July 31st, 2008

On Love

I don't usually like to pontificate on weighty topics out loud, since my compulsive tendency to attempt full sentences either makes me trip up over my words or else say something that sounds terribly prophetic and pretentious. Nor do I commit them to print, since that is anathema to the comical essay (my favorite form.)

But I've been thinking tonight about love.

Not about dating... dating is an exercise. Like physical exercise, people do it different ways and many find it fun.

Speaking of physical exercise.... I'm not equating love with sex. Sex isn't about love, sex is about trust, because sex is full of mishaps and foolishness, and one has to know that such silliness won't be held against them. Although sex leads to me to how I want to talk about love... because what love does for sex is give leniency. Someone loved can do nearly no wrong, and what otherwise might be a mediocre hook-up becomes a step to a better next time, when there will be more knowledge and more trust.

Basically, someone loved is nearly perfect and worth improving. Really ANYTHING loved is this way... from a pampered dog to stamp collection: Superior to other things that might take focus, and worthy of investment.

Here's a story. When my parents split, a drama starring my parents was revealed, one that could have fueled the Lifetime channel for a year. My then boyfriend asked for the whole story, so I sat under a tree in my old hometown and gave it to him in unemotional bullet points (which only underlined the garish truth.) He gave the kind of sparse, sweet reaction that would probably be typical of anyone I'd date. And two weeks later he broke up with me. Over the phone. While I was driving up to see him.
When he sent me a message two weeks after that, we had a conversation which led to me mentioning that I probably hadn't been very easy to love. He said something I'll never forget: "It isn't about how easy you are to love..."

Whenever I try too hard to earn someone's approval, I think about that... that I should be allowed to be whoever I am and someone ought to love me in spite of that for that.

Of course, you'll recognize the thing that'll screw a girl up is if I write you his whole sentence:
"It isn't about how easy you are to love...I just never loved you."
Meaning love is totally out of one's control, but easy enough to feign and to mistake.... revelations which are, (to use the sarcastic form of a usual Cara-ism)....lovely.

But what of the people who say they love you but treat you terribly? How do they fit? Or those who say that if YOU loved THEM, you wouldn't ask for them for anything that they might not be able to provide, because it pains them to say "no?"

Now, I don't normally like Coldplay (have you noticed that Clocks is just an inversion of Speed of Sound? I consider that cheating) but I did always love the song Yellow:

Your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones/
Turn into something beautiful/
And you know, you know I love you so/
You know I love you so...

We don't make ourselves better so someone will love us.... we seem better because they do.
Except when they don't... in which case we can love ourselves, if we are to have any hope of advancing.
And we can love others, and tell them so... I always say so, even though I've been told it sounds alternately silly and scary when I do... I think it's important that people know that they are loved; that they are nearly perfect and worth perfecting.

Well, I'll keep trying to love... universally, but specifically. Investing in other people, and trusting one day to turn around and find I have more help than I'd dared hope. Even if I'm laboring under a false definition. Even if it hasn't worked so far.
  • Current Music
    Walter Reed -Michael Penn