend.

Love is driving anywhere and everywhere, just to get away from all the stresses in life to enjoy each other’s company.

Love is moving halfway across the country, and still being there for the people that need you the most despite the distance.

Love is accepting people close to you for who they are, no matter who they love.

Love, in my life, means friendship. I will never be able to express my gratitude for the love that all of my friends show me.



An Outsider’s Thoughts on Love

Love, something so genuine

Yet so easily tainted and made fake

Something so beautiful

Yet hurts so much

Most of love turns out to be lust

And some may go through life lost, longing for love

Others are lucky and fate is on their side

But it’s not like the fairytale the media portrays

It’s a challenge and a process made for the brave

There are ups and downs

During fights, words are like bombs that start to ignite

It can lead to divide, but also unite

In the end love conquers all

No matter how big, no matter how small

Gina Maille


Love is every single word to the John Mayer song “Love on the Weekend”.

Nicole Cier


Love is

how he grabs you, holds you in his


in closed doors

The safety of the bedroom

and in front of roaming eyes

in the lift, going up

His hand on your thigh leaning in to

listen to your words

And yet your voice goes mute, your

thoughts muddled

Giggling at art museums

Soft whispers in late night subway


as their tracks beat methodically,

thud thud

A shared cup of water

And love is too, the realisation of

solitude, the pain of nothingness felt

as you lie in the cloying silence of

your bedroom and try to breathe,


Something else than the absence of

those loving hands.

Love is the days when I did not want to touch my diary cause I only wanted to touch you

Love is people bringing you free coffee on mellow Mondays, even though you did not ask for it

Rebecka Kann






an intense feeling of deep affection.

synonyms :deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment

Dear Jenna,

Primarily, when you asked me to contribute to your project I was scared. Scared because it required me to analyze myself and my feelings in ways I never have before. I tried making a collage, I tried painting, I even tried drawing, and ended up throwing away all of them. Now, here I am- hours prior to your submission deadline, and I ask myself, What is love? How do we measure love? *cue glee song* Is love a single feeling? How do we determine who deserves love and who does not? It was only after really thinking about it that i’ve come to the conclusion that there is no answer to these questions. there is no definition for love. love is coming home to dinner on the table. Love is coming home to a heated home. Love is not texting someone because you know they’re driving. love is washing those dishes because you know your mom has had a hard day at work. Love is listening to your little sister talk about paw patrol for hours on end. love is watching a three hour movie that aren't particularly interested in, solely because it’ll make the person next to you smile a little wider. Love is the pain in the depths of your stomach from laughing a little too hard. love can be kind. however, love can mean tears. love can mean pain, and love can mean sorrow. Love, at some points, can be deceiving. Love is why you cry that extra tear at your relatives funeral. Love is why you and your mom get into that fight. Love is why you got so worked up over that stupid boy who you knew treated you terribly. Love is misleading.

Everybody wants to be loved. It takes the bad love to make us crave the good love even more. Some people deserve love that they’ll unfortunately never receive- but that's just the way things are sometimes. Some people will love only to just be hurt in the end- but that’s what makes us who we are. We as humans are shaped by love. Some of that being good love and some of that being the not so good love. What love will you put forth?

Love is emotional, love is physical, love is kind, love is hurt. Jenna, I hope that someday you receive the greatest love of all.

Amanda Belmar


Love, is a simple emotion yet so complex. Often times you are born into love form and for your family, but this is familiar and known. Later in life there is often a certain someone who enters your life. This person may become your partner in life. You fall in love, which can be confusing at first. However, this love develops and is strong and feels like the absolute reason life was gifted to the planet we live on. This is unfamiliar and not known. The discovery of true love is blissful yet stressful. I personally first felt this feeling in the late July of this year, 2017. It was scary to love someone else after all past relationships developed trust issues within myself. I knew what I felt was real and worth the chance of any heartbreak. I fell in love at the age of 17. I know, young love has cynically been tainted with the reputation as being invalid. I always criticized those “in love” in high school and swore it would never happen to me; but there is no denying Evan and I’s relationship is the purest form of love. I always have been a believer in love due to growing up with parents in love. This love may be the greatest love story of all time, at least for me. His love has been confidently one of the best things to ever happen to me as it becomes familiar and known, to my heart.

Whitney Milton


Interactive piece at Gallery Night, "What Does Love Mean To You?"

Jenna Elsetouhy & friends


Creating/curating/being the eye over all of this/being such a tiny part of this piece was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my near 17 years of living. Thank you to everyone who contributed, and shared their versions of love with me. It was an honor being able to put all of your visions into the world, and getting to hear what you had to say. Additionally, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who reads The Scintillation. At the beginning of 2017, I was doubtful of where, when, how, what I could possibly do to try to help this world. I was scared to share what I felt, I was scared of what other people would think, I was scared of what was inside of my head. If you had told me that by the end of the year, this is where I would be in terms of how willing I would be to put my work out there, how people respond to my work, and how happy I am with my work, I would have probably be speechless. Something very important I learned this year was to be brave- "think about how short life is... every chance you get to scream your love (of any kind) into the universe, you should take... If you've got something special, don't dim the light because you're afraid of how bright it will truly shine." Thank you so much for being there; reading, commenting, listening, sharing, creating your own thoughts. 2018 will be good to us.