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Crazy little thing called Luv.
Water is taught by thirst;
Land, by the oceans passed;
Transport, by throe;
Peace, by its battles told;
Love, by memorial mold;
Birds, by the snow.
~ Emily Dickinson
I don’t know much about love. Except that sometimes it tastes like chocolate and others like rain and you can never recall the exact moment it hit you.
It’s the one condition in this world that can make you both stupid and bright at the same time; the one good disease you want to die from; the only cold you seriously need to catch; the most irregular heartbeat.
I also know that last love is better than first—or at least it’s got more of you in it. And all the loves in between are just another confirmation that you’re also a by-product of love and, as such, you have nothing better to do than to keep on loving, however unlikely, hard or crazy.
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
But you know, maybe the fact that Love starts with an L is also a sign of Loss. Maybe there’s a Loser involved at some point in the story, and maybe that Loser is you (surprise surprise and ouch). Sometimes we must be faced with what we’re not in order to recognize our true selves.
Sue me but I understand things better when I switch them around. If Love had dyslexia and looked at herself in the mirror, here’s what she would not see and what she’d say to me—with a voice that’s part my own, part of those whose lives I’ve ruined and part of those who’ve ruined mine (thanks, by the way, I’m a result of everything.)
In fact, I’ve got these Nos pinned to my love board with a warning sign next to each, because often it’s just too easy to make a No look like a Yes (out of loneliness, self-sabotage, impatience and other human issues).
Love is not…
A jealous B & B (bitch & bastard) cocktail. Jealousy is the cacophony of love. It’s one of those lessons that won’t let you be until you learn it by heart (and a swollen one at that). When it comes to jealousy, flight is nicer than fight. But hopefully you can do better than both and put some serenity and wisdom between you and your monkey mind by replacing your crazy assumptions with simple, unassuming questions.
Jealousy is like coffee, in a way: a little bit of it makes you feel alive. Now, six cups a day and you wonder why you can’t sleep? And if your suspicions are true, would it be so terrible that he/she doesn’t love you enough? Wouldn’t you rather know so you can move on and switch to green tea?
A pathetic, scratched record playing the same sad songs over and over and over. There’s nothing worse in the love business than not loving yourself first. By all the Greek gods put together, this is the real meaning of tragedy!
I can’t validate you or convince you of how great you are. I can only add an extra lamp to a room that’s already lit. And if you insist, I’ll end up believing whatever you believe about yourself. Your constant denial of your own greatness is also a denial of love. So lighten up, sappy eyes. You’re the door to you. Don’t swallow the key and then blame me.
A clinging, sticky jellyfish. Please don’t need me so much, I’m just a messy human being. Don’t place your happiness in my hands, it’s too much pressure. Most times I don’t even know what to do with myself (or my hair). I can only make you laugh and not even all the time. If you don’t let me breathe, how can I ever breathe you in and out and in again?
A dog vs. dog race. I don’t want to fight you or compete with you. It doesn’t make it exciting, but stressful. What excites me is peace. Doesn’t the world have enough headaches? I don’t care who’s right (though we both know it’d be me, most of the time). And no, I don’t want to be good at everything that you are, or vice versa. Why do we all have to be dogs? I meow at the thought.
Admiration is usually cancelled by an excess of exclamation points and boxing gloves on every finger. In the Story of Us, just use a period and start your own new paragraph which I promise to read, especially if it comes in your own handwriting.
A selfish deity. I like you too, but if you’re so hopelessly in love with yourself, what do you need me for? Should I go ahead and light the candles at your own dinner date with yourself? Would it be possible for us to bike along or do you have to run me over with your Ego Truck?
A quiet and desperate need to read hot novels, instead of squeezing the marrow out of life. I don’t want to stare at the ceiling at night in silent adoration of all those women (or men) in books – lest I should be visited by the ceiling cat.
I want to be the people in those books (or better-written ones) and then adapt them into movies; be the fire, not just warm up by the chimney.
If you don’t even help me put the “extra” next to the “ordinary” once every full moon (fine, once every other full moon), then what’s the point of me + you? A double ordinary in Adventureless-land is much more dreadful than one.
A selfless, ghost transparency. Yo lover, what do you want (or what do you not)? Please figure it out by yourself, don’t look at me, I don’t know your answers, I’m just asking. And once you do, fight me sometimes, don’t just bite me without previous warning, when I fail to notice your constant reassurance. If you weren’t so transparent, I’d probably see you better. Love is not a constant Yes. Say No when you feel it or I’ll say it for you and then you’ll agree with me even more.
A flesh-eating lycanthrope. I’m not your engine, not your juice, not your solution, not your heaven. I can’t save you. I’m only the spices in your food, the salt, the stevia or honey. Don’t finish me. Don’t drink me up or I’ll be dry before dawn and there’ll be nothing left to taste. Just add a little bit of me to every meal and we can easily last 100 years.
A lonely animal in a sad zoo. If being with you feels like being alone in a crowd, then I’d rather be alone in a crowd and free to bump into someone else who’d make me feel less alone in that same crowd. But I don’t want a circus either, that’s just another cage, but more obnoxious. I want the jungle or nothing.
A still life painting in an unventilated room. Can you hear me yawning? Sure, love should be boring at some point to make up for all those late, infatuated nights doing young things. (You need to get some sleep, I understand.)
But hey, don’t sleep forever. Shouldn’t we dance a little? I’m thirsty, I might need a revolution. And you know how it is with water, you must have it at all costs or you die.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if they gave you love instructions at birth and made you memorize them so you don’t have to spend a lifetime suffocating through nearly each one of these points?
But there are no absolutes in the human experience, only plenty of ups and thousands of downs. You can be—and if struck by love lightening you must have been at some point—any of these, or some or all at once (run for your life!).
I know I have, to my disgrace and enlightenment.
False love is unhealthy and we should always be willing and ready to adjust our glasses. After a long ride through the desert, not everything you see is an oasis. Although crazy in its own way, true love should offer you a better version of yourself, make of you a co-priority, not merely an option.
Still, in the end, it’s all good, tired lover. ‘Cause see, real love is also the most faithful affair; it never fails to surprise you and bring you back together after the non-love tears you apart.
Here’s a toast to what love is not, so that we can (some day) be in awe of what it is.
[Fair warning: Let’s just pretend that the following video had to be turned into a commercial, in order for you to appreciate the real beauty of what it’s not selling]
Sometimes we must go up, to know we belong on the ground.
Sometimes we bow, to know why we should stand.
Sometimes you have to be apart to know you belong together.
Sometimes we need to see something small, to know what is great.
Sometimes to know what is right, we need to see what is wrong.
Because sometimes, you have to see, to believe.
*Also shared on elephant journal.