Today is Valentine's Day and for those of you who know me, I'm not a fan of cliches. Yet, here I am piddling away on the keyboard to talk about love on February 14th.
To be honest, it's hard for me to even talk about "it," love that is, because it's just ... SO different for each person. What it means to me could be extraordinarily opposite of what it means to you, and to even attempt to compress it into verbal words seems like a disservice. Still, here we are and let's face it, love is quite literally all around us.
It's in the way a couple looks at each other on a random Sunday afternoon. It's the adoration a volunteer feels when helping out one less fortunate than them. It's evident in the smile that glides across a child face when they see something soft and cuddly.
Now stop and think about those moments. It was easy, wasn't it? Imaging the above examples in your head. You can picture that couple, the volunteer and the child clear as day. Those brighter moments are what we tend to think of when it comes to love. Those moments that make your heart swell to four times it size and your eyes well up with feeling. But, I'm also here to shed some light on those darker moments. The ones we tend to bottle up or ignore.
Because you see love is there when the girlfriend breaks her boyfriends heart even though she didn't want too. It's palpable as the little girl waiting for her father sits at a window keeping watch only to be told he's not coming, again. It's even evident when the girl with the self esteem issues doesn't eat for another day because she craves the high of how it feels to "think" skinny. Now try to imagine the love in these moments, it's harder right? But I promise, it's still there among the shadows.
Love is everything and then nothing all at once. It's the reason we live and die. It's a balancing force to the human way of life and a driving force behind our reason. Some might even say that love is the foundation for all emotion. The subtle reason we feel: optimism, fear, grief, anger, envy, serenity, trust, et al. That's just one opinion among many though.
To me, love isn't always a good thing. It can be cancerous, dangerous almost. It's two faced and malicious yet uplifting and rewarding all while being blatantly transparent. How incredibly confusing. Still, somehow , we miss this warning label that says, "come closer! but at your own risk. I may not always give you want you want." I'm still deciding if this "blindness" is due to the immeasurable spectrum love lies on, or those embedded human instincts we're still unable to understand. Maybe love is human at heart. I don't even know if that last line makes sense, but, I'm going to go with it because it resonates with me and sometimes words bring to life things we can't explain and from there we can process.
Now, I'm sure at this stage of the blog half of you are done reading and the other half are probably curious as to what love means to me personally. Well, for those in the former half of that last sentence, thank you for reading. For those in the latter half, here is an answer that probably won't suffice your curiosity.
What does love mean to me? Well one of my favorite quotes sums up my thoughts about it:
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” - George Orwell
This quote has been my motto for love since I first laid eyes on it. Because to love me, you have to understand me (I'm not going to dive into how difficult of a task this is); but I will say once you understand me it's easier to decide if you can love the person I am. And that is what love means to me. The simple act of understanding another human being and then choosing to love them for who they are and not who you want them to be. As I'm typing this I'm realizing how cliche that sounds. But we're going to act like it's not cliche at all since this is my blog post and well house rules.
I think love should be easy. Actually, that is the easiest part, loving another person. The hard part is dealing with all the bullshit that surrounds daily life and this is what I think people tend to forget about. You should find someone who makes love easy and life better. Because to think that life isn't going to get hard is quite frankly the most idiotic thought I've ever heard.
Love and life should be like white water rafting—for those who have never done this I'm sorry if this is lost on you—life being the water and love being the raft. Sometimes the river is gentle and flows smoothly and then other times you hit a current and next thing you know people are flying into the water and everybody is screaming and you have that one person who is frozen with terror and nothing seems like it's going to be okay ever again. BUT, no matter what the river is like, the raft should remain in tact and that is love. Love should be strong, it should be resilient, and most importantly if it's the right fit, it'll be easy to hold onto and maintain. If it's not, well then get yourself a new GD raft.
I’m aware that’s not the best analogy but today that’s how I’m feeling. Truly, I love, love. I want to find it, cultivate it and grow it into something beautiful. I don’t want to go through life without romantic love because it’s different from friendship love. It holds a greater intimacy, something I fear, and if you aren’t living life with a little bit of fear, are you truly living at all?
If there’s anything I want y’all to take away from this, its that at its core love is good. It is kind and it is abundant. But, you have to be aware of it. Recognize it and most importantly, don’t fear it. Don’t be scared to love. Don’t be scared to not receive love in the same way you give and definitely don’t be scared to feel it. Feel it. That last one is the hardest for me.
Anwyays, the point is get lost in the tiny moments of love, the minuscule moments that we tend to let pass. Moments like: the caress of an arm, the softness of a kiss, the laugh from your best friend, the smell of a fresh cup of coffee, the sound of rain drops on a window. Because love is embedded in each of us, we just have to make sure to pay attention to it.