"Love is a many splendored thing! Love... lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love!" - Ewan McGregor's Christian from Moulin Rouge
Love songs. Romantic comedies. Musical theatre! Poetry. Literature. Visual art... painting, sculpture...
Artists create from experience, from everybody's experience, their own experience... Art is a way of knowing the world, just like science or philosophy or religion. Art shows us things that we may not have noticed before. It predicts our mistakes, time and time again. It also shows us the plethora of things for which to live. I'm going to discuss one of them: love.
I used to not believe in love. Really. My family is like one of those tavern walls of some western movie, riddled with bullet holes of divorce. I never understood why everyone in my family split up and tore their own families apart. If love truly existed, wouldn't it keep them together? I had obviously never experienced true love. By high school, I had convinced myself that I was undesirable, unloveable, a cynic, bitter and angry and that no one would ever want to be my boyfriend. I was not girlfriend material. I had this mental rule-book: don't have crushes on guys because they will go nowhere, you'll only get hurt if you flirt with him, it may seem like he's flirting with you or hitting on your, but he's only being nice, don't think anything of it, etc. Yup. That was me. And I'm not going to blame my mother or anyone, but my lack of love for both myself and anyone else may be correlated with the fact that no one in my family was super lovey-dovey. And that's just fine. That's how they are. I'm not saying that I'm going to let that determine how I raise my family, but they made a choice. I turned out fine, for the most part. I'm functional and rational and goal-oriented. But that's not the point.
The point is that I had to throw that stupid rule-book out the window once someone so kindly pointed out to me that Anthony (a boy I had a huge crush on, who is now my boyfriend going on 3 years) really did like me. He wasn't "just being nice" like I kept reiterating to myself. So we began a relationship... and I fell in love. It was crazy! How could I be experiencing something that I claimed did not exist? Well... since the evidence did not fit the theory, I had to change it. And that's where I am today.
I love love! It fills me up inside. It warms me. I love that the love is mutual. I love that love supports me and takes care of me and will lead to a beautiful family that I will love love love love love! I can't stop saying it! I'm not one of those people who condemns saying things like "I love that band!" or "I love you!" to friends or even celebrities or whatever. I think that if people really understand the meaning of love, they can differentiate between me saying "I love you" to Anthony and me saying "I love chocolate/purple/shopping" There is an obvious difference! And if you can't see that, you need to do some soul searching or something. Figure out why you think that.
Also! Love can absolutely be used for your friends. Anthony and my best friend Elisabeth always "argue" about who I love the most. Honestly, it took me a long time to really figure it out, because you want to be loyal to your partner because he or she is your other half, the other side of you, the completion of you, but your best friend, especially two women... that's a different kind of love. It's the love between two soul sisters, the link between best friends, female best friends who know everything about each other and still accept each other for all of their faults, that's a powerful bond. So I always used to say, "I love you both equally, but differently!" That's still half true. I realized that if I ever lost Elisabeth, I would be heartbroken and very very sad, but I really believe that I'd end up being ok. I'd cope with it better. However, if I lost Anthony, that means that I lost him as well as my future family and the children we plan on creating together and that whole dream! Losing Elisabeth would be heartbreaking, but losing Anthony would be soul-crushing...
Side Note: I don't believe in the soul, the Christian soul that lives after death or any kind of eternal soul that is separate from the body. But I still use the word because it does encompass, for me, the conscious sum of hopes and dreams, that motivating fire in our hearts, the spark in our eyes. A heart can mend, but once a soul is crushed, that fire is out and can't come back.
I'm discussing love today because I really believe that everybody needs it to have a healthy life. Everyone needs fulfilling relationships. Even if you don't believe in love (which is fine...) someone loves you whether you like it or not. The title of this entry is "All You Need is Love", but I'm just trying to be poetic. I don't really believe that people can survive off love alone, but it certainly helps.
Side Note: Also! Sex is NOT love. Sex is a biological action that humans and animals alike need to do. It releases endorphins and actually (I don't remember why...) makes us live longer! But sex is not love. It's an expression of love for those in a relationship, but you don't need love to have sex. It makes it more meaningful, but not everyone needs meaningful sex. Sex is also a way for people to make children, when they want them! I just wanted to mention this because some people may get this confused and think that I'm talking about sex in this post. But I'm talking about love, a feeling you get when you really care for someone, and you accept them for their imperfections and respect them enough that you would never hurt them intentionally. That's a very simple definition; I'm sure there is more to it that that for most people.
So my advice here is to think about all of the people you love, and all of the people who love you (even if you don't love them back). Think about why they love you and why you love them. Those reasons why they love you, write them down, look at them often, and believe them! Love yourself for those reasons! The reasons why you love them, also write those down, look at them often, and encompass them! Try to incorporate those characteristics you love about someone into your own character. For example, I love Anthony's patience and I know that I am a very impatient person. I'm always trying to become more patient, because it is an admirable quality.
Yes I realize that this is a very long post... I'm mostly talking to myself. I really believe that if I stop focusing on my unhealthy relationship with my Self, and rather on my healthy relationships with others, I can learn how to see myself through their eyes. It's something new I'm trying. I'll let you know how it works out!