An Interview with Kristen Vasan. Topic: “Love”. We met Kristen in Amsterdam, on a cold winter night. Cosy with a glass of red wine and some nuts we sat down on a couch and talked about one of the most discussed topics of humanity.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
(laughs) No, not anymore.
For me, it takes really understanding what’s inside of a person to fall in love with him. I think it’s possible to have immediate feelings of love for someone after just one conversation — I’d attribute this to a sense of depth within that person though, which is telling from how they talk about certain things. The amount of wisdom a person possesses is what makes falling in love with them easiest, for me at least. So if you want to call it ‘love at first encounter’ (rather than love at first sight) I’m certainly capable of that. But to just physically see someone and love them, for me that just doesn’t exist.
If you could name it, what do you fall in love with?
If we’re focusing on what I fall in love with in a person, it ends up being a continuation of what I alluded to earlier. It’s a sense of respect and perceived wisdom that the other person possesses — that this person has lived, he’s learned from that and he works on being the best version of himself because of everything he’s been through.
Did your family leave a footprint on how you are loving?
It was important to my parents that we show gratitude and kindness towards everyone and never look past people like we’re better than them. I definitely have more love for people who share this perspective.
What do you hate about love?
I don’t think it’s possible to hate love. I hear a lot of people say things like ‘I hate love because it hurt me’ but I’d really challenge them to consider the circumstances being what caused pain, rather than blaming love. So for me, I don’t hate love, I just don’t. What upsets me is that there aren’t enough people who have this outlook so they confuse love with other feelings that are triggered by negative experiences. Which results in feeling hate, and that’s maybe what we need to think about and work on.
Can you give too much love?
I think it’s possible for people to love someone or something so much that it distracts them from what they should really be focusing on. The risk here is that most of us stop taking care of ourselves when this happens, which creates a gap that we fill with buffers like working too much, partying, obsessing over social media, etc — it’s different for everyone. You risk essentially leaving a lot of space to become someone that you don’t like because you have displaced all of your love for something else. If you don’t stop and think about how important it is to love yourself, you’ll wind up feeling completely lost.
How did you learn to love yourself?
I needed to experience exactly what I just described, which wasn’t easy.
What did you take away from that experience?
I learned to make time for myself and to establish clearer boundaries — not too much to the point where I had put up walls that would prevent me from ever loving another person. But if you want to use Amsterdam as an example since we’re here, I see myself as standing firmly in the Center, and the tiny waterways that hug the city and reach out to its edges are like boundaries that have been created by lessons learned from relationships, people, memories.
How long did it take you to get to where you are today?
It took me a couple years to build myself back up to a place where nothing will ever shake me. Like, no love that I experience from here on out will ever be able to disrupt the amount of work that I had to do on myself, which took a lot. In the end, I learned how to develop a stronger sense of security, how to put my ego aside, and maybe just to remember to go easy on myself, to love myself.
You seem totally ready for a new love?!
I am in a fortunate position not only because of how strong these experiences made me but because of how much freedom I have — I’m a childless woman living in Manhattan! Actualizing this really kicked me in the ass and reminded me that I need to own this time in my life and use it wisely. I definitely feel ready for the kind of love I’ve always imagined and hoped could exist for me someday.
Place of birth: Rochester (NY)
Parents: Carolina (Background in Special Education) and Allen (Background in Business). My mom’s heritage is Spanish and she was born in Honduras. My dad’s heritage is Indian, but he was born in NYC. Both are retired now and full-time volunteers.
Siblings: (younger sister) Daniela, living in Minneapolis
Study/Learned profession: International Studies + Spanish Literature/ Business Development
Relationship status: Newly unavailable and optimistic about the future.
Romantic or realistic? I think you can be either a ‘romantic realist’ or a ‘realistic romantic’. I identify with the latter. Realists that lack romance are probably more stable since they are willing to settle. I think you need to have a balance of the two.
How many Facebook friends do you have? Around 1600.
Adventure or Stability? Adventure. I think having adventure brings stability because it forces us to always be adapting.
My favorite spot in Amsterdam: Claudia’s Apartment
If I were a bitterbal I’d be filled with… Cheese
Sitting on a mangotree feels like home