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Issue 31 • February 2020

Humans of The Tavern

Love is Love

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Interviewed by Clara Choi & Catherine Xie

Photography by Clara Choi

"Love is such an abstract concept that makes defining love in a single line quite difficult. I often find words to be limiting when trying to express what love is. When thinking about love, there are various kinds that come to our minds: the love between a parent and a child, love between friends, and love between romantic partners, to name a few. 

For any type of love to blossom into a healthy relationship, there are three crucial aspects that one should be mindful of: communication, trust, and empathy. I often notice that the most robust relationships are the ones that are grounded in excellent communication skills. I would like to mention here that we often forget that listening and receiving feedback is vital as much as expressing your thoughts and opinions. Trust is another integral component that establishes authenticity in relationships. Without trust, a relationship cannot provide a person a place of comfort, which it should be. Lastly, empathy is the ability to understand each other. Being in a relationship means sharing time, sharing experiences, and ultimately, sharing emotions together. Above all, communication, trust, and empathy should always be mutual among the people involved in a relationship. A relationship can and should never be one-sided.

As the Director of Student Wellness, I hope that Brooks students will always be willing to expand their comfort zones–by meeting people from diverse backgrounds and building relationships with someone that you think is different from yourself. I can ensure that it will be an eye-opening experience for everyone."

– Ms. Holmes, Brooks School

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Interviewed by Michelle Kim

Photography by Michelle Kim

"If I were explaining love to a five year old–it’s cheesy–but I would say it feels like butterflies in your stomach. Or at least the beginning of it does. Because true love stems from knowing you would do anything for them. No matter what. Admittedly, I’ve never experienced love with a partner yet; I’ve only experienced it from my family and friends but I know what kind of love that is. It's real, unmeasurable and treasured."

– Mary Collins, Groton School

"I feel like the way gayness and gay love works on campus is that as long as people kind of forget you’re queer, you’re okay. As long as you’re not “too gay” or “too queer” and as long as you fit into the narrative of being a respectable gay, Milton kind of respects you. I also feel like queer love on campus is very small because your friend group is mostly queer; queer people manage to find other queer people, and it’s definitely weird and messy to date your friends. If Milton were much, much larger–maybe Exeter size–maybe there would be more freedom for queer love. I remember in freshman year, there were only two openly gay men in our grade so they dated, even though they weren’t compatible–they were just both gay. Another thing is that I don’t think Milton fosters a comfortable environment for gay men to come out. I feel like it’s much easier to be a queer woman on this campus than a queer man. And as long as you’re “passing” and you’re not “too gay” or “too this” or “too that,” then everything is fine on campus. I’m pan, and I feel like my identity is so invalidated sometimes because I’m not gay enough: people forget that I’m gay, and that is annoying for me because I do so much work in the LGBT community, but because I don’t present a certain way people are like “Oh, you’re straight.” Everything’s straight, and you’re just like, “Welp, here I am.” "

– Kendelle Grubbs, Milton Academy

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Interviewed by Miriam Zuo

Photography by Miriam Zuo

"When asked about her definition of love, Sarah Jahries described it as intense happiness. To her, love is something that allows her to live authentically. Sarah says she loves her wife, children, and dog, Cookie. She also has a special place in her heart for the little things in life such as eating licorice, cooking, and jamming out to the Grateful Dead. Love is something she holds for both the people in her life and the smaller everyday pleasures, and having the room for this much love in her life allows her to live authentically and be happy while doing so.


Love is something that allows me to live authentically. I love my wife, children, and dog, Cookie. I also have a special place in my heart for the little things in life such as eating licorice, cooking, and jamming out to the Grateful Dead. Love is something I hold for both the people in my life and the smaller everyday pleasures, and having the room for this much love in my life allows me to live authentically and be happy while doing so."

– Sarah Jahries, NMH

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Interviewed by Philip Psaledakis

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 Interviewed by Christine Ling

Photography by Christine Ling

"I think back to the days when my son was five years old. Because love is such an abstract thing, you must do your best to connect it to something that the five-year-old understands. For instance, explaining that it's a feeling that you hold within you and it's often not related to your brain at all. It's your emotions. It's your heart. My son had a bunny, called Pancake Bunny because it was a flat bunny and he said ‘I love Pancake Bunny’ and I asked, ‘Well, do you like Pancake Bunny as much as you love Mommy and Daddy?’ That caused him to pause. He thought about it and he said, ‘No, I love Pancake Bunny differently.’ That was actually a very useful example because I could ask him, ‘How?’ Of course, he is only five and doesn't have the vocabulary or even the capacity to really explain the distinction, but he seemed to understand that how he felt towards his mom and his dad was more expansive than what he felt toward Pancake Bunny. That was a great way into explaining what Love is. 


When you love someone, it's expansive. It's huge. It's big, and I asked if he understood how the way Mommy and Daddy loved him was different than we loved each other and that was harder to parse out. He gave up and said, ‘Well, you kiss him differently than you kiss me’ and I left it at that and simply said, ‘Yes, that's the difference.’ But the most important thing for me was for him to understand that love is often never governed by our brains, our minds. It's not an intellectual endeavor. It is a full-body, emotional endeavor. That's why you sometimes get into situations when you get hurt because your intellect is often not engaged."


– Ms. Matthews, St. Mark's School

Animal Love

Interviewed by Grace Mead

"I would define love as my parents cutting my fruit for me or offering me rides when it's cold. It's my friends checking up on me. Love is all that matters to me, really. I think it's all that should matter to anyone. In simple terms, it's the fix-all–the thing that makes you feel better when you're sad. As for loving someone else, you want to make them happy, and a piece of you hurts when they are in pain."

– Riley Suh, Tabor Academy

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