What is Love?
Baby don't hurt me.
Whilst I do appreciate that I am only 22 years old, and by no means an authority on any such topic, I don't conform to the notion that simply because someone has less experience, that those experiences are somehow less valid. And whilst I also understand that of course someone 20 years my senior would likely be able to offer a much fuller insight into such an area of discussion, I don't believe it diminishes nor nullifies any such opinion that I hold in regard to this concept in the here and now. Besides, more experience, or rather lack thereof, is merely as of yet unrealised theory. The only difference between what I'm about to discuss, and what someone who has been in a successful relationship for 20+ years may have to say, is the fact that I haven't had 20+ to actualise my perceptions and adjust them accordingly if necessary😉
Love. Is it the warm embrace from a caring parent? Kind words from a close friend? The look in your child's eye? Simpy an energy that we are all made of?
Yes. It's all of those and more. Of course we all know what love is, it's a feeling that churns about inside us all that, bills and work and money aside, drives everyone out of bed in the morning. The problem, I think, comes in trying to describe it, in tagging a few labels to it and attempting to tie it up all neat and tidy with a bow. That is a tall order. Because you simply can't summarise something stretched over a spectrum as long and varying as is love's. I mean, you can try, but you can't expect it to do the job fully and to an adequate level. There are simply so many levels. I love my cats, but I love them in a different way to how I love my friends, and I love my friends in a different way to how I love my parents, and I'd like to hope that one day I'll love my wife and child in a way I've never experienced before. It isn't a binary switch. One or zero. On or off.
Though I'm sure none of us, numerous as we probably are, can be blamed for once upon a time thinking exactly that. For innocently proclaiming love at the sweet and tender age of 13. I certainly did it (Taz, turns out I didn't love you, sorry about that 😐), and why wouldn't we? It's all part of the charming process of growing up, of blindly fumbling through the experience of having chemical war waged within us as our hormones loudly and proudly proclaim that we are in fact as wise and knowledgeable in life as any of our adult peers. Of course we knew what love is. The first tenuous attraction we have to another human being is absolutely the be all and end all of romantic encounters. How dare anyone insinuate the contrary!
... You know, right up until the moment it's over for one childish reason or another. Then it's very much a binary switch. Gone are the sentiments that they are in fact the sweetest and most beautiful person you could ever hope to lay eyes on, and in comes flooding the starkly contrasting sentiments that they are in fact, a fucking dick.
Ouch. That went sour quick. But hey ho, we live and we learn, and we have an experience necessary to hone in our grasp on the idea of what love, what indeed all emotional connections actually is. And just as well we have these experiences at a younger age, as opposed to encountering their unfamiliarity at an age when we actually are adults.
A shame then that I see a fair amount of people in relationships that seem to hold just utter contempt for one another. Almost expectant of each other to change and/or be the perfect being. Perhaps they simply allow many small niggling things to build up and up without confronting (as horrible as it may be in the moment) these small, but very real and threatening, demons as they rear their unsightly heads. Maybe because they think they'd be the arsehole for bringing up such petty squalor, or possibly they self-assuredly assume that love is putting up with little things, and they are peace oriented and good people (who may enjoy the pleasures of martyrdom that ensues) without realising that they are in fact doing themselves and their partners a disservice in the long run when resentment inevitably sets in. And I suspect that some people simply don't want to be alone, and settle for something that isn't necessarily right them. That's the real tragedy I think. People too scared to face the world without someone to face it with, despite the fact that there truly is beauty in being alone, in being independent. Ultimately if you can't take care of yourself, how can you take care of someone else?
To me, a relationship is two independent adults, who enjoy each other's company, and can depend on one another when needed. Not a symbiosis of two people who are entirely dependent on the other's constant company. Not two people who are expected to be showered with monetary proof of each other's feelings. And certainly not two people who expect the other to do exactly as they're told, trying to hammer out their imperfections, oblivious to the notion that we don't love someone despite their imperfections, we love someone because of their imperfections.
A quick reminder here that this is all just one guy's opinion. I'm certainly no relationship guru. Fuck, I'll be the first to throw my hands up and admit that I have been an absolute cunt of a person to be in a relationship with in the past. Riddled with insecurities, trying to exert control and dominance, was I. I had someone stay with me for years, for God only knows why! Fair play to her, what a trooper. Likewise have I been in a relationship with someone *ahem* less than ideal, and thought my heart was broken when it was over. But my days am I thankful for the things she taught me in doing so, for the things that I learned about myself after the fact. The essence of which I have taken and applied to myself over the last 12+ months, all owed entirely to a disastrous and unsustainable relationship.
Too afraid, I was, to be alone. Too set on the idea that I required the need to be with someone, and that it was my obligation to go out looking for them. Pfft. How presumptuously mistaken of you, Alex.
Now I'm content in sitting back, riding the waves that life rolls beneath me, and simply waiting for the universe in all of it's grandiose and infinite majesty to throw someone as imperfect as me at me when such a time is due. I mean, it's handled all of creation thus far, it knows what it's doing.
What it comes down to is this, all of what I've just rambled on about is all well and good... for me. Applicable to others it very well may be. Applicable to all? Certainly not.
At the end of the day you've got to find what works for you. What makes you happy. There is no right or wrong. The only wrong comes from doing yourself a disservice.
So what is love? Fuck knows. It's whatever you want it to be. Whatever you make it to be. It's a long ol' spectrum that can be slid up, slid down, even jumped off and dragged elsewhere. Though I'm sure it'll make it's presence known when it materialises and surges within you.
(Side note: there is actually a not at all obvious comments section below, so please do feel free to tell me what you perceive love to be, or just to tell me that I'm a self righteous moron without any kind of grip on what it should be... whatever makes you feel better in yourself! ^.^)