Or, if you prefer: Luuuuurv.
Love is this… thing… that insinuates itself between two (or more!) people. It’s a living, breathing entity that can be fed or starved, nurtured or neglected, grow or die, and it somehow manages to be both a part of and apart from the people it influences. It has the capability of shackling or of setting free, but – being at best a nebulous concept without a tangible body and bound by no rules but those of its own making – accepts no responsibility for either.
Love is one of the oldest stories ever told.
But somehow the plot manages to remain interesting enough – after thousands of years – to continually captivate audiences of all ages. It’s expounded upon in books (The Five Love Languages, anyone? – I’ve talked about that one before), lamented in sonnets (My love is as a fever, longing still ~ thank you, William Shakespeare) and plays (and while I’m at it: Romeo and Juliet is NOT a great love story; it is a timeless tragedy for fuck’s sake – kindly learn your forms), sanctified in religion (as in Corinthians: Love is patient, love is kind…), and crooned over in songs. To wit:
- Love Hurts (Nazareth, 1975) (yes, I know it was first recorded by The Everly Brothers)
- Love Bites (Def Leppard, 1987)
- Love Stinks (The J. Geils Band, 1980)
Oh dear, you are thinking. That doesn’t sound very positive, does it?
So… It comes as a surprise to you that love is not all fluffy bunnies and Care Bear stares?
Yup, that’s what I said. Love is not “All Happy, All The Time!” emo-high feel-good stuffs.
NOPE. It’s not.
(Sorry to burst your rainbow, sunshine.) (And while I’m at it, I might as well add for the record: Unicorns DO NOT exist. I know, I know. It’s a tragic realization.)
Well then, you are wondering, what IS love then, Feve?
Welp, you asked for it!
Love is, as has already been established, strange. Love is also, according to those with the wherewithal to sing about it:
- blindness (no, my millennial friends, this song did NOT originate with Jack White)
- a razor, that leaves the soul to bleed
- all around you
- a battlefield
- the craziest thing you’ll ever do (though probably not as crazy as Rod Stewart’s jacket in the video for this song)
- the answer for every question (I’m digging on this right now)
And if music isn’t your thing, how about philosophy? In the (translated, obviously) words of Plato:
In one of the aforementioned musical selections, love is described as
A Dangerous Idea
. . . that almost makes sense . . .
and the older I get, the more I believe that to be true.
All you have to do is examine the ruins.
They’re all the proof you need.
I’m not going to get into my family-of-origin story here, but let’s just say that my mother – love her though I do (see, there’s that word again: love!) – is Really Bad at relationships. She has terrible taste in men. She has acted out the “martyr” role in two marriages, and set an example that I refuse to follow (we’ll get into how the seeds of her stubbornness planted themselves in my own personality at a later date), enduring soul-killing levels of toxicity all in the name of LOVE.
Because somehow love means ‘sticking it out’ even when that’s the worst option available?
Sometimes I look at my parents’ marriage and wonder why they ever got together in the first place.
Then I stop thinking along those lines, because I think I know the answer.
:: cringe ::
And as much as I want to be a sex-positive person and have a “rah-rah!” attitude about sex between consenting adults no matter their ages or circumstances… They’re my parents.
Where was I?
Oh yes. Danger, Will Robinson!
There are things about love that can be dangerous. You can get lost in it. You can make decisions based on emotion that have terrible consequences, and by the time you actually think it through (heart, meet head), irreparable damage has already been done. All those feel-good chemicals that flood your brain when you’re experiencing the hormonal contagion of “in-love-ness” essentially put your system through the same kind of high you’d experience from an adrenaline/endorphin rush induced by other – often illicit – means. Is it any wonder people get addicted to this rush? That they forever seek, fearing that to accept another person – during/after the initial love-rush comedown – for Who They Are equates to “settling”?
Love is many things.
It is an often painful opportunity for growth, a maturation of trust and compatibility, and – when healthy – based on mutual respect, trust, and admiration. It is sometimes a heavy burden to bear and other times it is the gentle weight of thread-bare worn blanket that lays in soft comfort around your shoulders.
“I love you” is not an if.
It is an even though, a regardless; it is an unselfish and compassionate acceptance – an embracing – of another person’s whole and authentic self.
Often people think that love is about togetherness. About next steps and milestones and tradition and coupledom. About gripping tight, about vying for control.
I don’t believe that.
Love is not always holding on. Sometimes it is letting go.
It will never be easy. But it will always BE.
Because love is…
Because, Love IS.
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